I would like to know what "the same faces" means in the following sentences:

That afternoon Hania said she was preparing a surprise for us; after lunch she and Agata went out with two empty baskets. The three of us stayed behind in the house. You and Maksio played billiards downstairs and I went up to our room. Upstairs it was completely quiet. Before I reached our room my eyes fell on the double door at the end of the corridor, and a dark curiosity overcame me. I listened out for a sound – there was nothing. I moved towards the door and pushed down the handle. It wasn’t locked. My heart beating hard, I slipped in. It was a large room with a fantastic view over the park. There was a fourposter bed, perfectly made, the air around it strangely solemn and untouchable like the bed of someone recently deceased. I walked to the window, took in its view over the forest. Right by the window stood a shiny round table covered in framed photos: Hania and Maksio as children, chubby and small, but the same faces, eating ice cream; their parents – the father like an older, fatter version of Maksio, though with a different mouth, almost lipless, and the mother, tall and elegant, with Hania’s dark eyes. A more recent one of the four of them standing and smiling with the Eiffel Tower behind them. And then my eyes fell on the photograph beside that one, and for a moment I saw without comprehending. My mind jarred. In it, their father was dressed in a military uniform, covered in honours and medals. My own hands were shaking as I took the photo from the table and looked at it up close. I felt nauseous, dirty even. Hania’s father and Gierek, shaking hands, smiling at one another.

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 decided to spend some days at the country house of Hania's family with his lover Janusz, Hania's brother Maksio, and Maksio's girlfriend Agata. So when they (the five of them) were staying at the country house, Ludwik happened to enter the room of Hania's parents and saw the family's pictures.

In this part, I wonder the "same faces" means that they, Hanio and Maksio, had similar faces as they were siblings, or their younger faces were similar to their current faces.

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
    As I mentioned in a comment to a different question, many of your questions have nothing to do with the literary aspect of the book and are more about very obvious literal meanings. Please consider asking questions of this nature at [English Language Learners](ell.stackexchange.com] rather than here. If you have a question about the literary interpretation of some words or dialogue, this site is a good place to ask for help, but for very basic vocabulary or sentence parsing questions, ELL is the appropriate site, not this one. Thanks!
    – verbose
    Dec 20, 2020 at 12:51
  • Dear verbose, thank you very much for the comment. I thought it would have to do with literary interpretation... but I think I was wrong. Probably I will try that site you recommended. Thank you for letting me know. Dec 20, 2020 at 13:02

1 Answer 1


It means that Hania and Maksio have recognizably the same features as adults as when they were children.

They are no longer chubby, but they have “the same faces”, i.e., they still look the same.

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