I would like to know what "I heard her shoving the brooms up against it, heard running in other parts of the office, and then the sound of her heels on the wooden floor of the corridor." means in the following sentences:

‘Citizen,’ we heard a voice boom in the other room, ‘a suspect is hiding in this building. Have you seen him? A young man with light hair and a brown rucksack?’

‘There is no one here apart from myself and my secretary,’ said the man calmly.

‘Then you will let us search the space.’

Their boots crossed the threshold.

The woman and I looked at each other in the tiny kitchen. Right behind the door was another, very narrow, door, painted the same colour as the wall. Pani Waleszka opened it quickly, took out some brooms that were inside and pushed me in. I fit sideways, and she closed the door. I heard her shoving the brooms up against it, heard running in other parts of the office, and then the sound of her heels on the wooden floor of the corridor.

‘Is there anyone in that other room, citizen?’

‘No, officer,’ said her voice, betraying no tension.

In this novel which is set in the 1980's in Poland under the socialist regime, where homosexuality was socially unacceptable, the protagonist Ludwik (a university graduate) left Poland in 1981 to live in the United States of America. And he remembers what it was like back then in Poland, where he was frustrated by the reality of this socialist regime that he couldn't even get the doctor's appointment when his dear landlady was sick (She was like a grandmother to him). That was why he decided to collect flyers he saw on the streets and scatter them on the street from a building when the strikers and the police were clashing. At the sight of him throwing the flyers through the window, the police climbed the stairs of the building and began searching for him. But luckily, Ludwik was admitted to one office of the building, where a man and a woman were working, and was able to hide.

In this part, I wonder what "shoving the brooms up against" means. Does it mean that the woman pushed/threw the brooms against the small door in a rough manner?

And I would also like to ask you whether it would be right to understand that the subject of "running in other parts of the office" is the police officers. I am confused because this part is sandwitched in-between the woman's actions, shoving the brooms against the door and sounding her heels on the wooden floor of the corridor.

I am an English learner from South Korea, so thank you for your patience in advance as I may not know obvious things. I would very much appreciate your help. :)

1 Answer 1


When Ms Waleszka "shoves" the brooms against the door, she pushes them against the door with a quick, violent movement.

When Ludwik says he "heard running in other parts of the office", the subject is left out because there is no way for him to know. That's part of the tension of being stowed away in a small broom closet, unable to see what is going on outside and hoping that the police won't find you. Of course, the fact that he then hears "the sound of her heels on the wooden floor" suggests that other people were running into or around in the office.

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