I am reading Little Dorrit By Charles Dickens , and I would like to know what the following phrase means:

When a man felt, on his own back and in his own belly, that poor he was, that man (Mr Plornish gave it as his decided belief) know’d well that he was poor somehow or another, and you couldn’t talk it out of him, no more than you could talk Beef into him.

Specifically the phrase, "no more than you could talk Beef into him". I am not an English native speaker, but I think that "no more than you could talk Beef into him" means that he cannot be convinced that he will get beef to eat.


1 Answer 1


I think that the phrase is an exaggeration by example. Just talking to someone won't put food in their stomach, so it's impossible. Theoretically, it should be possible to talk someone into believing they are not poor, but here, it's suggested to be as impossible to change their mind as talking someone into having food in their stomach.

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