Questions tagged [helen-garner]

Questions about the works of Helen Garner (born 1942) or her life as a writer.

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Meaning of "trembling fantasies"

Athena woke at six o’clock in the morning. Philip was not there, nor had he been. The room was full of heavy, dark pieces of furniture. The impression that her presence made on the room was so slight ...
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53 views

Meaning of "Its surfaces were dull with the absence of meaning."

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner The sisters glanced at each other over Dexter’s head. Elizabeth laid one hand over her heart and raised the other in a gesture of tremendous ...
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Meaning of "visions of meadows" and "along which her disembodied consciousness progresses to a stately pulse."

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner The edifice trembles. Athena stops eating, though she still buys food and prepares it. Her clothes hang off her, but her husband’s and her ...
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Meaning of "raise his wrist", "his skipping turns", "smile of a tender complicity", "Vicki was glassy", and "In their linked, three-way posture..."

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner Athena worked her way forward as far as the front row of non-dancers. She was blasted by noise but fired with curiosity. She could not tell ...
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64 views

Meaning of "I've made my reputation as a strong woman. I reckon I’ve earned the right to a..."

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner: Vicki spent an hour getting herself ready. She tied a diaphanous scarf round her head, stuck a yellow rose in it, and put a lot of makeup on ...
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47 views

Meaning of "are they worth it? It was a secret showing of badges, of scars"

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner They sat in the high seats at the back of the bus, and Poppy sank into her book. Up at the front sat a European woman in her forties, dressed ...
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767 views

What do "Things were buzzing" and "school swot. Swat, get it?" mean?

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner Poppy went into her bedroom and put on the uniform. She did this at least once a day, to practise getting used to it, and because she could ...
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55 views

Meaning of "curving afternoons" and "the idea of destination meant almost as little to him as..."

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner He would have liked to move around her house and examine all its icons, or to hang over the front windowsill with her and make remarks about ...
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47 views

meaning of "they blurred into one another and were gone"

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner How fresh and pretty he looked, sitting at her piano in his clean white shirt with the sleeves rolled up and the top button fastened! She said,...
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93 views

Meaning of "My finger burst like a sausage"

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner ‘I got my hand jammed between two speaker boxes,’ said Philip. ‘My finger burst like a sausage.’ ‘You know?’ said Vicki. ‘One of those horror ...
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Meaning of "She had all the colour and dynamism of a parsnip"

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner ‘She was wearing these daggy flares,’ said Elizabeth, ‘with embroidered insets.’ ‘I got my hand jammed between two speaker boxes,’ said Philip....
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Meaning of "God, the joy of her, the pleasure!"

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner Elizabeth used the presence of Vicki at her place as an excuse for sleeping nearly every night at Philip’s. He did not mind: he was not the ...
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59 views

What does "exalted suffering" mean?

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner Spring came. In the mornings, when the first person opened the back door, the whole bulk of air in the house shifted and warmed. Women sighed ...
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77 views

Can authors use past tense in fiction works to refer to an unreal situations without using "if"?

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner She stood at the tramstop opposite the long railed side of the cemetery. Someone had written in black texta on the lamp-post DARREN WAR LOURD. ...
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81 views

What does "Sensible plans of action clicked their wooden sides together without meaning," mean?

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner In the huge room beyond the partition the phone rang and she heard Elizabeth pick it up. Before the caller had a chance to speak, Elizabeth ...
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54 views

Can "hollow" in "hollow as a Hopper painting" mean "meaningless and deceptive"?

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner That night at the studio they finished early. There were no taxis, so he walked. He didn’t know what time it was but thought it must be after ...
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81 views

Meaning of "It was a place that waited, It was a place of reason and courtesy"

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner ‘Once upon a time,’ said Philip. ‘There was a wonderful cafe. It opened very early in the morning. No. It stayed open twenty-four hours. It ...
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65 views

Meaning of "What is in here?"

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner What is this, thought Vicki. What is in here? It is a warehouse, it has no walls or rooms. There is a row of windows, each one shaped like an ...
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50 views

Meaning of the dialog in bold and "sour street light"

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner Up there under the leafless vine they were talking. Vicki saw their breath. From the angles of their bodies she could tell they were arguing. ...
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349 views

Meaning of "Now things can only get better" and "starry cold" in the passage below

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner Dexter emptied his bowl for the last time, then lifted it in both hands and licked it out, pushing his face right into it. There was soup on ...
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Meaning of "Low down on the sky was a narrow band of apricot, all that was left of the daylight."

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner The hostess at the open door showed her teeth. Vicki came out into the world. She saw the man beside Elizabeth and slowed down. That couldn’t ...
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49 views

Meaning of "he’d go down between sets and find her"

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner They stopped at the gate lounge. The door opened. ‘Here she comes,’ said Elizabeth. ‘Which one is she?’ said Dexter. The man walking behind ...
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121 views

Meaning of "the kind of woman who’d throw round terms like the orthodox feminist position. "

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner Doctor Fox looked at Elizabeth as he chewed, and nodded and smiled. She must be nearly forty now, like Dex. Thank God they were never foolish ...
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Meaning of "dawning way" and the use of "altogether" in the context below

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner Philip did not turn up with the car. This did not surprise Elizabeth. She took the bus to the airport. Vicki’s plane was late. Elizabeth ...
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442 views

What does "hawk" mean in the context below?

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner Over the back fence, nearer the creek, lived an old couple whom Dexter and Athena had never seen but whom they referred to as Mister and ...
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53 views

Meaning of "he used it to knit meaning into the mess of everything"

This passage is from The Children's Bach by by Helen Garner Had Dexter and Elizabeth thought of each other during this time? Of course they had, Dexter more than Elizabeth, not because of any ...
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Meaning of "to conduct the ordinary business of their lives"

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner How strange it is that in a city the size of Melbourne it is possible for two people who have lived almost as sister and brother for five ...
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Is "I'm glad you think it's funny" meant sarcastically or literally?

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner. At night, when they had put the children to bed, Athena and Dexter walked. They were ruthless about going, and would barely even check that ...
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54 views

Meaning of "Dexter walked with a bandy, rapid gait. They kept pace easily, not touching."

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner Dexter walked with a bandy, rapid gait. They kept pace easily, not touching. They covered miles each night in the dark, sometimes heading east ...
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Meaning of "the boy who is turned towards the drama of his parents’ faces."

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner Dexter found, in a magazine, a photograph of the poet Tennyson, his wife and their two sons walking in the garden of their house on the Isle ...
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803 views

Meaning of "The blushing apricot, and woolly peach. Hang on thy walls, that every child may reach."

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner On his way through the kitchen he screwed up the pizza boxes and tried to force them into the stuffed bin, but they would not go so he left ...
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44 views

Meaning of "this patient setting out of facts and services."

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner When the film ended a Greek man explained in his native tongue the details of the government’s health scheme. It took him fully ten minutes, ...
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835 views

Meaning of "as it was, she witnessed minor twinges of the appropriate emotions occurring distantly, as if to some other girl"

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner: Some things, Morty,’ he said, ‘strain a person’s sense of humour.’ He swept through the room. The three of them sat foolishly, with fading ...
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43 views

Meaning of "In the wide planting of his feet, his blithe assumption of an audience, she saw Dexter"

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner: She turned round with her arms full of stinking sheets. He had not heard a word. His eyes had gone out of focus, his pitch was up, his pace ...
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38 views

Meaning of "He would not use the children against her, he would not. If he mentioned them, if he spoke their names, she would splinter"

This context is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner. ‘How did you know where to find me?’ ‘Morty told me.’ He was thinner. He stood without baggage in the ugly lobby. ‘Come home.’ ‘No. I haven’t ...
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Meaning of "in whose presence nothing is required but perfect passivity."

This context is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner They all walked out on the summer afternoon. The men took Arthur to bowl and bat, deep in the park near the drinking fountain, but the women ...
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Meaning of "They wanted to know each other less than they wanted to agree. Harmony! To be each other"

This text is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner. In the street there was a dusty summer wind, a morning not quite hot enough. If they walked shoulder to shoulder, if they sat side by side, it ...
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191 views

Meaning of "she felt him give" in "The Children's Bach" by Helen Garner

This text is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner. He would have liked to move around her house and examine all its icons, or to hang over the front windowsill with her and make remarks about the ...
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67 views

Meaning of "Air rushed over the ground like a flood of water at blood temperature"

This text is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner She made him, and dragged him away across the grass. They turned a corner, rounded a thick hedge, and the wind hit them. He stopped struggling. ...
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388 views

Meaning of "He went ‘Eeeeee!’ high up in his skull"

This text is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner: Billy drew a breath and started to scream in short, sharp cries. He flung himself back on Dexter’s lap; he clapped his left hand over his ear, ...
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53 views

Meaning of "daring it to tackle her. It paid her no attention"

This text is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner They laughed. Vicki watched them closely, ready to be included in their amusement, to roll her shoulders in scepticism as they did, but they ...
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42 views

Iron bars and iron fence - literal or metaphorical?

This passage from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner: ‘At night, because of the noise of people laughing, they turned up the treble on the jukebox. But in the early mornings, in the peaceful shift ...
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2answers
454 views

Meaning of "and light shows between his tightly buttoned torso and his father’s leg."

It is a photo of a family. The wind puffs out the huge stiff curved sleeve of the woman’s dress, and brushes back off his forehead the long hair of the father’s boy who is turned towards the drama of ...