Questions tagged [meaning]

For questions regarding the meaning of certain terms of phrases used in a work of literature. If your question concerns the symbolic significance of something whose surface meaning is clear, use the [symbolism] tag instead.

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4
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1answer
112 views

Is “calendula paddle” used in the literal sense in “The Liar's Key”?

In The Liar's Key by Mark Lawrence, a banker is informing Jalan about the stock exchange process: ‘Stakes are purchased using the calendula paddle to attract the seller’s attention,’ Marco continued ...
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1answer
49 views

What are the “garment thin” and the “prize” in the song “The Ballad of the Shape of Things to Come”?

From the song "The Ballad of the Shape of Things to Come" (lyrics link): Triangular is the piece of pie I eat to ease my sorrow Triangular is the hatchet blade I plan to hide tomorrow ...
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1answer
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Meaning of lines about the lamb in the Enigma song Rivers of Belief

A sentence in the Enigma song Rivers of Belief goes as follows: And when the Lamb opened the seventh seal, Silence covered the sky. There is a Biblical reference here. But I would like to know, what ...
6
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1answer
375 views

What does this gesture mean?

In Scott Turow's legal mystery The Last Trial, the point of view character is an old man. Pinky is his grand-daughter. The following passage occurs near the end of the book: Pinky says nothing to him ...
2
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1answer
51 views

What is meant here by “Did you…”?

From When the Emperor Was Divine, by Julie Otsuka: He put down his suitcase and looked at her. "Did you..." she [the mother] said "Every day," he [the father] replied. Then he ...
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1answer
30 views

What's meant by “her sails over the land!” in “Stolen Ingots”?

In "Stolen Ingots" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book by R. Austin Freeman, there was a boat that chases a barge in a tidal river and amongst muddy banks: Meanwhile the fugitive barge, having got ...
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1answer
93 views

Why is a mongoose a “special needs goose”? [closed]

I just watched a comedy bit by Sean Lock. I was at the zoo the other day and I got told off. I said, "Look! There's a mongoose!" Can't say that any more. "Special needs goose". ...
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0answers
38 views

Meaning of Lorca's “Romance sonámbulo”?

What does Lorca mean in his poem "Romance sonámbulo" when he says: Tiny tin-leaf lanterns were trembling on the tiles. A thousand crystal tambourines were wounding dawn's dark sky. (...
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1answer
1k views

What did Dante mean by “Papè Satan, papè Satan aleppe” in the Inferno?

So, I was recently re-reading the Inferno, and I have come across this quote which I can't make sense of. "Daddy Satan, daddy Satan aleppe," (VII.1) It seemed rather weird that it wouldn't ...
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4answers
680 views

Why the word “sootikin” in a children's poem “Choosing Their Names”?

In a poem entitled Choosing Their Names by Thomas Hood a stanza is: One is black, with a frill of white, And her feet are all white fur, too; If you stroke her she carries her tail upright And ...
2
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1answer
257 views

What does “Fills now my cup” mean?

In Rilke's poem "Pietà", there is this sentence: Fills now my cup, and past thought is my fulness thereof. I harden as a stone sets hard at its heart. What does "Fills now my cup"...
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The motif of Tom O' Bedlam

The 17th-century motif of Tom O' Bedlam has always been one that I hold much affection and wonder for (as can be assumed by the choice of username on my part.) The motif most famously makes an ...
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1answer
67 views

Who is “Dao” in this quote from Laozi's Tao Te Ching?

I found the following quote here: The Dao hides in wordlessness. Only the Dao is well begun and well completed. -- Laozi, Dàodé Jīng / Tao Te Ching What is the exact meaning and context of this ...
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1answer
37 views

What does this quote in Don Juan by Lord Byron mean? “Sweet is a legacy, and passing sweet The unexpected death of some old lady”

Sweet is a legacy, and passing sweet The unexpected death of some old lady I saw this quote in C. S. Lewis's The Inner Ring and I'm having trouble figuring out what it means. What does this quote in ...
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Meaning of this verse from “Someday”

So I was rereading through some of the songs from the Disney animated/live musical, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and there's a verse in "Someday" which goes, "Till then, on days when ...
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2answers
143 views

Meaning of “bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthur-nuk!”

From Finnegans Wake, What is the meaning of this word? In context: The fall (bababadalgharaghtakamminarronnkonnbronntonnerronntuonnthunntrovarrhounawnskawntoohoohoordenenthur- nuk!) of a once ...
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1answer
45 views

I am having trouble understanding a passage from “Pride And Prejudice”

Elizabeth could safely say that it was a great happiness where that was the case, and with equal sincerity could add, that she firmly believed and rejoiced in his domestic comforts. She was not sorry, ...
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2answers
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What does “her face was innocent of makeup” mean?

I am reading Agatha Christie's Peril at End House. Can anyone help me understand what "her face was innocent of make" means in the following paragraph? It was, I think, her appearance of ...
3
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1answer
51 views

Understanding the first dialogue of Archbishop Thomas Becket involving antitheses

In Murder in Cathedral by T.S. Eliot, when Archbishop Thomas Becket returns from France, and sees the second priest scolding the women of Chorus, he says Peace. And let them be, in their exaltation. ...
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1answer
30 views

What does “even so did I” mean?

I am reading Oscar Wilde's poem "The House of Judgment" and it uses the phrase. I have seen it in other older texts. What does it mean? Here is a copy of the passage. The phrase is bolded. ...
4
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1answer
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What does Edith Wharton mean by “democratic principles” in The Age of Innocence

I'm only two paragraphs in with The Age of Innocence and already I'm having trouble, specifically with this sentence: To come to the opera in a Brown coupé was almost as honourable a way of arriving ...
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44 views

What exactly is meant here by “half-tips to the heels”?

In "The Touchstone" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book by R. Austin Freeman, Thorndyke and his friend, Gervis, found a print of a boot with an iron toe-tip on loam soil, then they found another ...
2
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1answer
41 views

Does “trampling” here means “violence” or “attack”?

In "The Touchstone" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book by R. Austin Freeman, Thorndyke went to an old disused chalk-pit, where a dead man found after he fall from above path, the edges of which ...
2
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1answer
63 views

What does “Hoo's fully resolved t' sew up meawth an' eend” mean in “Mary Barton”?

I would like to know what "Hoo's fully resolved t' sew up meawth an' eend" means in the following stanza: Eawr Marget declares had hoo cloo'as to put on, Hoo'd goo up to Lunnon an' talk to ...
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1answer
24 views

Why is the Lady “a suffering soul in some page of Dostoyevsky”?

In An Enigmatic Nature, Anton Chekhov writes: "I am a suffering soul in some page of Dostoevsky. Reveal my soul to the world, Voldemar." and "Happiness comes tapping at my window, I ...
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1answer
22 views

Why does Groholsky head toward the water barrel?

In A Living Chattel, Anton Chekhov writes: [Impersonal Witness] I pressed Groholsky's hand, and got into the train. He bowed towards the carriage, and went to the water-barrel—I suppose he was ...
3
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1answer
49 views

What is the significance of a raised black flag?

In The Lost Sanjak, Saki Writes: and, in the midst of a string of questions on indifferent topics, the examining counsel asked me with a diabolical suddenness if I could tell the Court the ...
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1answer
20 views

What is the hidden meaning of “Bad News” known to Egbert and Lady Anne?

In The Reticence of Lady Anne, Saki writes: Both Egbert and Lady Anne would have preferred something from The Yeomen of the Guard, which was their favourite opera. In matters artistic they had a ...
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1answer
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What is the Ruff of Don Tarquinio?

In The Reticence of Lady Anne, Saki writes: Don Tarquinio lay astretch on the Persian rug, basking in the firelight with superb indifference to the possible ill-humour of Lady Anne. His pedigree was ...
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1answer
22 views

What is the influence of Louis Quinze and Wilhelm II on furniture styling?

In Reginald in Russia, Saki writes: Reginald sat in a corner of the Princess’s salon and tried to forgive the furniture, which started out with an obvious intention of being Louis Quinze, but ...
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0answers
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Why do Albanians “take life whenever they get the opportunity”?

In Reginald on Tariffs, Saki writes: I’m not going to discuss the Fiscal Question (said Reginald); I wish to be original. At the same time, I think one suffers more than one realises from the system ...
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0answers
23 views

Understanding the meaning of “Eructation of unhealthy souls” in T.S. Eliot's Burnt Norton

In the third section of Burnt Norton we find these lines Eructation of unhealthy souls Into the faded air, the torpid Eructation have two meanings Belching Eruption So, if we take up the second ...
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0answers
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Why are Ibsen Dramas in particular mentioned in Reginald?

In Reginald on Besetting Sins: The Woman who told the Truth, Saki writes: [Reginald]: Children are given us to discourage our better emotions. That is why the stage, with all its efforts, can never ...
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3answers
4k views

Why does “it always turn out to be the King of Sweden”

In Reginald at the Theatre, Saki writes: [Reginald]: “There are certain fixed rules that one observes for one’s own comfort. For instance, never be flippantly rude to any inoffensive grey-bearded ...
4
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1answer
128 views

What does “balks account” mean in Walt Whitman's “I Sing the Body Electric”?

Walt Whitman's poem "I Sing the Body Electric" is a sort of celebration of the human body. A phrase that recurs a few times is "balks account": The love of the body of man or ...
7
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1answer
208 views

What does “The cook was a good cook, as cooks go; and as cooks go she went” mean?

In Reginald on Besetting Sins: The Woman Who Told The Truth, Saki writes And at last the dreadful thing came, as the Woman had foreseen all along that it must; it was one of those paltry little ...
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2answers
91 views

Why does Reginald call Britain “a suburb of Jerusalem”?

In Reginald at the Theatre, Saki writes: “Oh, well, ‘dominion over palm and pine,’ you know,” quoted the Duchess hopefully; “of course we mustn’t forget that we’re all part of the great Anglo-Saxon ...
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2answers
41 views

What does “To have reached thirty, is to have failed in life.” mean?

In the short story, Reginald on the Academy, Saki writes: “To have reached thirty,” said Reginald, “is to have failed in life.” Why does Reginald consider it a failure to reach the age of thirty?
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1answer
40 views

What does “It's the Early Christian that gets the fattest lion.” mean?

Saki begins his short story, Reginald's Choir Treat, with the following line “Never,” wrote Reginald to his most darling friend, “be a pioneer. It’s the Early Christian that gets the fattest lion.” ...
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1answer
22 views

What does “To die before being painted by Sargent is to go to Heaven prematurely.” mean?

In the short story, Reginald on the Academy, Saki writes: [Reginald]: "To die before being painted by Sargent is to go to Heaven prematurely." Firstly, does this quote from Reginald imply ...
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1answer
34 views

What does “To be clever in the afternoon argues that one is dining nowhere in the evening” mean?

In the short story, Reginald on the Academy, Saki writes: “To be clever in the afternoon argues that one is dining nowhere in the evening.” What does this mean? (EDIT: Some additional context is ...
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1answer
25 views

What does “beauty is only sin deep” mean?

In the short story, Reginald's Choir Treat, Saki writes: “You are really indecently vain of your appearance. A good life is infinitely preferable to good looks." "You agree with me that ...
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1answer
55 views

Meaning of the words “Ambition should be made of sterner stuff” from Julius Caesar

What is the meaning of Antony's words "Ambition should be made of sterner stuff" in Act III of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar?
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3answers
937 views

What is the meaning of “Both wry with the laboured ease of loss.” and “And of this circumstance… Its silence silences.” in 'A Photograph'?

In the poem A Photograph (written by Shirley Toulson), I didn't understand some sentences. In the first stanza, the poet says, The cardboard shows me how it was When the two girl cousins went ...
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1answer
86 views

Does the line “writing in the time of covid-19” reference some work of literature? [closed]

Someone sent me this literature joke but I don't get it, can someone help me please? He wrote: *writing in the time of covid-19 Apparently the joke has something to do with literature, so if anyone ...
5
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1answer
673 views

Why does Khushwant Singh's grandmother consider music as a 'monopoly of harlots and beggars and not meant for gentlefolk'?

In the story The Portrait of a Lady, written by Khushwant Singh, there are sentences which I couldn't understand properly (highlighted bold in the following excerpt): One day I announced that we were ...
4
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1answer
48 views

Understanding the second section of first part of Burnt Norton by T.S. Eliot

The first section of first part of Burnt Norton seems to be focused on "time", although it is too abstract and as I say "beyond my perceptible sense" but in the least we understand ...
3
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1answer
46 views

Why do all the lines of Burnt Norton seem unconnected?

I'm reading Burnt Norton by T.S. Eliot. I have read it's background (that manor house theme) and a few months ago read Murder in the Cathedral (as Wikipedia says says, "He created it while ...
3
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2answers
100 views

What does “radium” mean in Confessions of a Born Spectator by Ogden Nash?

The fourth line of the last stanza (stanza 6) in the poem "Confessions of a Born Spectator" by Ogden Nash is: Buy tickets worth their radium What does 'radium' mean here? What does the ...
2
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1answer
37 views

What does “for bad's come over her” mean in this context?

I would like to know what "for bad's come over her" means in the following sentences: I even went to a policeman, a good enough sort of man, but a fellow I'd never spoke to before because ...

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