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In a novel called "Pattern Recognition" by William Gibson is the paragraph:

Seated, not bothering with the menu, Cayce orders coffee, eggs, and sausage, all in her best bad French.

The girl looks at her in amazed revulsion, as though Cayce were a cat bringing up a particularly repellant hairball. "All right," says Cayce, under her breath, to the girl's receding back, "be French."

What does "be French" mean here?

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  • Where did you get this sentence from? Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 16:26
  • A novel called "pattern recognition "by william gibson-page 83 Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 16:27

1 Answer 1

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More context would be useful. I see that the entire paragraph goes like this:

Seated, not bothering with the menu, Cayce orders coffee, eggs, and sausage, all in her best bad French.

The girl looks at her in amazed revulsion, as though Cayce were a cat bringing up a particularly repellant hairball.

"All right," says Cayce, under her breath, to the girl's receding back, "be French."

Put briefly:

  • Cayce orders breakfast in bad French
  • The girl looks disgusted
  • Cayce says "All right, be French."

This is referring to a stereotype about French people, specifically, that they do not respect anyone who doesn't speak good French. The girl looks disgusted that Cayce is speaking bad French, and Cayce says, loosely, "OK, then, obey the stereotype of French people if you want to."

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