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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5
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1answer
321 views

Krazy language in Krazy Kat, 25 July 1936

The eponymous hero (or heroine) of George Herriman's Krazy Kat cartoons uses a very peculiar language. Most of the time, it's simply phonetical and is easy to understand, but in the strip that ...
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1answer
18 views

What is a neckenger?

In Chapter IX of Thomas Deloney's novel Jack of Newbury, I found the following sentence (emphasis and links added): Thus lay the poore Draper a long time in prison, in which space, his Wife which ...
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2answers
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Why does Linus say “I think you finished it” to Sally in this Sunday strip?

So in December 22nd, 1985, Charles Schulz made this following Christmas themed Sunday panel featuring Linus and Sally. Linus is reading Sally the second chapter of the Book of Luke (from the Bible), ...
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1answer
24 views

What does “the gathers” mean?

In Chapter VIII of Thomas Deloney's novel Jack of Newbury, a woman schools Mrs. Winchcombe (Jack of Newbury's wife) on how to save money by being more economical with the food for her servants and ...
3
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1answer
24 views

An expression 'temporary absolution' from Maupassant's 'Confession'

What is 'temporary absolution' in the below phrase? It's from 'Confession' by Guy de Maupassant. She grew excited, sobbed, seemed enervated and worn out, as if she were still burning from her lover’...
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What is the difference between spatial and temporal paratext?

According to Gérard Genette, the paratext is what is beyond a text, e.g.: the cover, the title, the interviews about a novel... Paratext can be devided into two categories: spatial and temporal. The ...
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1answer
209 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?
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28 views

Meaning of “every dewdrop paints a bow” from In Memoriam, Section CXXII by Alfred lord Tennyson

And every dewdrop paints a bow A line by Alfred Lord Tennyson, from section CXXII of his poem In Memoriam. What is the poet actually trying to convey with this line? The verse in context: And all ...
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1answer
363 views

What does collachrimation mean?

The end Thomas Nashe's novel The Unfortunate Traveller takes a very antisemitic turn when both the novel's main character (Jack Wilton) and his concubine fall into the hands of a Jew named Zadoch. ...
2
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1answer
29 views

What does “have you no cacke a bed” mean?

In chapter VII of Thomas Deloney's novel Jack of Newbury an Italian merchant named Benedicke tries to woo Jone. After some time, Jone gets tired of this and tries to trick him into sleeping with a sow,...
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3answers
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Meaning of “rubber” as a verb in O. Henry

"I'm one of the Sole Sanhedrims and Ostensible Hooplas of the Inner Pulpit," says I. "The lame talk and the blind rubber whenever I make a pass at 'em. I am a medium, a coloratura hypnotist and a ...
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73 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 ...
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136 views

Meaning of “moralize over every morning visit” in Pride and Prejudice

In the final chapter of Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen writes Mary was the only daughter who remained at home; and she was necessarily drawn from the pursuit of accomplishments by Mrs. Bennet's ...
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2answers
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What is a Pippin at Michaelmas?

In chapter X of Thomas Deloney's novel Jack of Newbury, a few characters want to take revenge on a "Mistresse Franke" (italics from the original, bold by me): Now certaine of the maidens of the ...
3
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1answer
18 views

What does it mean to be as good as George a Green?

In Thomas Deloney's novel Jack of Newbury, a woman wants to marry Iohn/John ("Jack" in the novel's title) and tricks him into going to church with her where she will be married. After the widow and ...
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2answers
93 views

What could “mouths deformed against stone” mean?

In Ted Hughes' "The Contender" (which I already asked about once), there's a phrase which I can't figure. Here are the lines: "All the women in the world could not move him They came their mouths ...
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1answer
77 views

What does Obama mean by “running strain of innocence” in “Dreams from My Father”?

The introduction to Barack Obama's memoir Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (1995) contains the passage: And yet what strikes me most when I think about the story of my family ...
3
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1answer
35 views

What does “card” in the title “Gwydonius; The Card of Fancie” mean?

Robert Greene's novel Gwydonius; The Card of Fancie was first published in 1584. The novel's main character, Gwydonius, is the only son of the the duke of Mettelyne (presumably Mytilene). He travels ...
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1answer
26 views

What does Mother Cornelius tub refer to?

In chapter II of The Unfortunate Traveller, Thomas Nashe describes an outbreak of the sweating sickness. The cause of this disease is apparently still unknown. Below is a relevant paragraph from that ...
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What does ketha mean?

At the end of chapter VIII of Thomas Deloney's Jack of Newbury, Jack has a discussion with his wife about a certain "gossip" (an archaic term for "familiar acquaintance"), that he does not want to see ...
4
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1answer
159 views

What is a Cawdle?

At the end of the first chapter of Thomas Deloney's Jack of Newbury, Jack's unnamed wife makes him a "Cawdle": In the morning his wife rose betime, and merrily made him a Cawdle, and bringing it up ...
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2answers
224 views

What is “the sin which ruined our first parents” in The Count of Monte Cristo?

The opening of Chapter 12 of The Count of Monte Cristo describes a meeting between Villefort and his father Noirtier, on which a servant apparently attempted to eavesdrop. The passage (translation ...
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Which of these sources is right about “The Tempest”?

This is part of a quote by Ferdinand in the beginning of scene 1 of act 3 of "The Tempest": But these sweet thoughts do even refresh my labours, Most busy, least when I do it. According to ...
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1answer
67 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 ...
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1answer
171 views

Why did Martin Eden live at night with the gods in a colossal nightmare?

Re-reading Jack London's Martin Eden for my project, I've come across this passage: Martin had ascended from pitch to pitch of intellectual living, and here he was at a higher pitch than ever.  ...
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“The Apple Tree” ending and the meaning behind it

I've recently been tasked with analysing "The Apple Tree" by John Galsworthy. I've had no major issues with understanding the text, but i really can't grasp the ending. Up on the top of the hill, ...
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1answer
84 views

What is “the dark simple curtain” in Ted Hughes' “Criminal Ballad”?

In the poem "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 ...
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1answer
65 views

Meaning of “abandoned his grin to them” in Ted Hughes' “The Contender”?

In "The Contender" (a poem in Ted Hughes' Crow collection), there's a group of lines with peculiar syntax. Here are the lines: He abandoned his grin to them his grimace In his face upwards body ...
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3answers
6k views

What is Jack's crown?

The English nursing rhyme "Jack and Jill" has several verses. The first verse is: Jack and Jill went up the hill To fetch a pail of water. Jack fell down and broke his crown, And ...
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1answer
96 views

What does Forster mean by “Suspicion in the Oriental”?

I'm Asian and read p. 114 of Critical Terrains: French and British Orientalisms by Lisa Lowe, but I'm still baffled by this quote at ThoughtCo. It feels too broadly generalized (and a shade ...
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1answer
63 views

How are “sin and love and fear” “just sounds” in Faulkner's “As I Lay Dying”?

I lighted upon this quote from Faulkner's novel As I Lay Dying on WikiQuote: He did not know that he was dead, then. Sometimes I would lie by him in the dark, hearing the land that was now of my ...
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750 views

The oldest tradition stopped before it got back to him

The following passage is taken from The Call of the Wild. What do the boldfaced parts mean? This lost mine was steeped in tragedy and shrouded in mystery. No one knew of the first man. The oldest ...
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1answer
101 views

What did Charlotte Brontë mean by "you would not be without friends”?

I lighted on this quote on BookRiot: [Helen Burns] went on— “If all the world hated you and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved you, and absolved you from guilt, you would not ...
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1answer
63 views

Why isn't “white” related to colour and ''God save the King" with a god?

I first stumbled on this quote at ThoughtCo: he did not realize that 'white' has no more to do with a colour than 'God save the King' with a god, and that it is the height of impropriety to ...
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2answers
2k views

What is the meaning of these lines about love from “Desiderata”?

What is the message being delivered through these lines in "Desiderata" by the poet Max Ehrmann? Especially do not feign affection Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity ...
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1answer
132 views

What is “the light by which she had read the book” in “Anna Karenina”?

What does the following sentence from Anna Karenina mean? And the light by which she had read the book filled with troubles, falsehoods, sorrow, and evil, flared up more brightly than ever before, ...
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1answer
89 views

How to interpret “body that leaned stiffly” in H. P. Lovecraft's “Azathoth”?

I've just finished reading Lovecraft's fragment "Azathoth" (in Italian translation) and I am astonished by the beauty of the story. Nevertheless I am a little bit confused about the end of it. In my ...
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1answer
60 views

Why “all should cry, Beware! Beware!” in Coleridge's “Kubla Khan”?

Samuel Taylor Coleridge's incomplete poem "Kubla Khan" ends with a vision of a poet in an ecstatic state with "flashing eyes" and "floating hair". He is beyond the realm of mere mortals for he has ...
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1answer
122 views

What did the author of Moby Dick mean by the “Pythagorean Maxim”?

From Herman Melville's Moby Dick. For as in this world, head winds are far more prevalent than winds from astern (that is, if you never violate the Pythagorean maxim), so for the most part the ...
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1answer
70 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 ...
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1answer
62 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: ...
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1answer
77 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 ...
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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. ...
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1answer
68 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 ...
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1answer
56 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 ...
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1answer
56 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 ...
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1answer
62 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. ...
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1answer
36 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 ...
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2answers
514 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 ...
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1answer
207 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 ...