Hi,

She had a fear and suspicion of the press unusual in so public a figure as she became.

I'd like to know the exact meaning of the sentence above.

I see it as some kind of a relative construction, but the construction seems a little from the typical type in that it may be a combination of three separate clauses, instead of two.

For example,

C1: She had a fear and suspicion of the press.

C2: A fear and suspicion of the press is unusual in so public a figure.(I'm not sure that this sentence makes sense:it doesn't sound quite right. 'A fear is unusual in someone'??)

C3: As she became so public a figure.

C1+C2: She had a fear and suspicion of the press that is unusual in so public a figure.

(C1+C2)+C3: She had a fear and suspicion of the press unusual in so public a figure as she became.

Do you see what I'm getting at??

I'd really appreciate it if someone could help me understand this sentence.
The original has a little problem of its own. It should read:

She had a fear and suspicion of the press unusual in so public a figure as she had become.

I don't quite see what you are getting at, but here is how I get at it. We can break it down this way:

She had (a fear and suspicion of the press) ([which was] unusual in [so public a figure as she had become])

She had a fear and a suspicion. These 2 feelings were unusual for a public figure. She had become one of those public figures.
Thank you for the reply, Mister Micawber. That's basically what I thought it meant. But why is it that the preposition 'in' is present in the sentence? Why not 'for'?
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
It is a common preposition when mentioning characteristics.
I'm sorry to bother you again. Could you give me some examples? Emotion: smile
Tearfulness is embarrassing in a football player.

It's unusual to see such grace in a hip-hop dancer.
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Oh, now I get it. Thanks a lot!
What if we use 'such a public figure as she had become', instead of 'so public figure as she had become'?

Any difference?
No difference in meaning, but I like 'such a' much better. If that had been used in the original sentence, this thread mightn't have been necessary!
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.