The precise and pregnant expression, taken from H. E. Bates’s short story The Ox, serves to signify the resolve of Mrs. Thurlow, who is the main character of the story, to make a fresh bid to build up her future anew. After the death of her husband and the loss of her saving, Mrs. Thurlow, though initially shocked and distressed, recovered herself and proposed to start afresh. This is indicated by the storyteller here.
Mrs. Thurlow’s hard-saved money was lost. Her husband was sentenced to death. The loss of her hard-saved money or the death of her husband was, no doubt, deeply shocking and distressing to her. But she realized that nothing could be more important than life, living beings. Her children were alive and they were definitely much more important than such dead matters as the loss of her money or the death of her husband. Her living sons constituted
her future. She must live and work again for that very future.
Mrs. Thurlow’s undying spirit comes out here. She remained yet enterprising even after her husband’s death and the loss of all her hopes about the restoration of her lost money. She seemed to have been inspired with the belief that living beings were much more important than dead matters. Life, indeed, is greater than all losses.
Also read; Comment on the role and nature of the minor characters in Araby by James Joyce
Also read; James Jyoce’s Characterization of the boy in Araby