English Learner's Question: conservation?

Could you please tell me what "conservation" means in the following passage from The Bad Seed (1954) by William March?

(The head of the most aristocratic school in the state is talking about a certain pupil)

She’d never been absent a single day; she’d never once been tardy; she was the only child in the history of the school who’d made a hundred in deportment, each month, in the classrooms, and a hundred in self-reliance and conservation, each month, on the playgrounds, for a full school year....

I checked several dictionaries but could not find a menaing fit for the above context. And I don't think it's a typo because the dramatized version also says "a hundred in self- reliance and conservation on the playground each month for a full school year." I appreciate any comments. Thank you.

3 Answers

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  • RP
    Lv 7
    1 month ago
    Favorite Answer

    Without more context, it is difficult to be certain, but it could mean being careful not to harm or injure the playground. In that sense, the meaning would be to maintain or preserve. However, there is a possibility it refers to conserving herself because it is associated with self-reliance. In that sense, it would mean taking care of or being mindful of herself to prevent injuries or accidents.

  • ron h
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Nor could I find a definition appropriate to the context. I found this which seems helpful: Definition of conservator one that preserves from injury or violation : PROTECTOR," ... So, I'd say it means that she used the playground equipment carefully so as not to damage it or cause injury or hurt feelings to others. Even though this passage is only 65 years old, Americans don't recognize the word. 

    Source(s): Nor could I find a definition appropriate to the context. I found this which seems helpful: Definition of conservator one that preserves from injury or violation : PROTECTOR," ... So, I'd say it means that she used the playground equipment carefully so as not to damage it or cause injury or hurt feelings to others. Even though this passage is only 65 years old, Americans don't recognize the word.
  • 1 month ago

    That's hard. I think it's related to self- reliance, being connected by an 'and'.

    This is what I think: That the word is  related to conservative. Meaning that she doesn't act wild.

    Or like the term 'consevation of energy', maybe 'constistacy of behavior', that's 'steady' for a whole school year.

     BUt I am a native American English speaker, and that's my guesses.

    Source(s): Willian March was an American not British writer
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