Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

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.

4
votes
1answer
63 views

In Penelope Fitzgerald’s short story The Prescription, significance of “Knowledge is good, but what is the use of knowledge without honesty?”

In Penelope Fitzgerald’s short story The Prescription (1982), Dr. Mehmet Bey almost kills his 14-year-old apprentice, Alecco, by forcing him to drink a poisoned prescription after discovering the boy ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

What does ahn in Maggie: A Girl of the Streets mean?

I would like to know what ahn in "Maggie: A Girl of the Streets" by Stephen Crane means. It can be read from this link: https://english.hku.hk/courses/engl1039/Crane.pdf Here are some lines with it: ...
5
votes
1answer
59 views

Protagonist's comments on his student's essay in 'The Professor' by Charlotte Brontë

The protagonist in Charlotte Brontë's 'The Professor', who is employed as a teacher of English in a Belgian school, is surprised upon reading an unusually well-written creative essay by one of his ...
1
vote
0answers
18 views

What does “wisdom that is so often loudly preached” mean in the Parable of the King and the Maiden?

In the first paragraph of "The Parable of the King and the Maiden": Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden and whose heart was unaffected by the wisdom that is so often loudly preached. ...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

Who is “Luna” in Byron's “To Mary, On Receiving Her Picture”?

Here are the fourth and fifth stanzas of "To Mary, On Receiving Her Picture" by Lord Byron: Here, I behold its beauteous hue;     But where's the beam so sweetly straying, Which gave a lustre ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

What is the meaning of 'myopia' in literature studies?

Does the term myopia have a special meaning in the context of literature? Myopia is in its most direct meaning a healthcare condition: relating to, or exhibiting myopia : NEARSIGHTED Myopia or ...
3
votes
1answer
44 views

Can someone explain what “corrupt without being charming” means?

From Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (emphasis added): those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is fault. Those who find beautiful meanings ...
2
votes
1answer
42 views

What is the meaning of a complex sentence from “The Hedgehog and the Fox”?

I'm new in English and I want to understand this sentence from Isaiah Berlin's The Hedgehog and the Fox: "Rousseau must have strengthened, if he did not actually originate, his growing tendency to ...
7
votes
1answer
57 views

What does Mark Twain mean by “keep hotel”?

The protagonist in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court uses this phrase: But that should be nothing to his discredit; the man that can do THIS kind of miracle knows enough to keep hotel. ...
3
votes
1answer
50 views

What was the “cyclops' smoky band” to which Ewan MacColl's father belonged?

Ewan MacColl's song "My Old Man" contains the lyrics: My old man was a good old man Skilled in the moulding trade In the stinking heat of the iron foundry My old man was made Down on his ...
3
votes
1answer
34 views

What did Twain mean by the “Creedmoor aim”?

In a letter to his friend William Dean Howells recounting the heroic exploits of John T. Lewis, Mark Twain wrote the following in 1877: Lewis, the prodigious … saw the frantic horse plunging down ...
5
votes
1answer
82 views

Ann Quin’s ambiguous prose

I am currently reading Berg by Ann Quin, a famous British experimental writer, and having a hard time understanding some of her prose. Although I realise that it is written in a vague, stream-of-...
5
votes
0answers
42 views

The sparrowfall natural economy of the dark simple curatin

In "Criminal Ballad", Ted Hughes describes a chain of tragedies happening in parallel with a man's simple moments of life. One of these is the following: "And when he ran and got his toy ...
2
votes
1answer
52 views

What is Mr Elliot's “early prepossession” in Jane Austen's “Persuasion”?

Excerpt from chapter 21 from Jane Austen's Persuasion: She felt a great deal of good-will towards him. In spite of the mischief of his attentions, she owed him gratitude and regard, perhaps ...
1
vote
1answer
105 views

What is the meaning of this sentence from “Polaris” by Lovecraft?

Below is a sentence from Lovecraft's "Polaris": I said to myself, "This is no dream, for by what means can I prove the greater reality of that other life in the house of stone and brick south of ...
3
votes
1answer
50 views

Meaning of a phrase “showed up on a white charger with a new moon”

There is a fragment of a short story by Louce Baker. Sladen Morris is the boy next door. The girls all think he’s fascinating and tend to deify him now that he’s touched six feet on the wall ...
4
votes
1answer
46 views

What exactly does Dickens mean to say here?

In the beginning of Stave 2, after Marley's ghost has disappeared, Scrooge wakes up believing he has overslept and that the time at which the first ghost was to appear has passed. To confirm this, he ...
1
vote
0answers
23 views

Understanding Shyam Saran's “How India sees the world”

I am reading Shyam Saran's How India sees the world. I came across this paragraph which talks about the "sense of being Indian": There is an immemorial and abiding sense of affinity drawn from a ...
6
votes
2answers
501 views

What did Alexander Pope mean by “Expletives their feeble Aid do join”?

Alexander Pope's 'An Essay on Criticism', lines 337–349: But most by Numbers judge a Poet's Song, And smooth or rough, with them, is right or wrong; In the bright Muse tho' thousand Charms ...
1
vote
1answer
71 views

What did Steven Pressfield mean by “give” in this context?

Resistance's goal is not to wound or disable. Resistance aims to kill. Its target is the epicenter of our being: our genius, our soul, the unique and priceless gift we were put on earth to give and ...
2
votes
0answers
39 views

What is the difference between emotions and feelings in Eliot's essay Tradition and the Individual Talent?

In his most famous essay, "Traditional and the Individual Talent", T. S. Eliot appears to make a distinction between emotions and feelings. Read especially the following passage (emphasis mine): ...
2
votes
1answer
61 views

What exactly do these words from “The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin” mean in this context?

I read the following in "The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Volume I": A portrait from Mr. Carlyle's portfolio not regretted by any who loved the original, surely confers sufficient ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

What does sentence mean from “Literary Composition” by Lovecraft?

This is from a part in the article that Lovecraft lists most common mistakes beginners make when writing. The parts I didn't get is in bold. Want of correspondence in number between noun and verb ...
-2
votes
1answer
41 views

What does “it” mean in this passage of David Hume's “A Treatise of Human Nature”?

From David Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature, Book 3, Part 2, Section 7: It has been observed, in treating of the passions, that men are mightily governed by the imagination, and proportion their ...
1
vote
1answer
23 views

What does Benjamin Franklin mean here in his essay, “On True Happiness”?

There is no happiness, then, but in a virtuous and self-approving conduct. Unless our actions will bear the test of our sober judgments and reflections upon them, they are not the actions, and, ...
3
votes
1answer
77 views

Why does Caponsacchi count his fingers in “The Ring and the Book”?

In book VI of Robert Browning’s The Ring and the Book, Giuseppe Caponsacchi tries seducing two women of Arezzo with love-poetry, but he is disappointed with the results:                             ...
3
votes
3answers
46 views

What does Adam Smith mean here in The Wealth of Nations?

In a country which has neither foreign commerce nor any of the finer manufactures, a great proprietor, having nothing of which he can exchange the greater part of the produce of this lands which is ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Why did Mr. Elliot have to decide whose boots were thickest in “Persuasion”?

This is from chapter 19 of Jane Austen's Persuasion: The rain was a mere trifle, and Anne was most sincere in preferring a walk with Mr Elliot. But the rain was also a mere trifle to Mrs Clay; she ...
1
vote
0answers
45 views

Meaning of this line in Candida by Shaw

There is a speech by Lexy in the beginning of Act I when he is talking to Proserpine: LEXY. Ah, if you women only had the same clue to Man's strength that you have to his weakness, Miss Prossy, ...
1
vote
1answer
44 views

What does John Locke mean by “it” at the very end of this passage?

The only way whereby anyone divests himself of his natural liberty, and puts on the bond of civil society, is by agreeing with other men to join and unite into a community for their comfortable, safe, ...
0
votes
0answers
75 views

What is “Miss Maudie's goat” in “To Kill a Mockingbird”?

From chapter 5 of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: We saw Uncle Jack every Christmas, and every Christmas he yelled across the street for Miss Maudie to come marry him. Miss Maudie would yell ...
3
votes
2answers
111 views

What does it mean to peer from a dewball?

In Ted Hughes' "Crow and the Birds", the lines before the ending read: While the bullfinch plumped in the apple bud And the goldfinch bulbed in the sun And the wryneck crooked in the ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

What does it mean to “meet the introduction halfway” in “The Call of the Wild”?

In chapter 1 of Jack London's The Call of the Wild, the dog Buck gets a beating: He was beaten (he knew that); but he was not broken. He saw, once for all, that he stood no chance against a man ...
4
votes
0answers
37 views

What does “laconic atmosphere” mean here?

It's from "The Case for Classicism" by Lovecraft. The first thing one remarks on reading his frigid “Engineering English” is its laconic atmosphere of aloofness from vivid feeling and from love of ...
1
vote
0answers
82 views

Why did Dr Buford stay poor (and Jack rich) in “To Kill A Mockingbird”?

From chapter 5 of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Miss Maudie had known Uncle Jack Finch, Atticus’s brother, since they were children. Nearly the same age, they had grown up together at Finch’...
2
votes
1answer
57 views

Why does Laxness mention “second sight” in “Independent People”?

From Independent People by Halldór Laxness (translated from Icelandic by J. A. Thompson): Others believe that she lives much in the lake in the form of some kind of serpent or water-monster; and ...
2
votes
1answer
186 views

What does Browning's cloistered soliloquist mean by ‘Hy, Zy, Hine’?

Here’s the last stanza of Robert Browning’s ‘Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister’, first published in Dramatic Lyrics (1842): Or, there’s Satan!—one might venture     Pledge one’s soul to him, yet ...
1
vote
2answers
56 views

What is meant by “came to practice” in John Manningham's description of Twelfth Night?

In the earliest mention of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night"; John Manningham's Diary: A good practice in it [was] to make the Steward believe his Lady . . . in love with him, by counterfeiting a ...
1
vote
1answer
92 views

What does “as hot as the hinges of hell” mean in “The Green Mile”?

From chapter 2 of The Green Mile by Stephen King: It was still as hot as the hinges of hell, October or not. The door to the exercise yard opened, letting in a flood of brilliant light and the ...
1
vote
1answer
158 views

Doubts concerning Chapter 15 of “Persuasion” by Jane Austen

I am having trouble understanding a passage in Chapter 15 of Jane Austen's Persuasion. This chapter describes Mr. Elliot's renewal of acquaintance with his family, from whom he was previously somewhat ...
4
votes
1answer
144 views

What is a ‘tongue-leaved eye-figured Eden tree’?

In book III of Robert Browning’s The Ring and the Book, Violante adopts an unwanted new-born child and passes her off to her husband Pietro as their daughter Pompilia: Well, having gained Pompilia, ...
4
votes
1answer
254 views

Meaning of a passage in “Persuasion” by Jane Austen

Please refer to this extract from chapter 14 of Jane Austen's Persuasion: Elizabeth’s last letter had communicated a piece of news of some interest. Mr Elliot was in Bath. He had called in Camden ...
4
votes
1answer
128 views

Why does Browning need to be ‘manned by Manning’?

In Robert Browning’s The Ring and the Book (1868), the narrator buys an ‘old yellow book’ at a street market in Florence, containing documents from a seventeenth-century murder trial at Rome. He ...
0
votes
1answer
43 views

What's the meaning of 'English studies of empirical studies' to be antihumanist?

Prof. Brooks Landon, U. Iowa, Ph.D. U. Texas at Austin. Building Great Sentences: How to Write the Kinds of Sentences You Love to Read (Great Courses) (2013). pp. 245-246.       &...
3
votes
2answers
76 views

What does Machiavelli mean on page 29 of The Prince?

What does Machiavelli mean when he says the following in The Prince? he must be a very true friend, or a thoroughly determined enemy of the prince, to keep faith with you. It's on page 29 of this ...
0
votes
0answers
26 views

What did Francis Christensen mean by 'the end is to enhance life'?

Prof. Brooks Landon, U. Iowa, Ph.D. U. Texas at Austin. Building Great Sentences: How to Write the Kinds of Sentences You Love to Read (Great Courses) (2013). pp 55-56. Francis Christensen: Father ...
2
votes
1answer
32 views

What did Conrad mean by teaching to see is everything?

Prof. Brooks Landon, U. Iowa, Ph.D. U. Texas at Austin. Building Great Sentences: How to Write the Kinds of Sentences You Love to Read (Great Courses) (2013). pp 16-17.     When I say ...
1
vote
1answer
184 views

What is the meaning of the poem “Praxis” by Wendy Xu?

This poem caught my eye a few days ago. I was strangely unable to find a single analysis piece, however. What is the meaning of Praxis by Wendy Xu?
3
votes
1answer
176 views

In “Passing by” by Robert Herrick, how does Cupid “range her country” and change the narrator's heart?

I'm looking for an explanation of the first two lines of the third verse (see below) of the poem "Passing by" by Robert Herrick. I assume that "Cupid is winged" means that Cupid has wings, but what ...
3
votes
2answers
47 views

What does Hippolyta mean by “More witnesseth than fancy’s images”?

What does Hippolyta mean in this speech from Act V Scene I of A Midsummer Night's Dream? But all the story of the night told over, And all their minds transfigured so together, More witnesseth ...