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
141 views

What does Agatha Christie mean with “in a telegraphic style”?

Bold part of this passage from The Mysterious Affair at Styles. Miss Howard shook hands with a hearty, almost painful, grip. I had an impression of very blue eyes in a sunburnt face. She was a ...
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52 views

What does “the surface tension held” mean?

Consider the following passage from Six Wakes, a science fiction novel by Mur Lafferty: She and a good quantity of the synth-amneo fluid floated out of her vat, only to collide gently with the orb ...
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What is the function of comedy for Frye?

I have come across this quote from Northrop Frye: the social judgment against the absurd is closer to the comic norm than the moral judgment against the wicked. What is meant by it? Can anyone ...
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1answer
144 views

Meaning of “We make the wise distinction still, soever made in vain” in a poem by Dickinson

A poem by Emily Dickinson: We send the Wave to find the Wave— An Errand so divine, The Messenger enamored too, Forgetting to return, We make the wise distinction still, Soever made in ...
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1answer
71 views

How can readers ascertain that they have identified the author's intent?

We currently have several questions about auhorial-intent, for example, How much weight is given to authors' intentions in literary analysis? and How much weight should we give authors' declarations ...
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1answer
380 views

Why did Emerson choose 'hobgoblin' in his quote 'A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds'?

Source: Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive (2009). p. 80. According to Oscar Wilde, “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” A similarly disdainful Ralph Waldo ...
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1answer
1k views

Explain “If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you”

In Kipling's poem IF, there is this line: If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you To achieve that, it seems you would have to be so closed off, insulated, and emotionally barricaded that ...
3
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1answer
171 views

Meaning of “I'm almost three-score” in “The Idiot Boy” by Wordsworth

From Wordsworth's The Idiot Boy: And now she's high upon the down, And she can see a mile of road, "Oh cruel! I'm almost three-score; Such night as this was ne'er before, There's not a ...
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2answers
161 views

Meaning of “dim blue match” in “The Female Vagrant” by Wordsworth

From "The Female Vagrant": But ill they suited me; those journeys dark O'er moor and mountain, midnight theft to hatch! To charm the surly House-dog's faithful bark, Or hang on tip-toe at ...
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1answer
81 views

Meaning and significance of “vaultlike door” and “contract around the object in a single yawn of appetite” in Egan's A Visit From The Goon Squad?

What is a vaultlike door? Is this a common adjective for a door? What does yawn of appetite mean? Would you please paraphrase/rephrase these sentences and explain their relevance? From Chapter 1, "...
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146 views

In Anne Frank's Diary, what does this quote mean? “Who besides me will ever read these letters? From whom but myself shall I get comfort?…”

Full quote: Who besides me will ever read these letters? From whom but myself shall I get comfort? As I need comforting often, I frequently feel weak, and dissatisfied with myself; my ...
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1answer
81 views

What's the meaning of the line “9 Parts of Desire” in this song?

There is a partially Hindi (there is only a couple of lines in Hindi; rest is in English) song titled as "9 Parts of Desire". Here is the YouTube link to that song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=...
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Explanation of a line from the poem “I do not love you ” by Pablo Neruda

I loved her like certain dark things are to be loved, in between shadow and soul. Can someone explain this? What dark things are being talked about? Full text in Spanish and English Alternate ...
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1answer
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Equestrian statues and wooden logs, what's the connection?

Here's a quote from Tomas de Quincey's "Confessions of an English Opium-Eater": Turkish opium-eaters, it seems, are absurd enough to sit, like so many equestrian statues, on logs of wood as stupid ...
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2answers
443 views

What did Pope intend to say by “Whatever is, is right”?

Source: The Well-Educated Mind (2 edn 2016), p. 86 Middle.   Related to this is one final question: What is fiction meant to do? Why are you reading a novel at all? Are you expecting to find ...
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1answer
82 views

What does this sentence about a cliché bouncing back like a boomerang mean?

What does this sentence mean in chapter 01 of Peel My Love Like an Onion by Ana Castillo? But you must be really in love for the cliché to bounce back like a boomerang smack dab between the eyes ...
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1answer
71 views

A real meaning of a Bramarbas or a Holofernes?

Before long the madness of intoxication broke out; they attacked one another with fists and knives, and it looked as if they would do murder. Suddenly the Saltmaster’s son, who had stood looking on, ...
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490 views

Meaning of some phrases and lines in “Quality” by John Galsworthy

I am reading "Quality" by John Galsworthy and there are some phrases and lines which I could not grasp. I thought that this site would be the perfect place to ask this question. Below are some lines ...
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1answer
60 views

Had fasting anything to do with golden trout in Middle Ages?

When I read a short story by Ambrose Bierce, 'Monk and the Hangman's daughter', I found a strange expression as below: At length we reached the bank of a stream whose silvery waters presented a ...
6
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1answer
241 views

What does “pull down the blinds” mean in Yeats's poem “The Mountain Tomb”?

Pour wine and dance, if manhood still have pride, Bring roses, if the rose be yet in bloom; The cataract smokes on the mountain side. Our Father Rosicross is in his tomb. Pull down ...
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1answer
547 views

What does “our identity with this country” mean here?

Reading The Great Gatsby, I encountered these sentences and came to be curious as to what "our identity with this country" means in this context: When we pulled out into the winter night and the ...
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1answer
191 views

What does “the protecting canvas unrolled from Gatsby’s grave” mean?

I am reading The Great Gatsby, and came to be curious as to what "the protecting canvas unrolled from Gatsby’s grave" means in the following sentences: As we started through the gate into the ...
4
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1answer
637 views

What does “The none too savory ramifications by which” mean here?

I am reading The Great Gatsby, and came to be curious as to the meaning of "ramifications" and "by which" in these sentences: Cody was fifty years old then, a product of the Nevada silver fields, ...
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1answer
4k views

What does “the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty” mean here?

I am reading The Great Gatsby, and came to be curious as to what "the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty" means in the following sentences: His parents were shiftless and ...
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2answers
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What does “that most limited of all specialists” mean here?

I am reading The Great Gatsby, and encountered these sentences: There was so much to read, for one thing, and so much fine health to be pulled down out of the young breath-giving air. I bought a ...
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242 views

Does D'Hubert rape the maid at the beginning of Joseph Conrad's 'The Duel'?

Towards the beginning of Joseph Conrad's novella The Duel, the character D'Hubert visits the house of the hussar Feraud, where he tries to obtain information about Feraud's whereabouts from his maid. ...
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1answer
325 views

What does this passage about the atmosphere blowing in Cyprus and the Galilee mean in “Jude the Obscure” mean?

When Jude is in the church, when he was following Sue, we see this line: ...was like the dew of the Hermon, and he remained throughout the service in a sustaining atmosphere of ecstasy. Though he ...
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85 views

What does “the facts about themselves” mean here?

Could you please let me know what "the facts about themselves" means in the following sentences: I was in no great pains to keep in touch with England. I followed local advice for my itinerary ...
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1answer
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What exactly are masques and bergamasques?

In Verlaines's "Claire de Lune" he speaks of: Que vont charmant masques et bergamasques They play musical instruments, so one assumes them to be musical artists, but what exactly are masques and ...
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1answer
603 views

What does “snapped out, made accidental, isolated, like ghosts” mean here?

I am reading The Great Gatsby, and encountered these sentences: The voice begged again to go. "Please, Tom! I can't stand this any more." Her frightened eyes told that whatever intentions, ...
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1answer
156 views

What does “if we had room for him” mean here?

I am reading The Great Gatsby, and would like to know what "if we had room for him" means in the following sentences: "Biloxi?" He concentrated with an effort. "I didn't know him. He was a friend ...
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1answer
63 views

How did the oil tank look like in Wilson's garage?

I am reading The Great Gatsby, and came to wonder how the oil tank looked like in Wilson's garage. With an effort Wilson left the shade and support of the doorway and, breathing hard, unscrewed ...
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1answer
384 views

What was “standard shift” in the 1920's?

I am reading The Great Gatsby, and encountered these sentences: "Shall we all go in my car?" suggested Gatsby. He felt the hot, green leather of the seat. "I ought to have left it in the shade." ...
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1answer
1k views

What does “the master's body” mean here?

I am reading The Great Gatsby, and finding it difficult to grasp what "The master's body" means in the following sentences: ...Through the hall of Buchanans' house blew a faint wind, carrying the ...
5
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1answer
521 views

What does “an affront to the common store of life” mean here?

I am reading The Great Gatsby, and would very much like to know what "an affront to the common store of life" means in the following sentences: He set down the receiver and came toward us, ...
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2answers
667 views

What does “which comes at the two changes of the year” mean here?

I am reading The Great Gatsby, and finding it difficult to grasp the meaning of "which comes at the two changes of the year" in the following sentences: ...One autumn night, five years before, they ...
3
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1answer
38 views

What does “made notes for a little thesis” mean here?

I would like to know what "made notes for a little thesis" means in the following sentences: Collins made notes for a little thesis pointing out the inferiority of the original mosaics to their ...
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2k views

What does “chafed” mean here?

I would like to know what "chafed" means in the following sentences: "I like her," said Daisy, "I think she's lovely." But the rest offended her—and inarguably, because it wasn't a gesture but ...
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2answers
50 views

What is “machullah” in Stanley G. Weinbaum's short story Graph?

Nothing specific can be said from the context and only one thing came up in my google search. I know it's a name, and it's probably Arabic in origin. But it just doesn't add up to the story really. It'...
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1answer
44 views

What is the meaning of Flavie's final statement?

At the end of Nantas (1878) by Émile Zola, the last words of the short story are Flavie's final statement: ENGLISH: "I love you!", she cried to his neck, sobbing, tearing this confession from ...
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1answer
37 views

Need an interpretation for a rather slang quotation from 'Elia Kazan's The Arrangement'

Need an interpretation for a quotation from 'Elia Kazan's The Arrangement' which is 'I was going to pull that big damp stone off from over him and let the light of day hit him.' Here is the context ...
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0answers
43 views

In The Wall Jumper, what is the meaning of the very last line about walls still standing?

In The Wall Jumper by Peter Schneider the very last line is: The city outside, with its fire walls, garden walls, border walls - those walls will still be standing when no one is left to move ...
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2answers
100 views

Putting 'gently' out of pain

I'm reading "A Roadside Stand" by Robert Frost, which you can read online. Below I have given the particular paragraph. In the line - To put these people at one stroke out of their pain Robert ...
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1answer
1k views

What does Gulzar actually mean by saying that Earth can hide a river inside?

The poem "The Magical Earth" by Gulzar (from Green Poems, 2014) contains these lines (in the English translation by Pavan K. Varma): There is something indeed in the earth of my garden Is this ...
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2answers
156 views

What is Robert frost 'owning' in these lines?

I read the poem 'A Roadside Stand' by Robert Frost, and I have accumulated a few questions through the poem. So, I will be posting some questions from the same poem, if you can please answer my other ...
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1answer
263 views

How did “they make them sleep all day” in A Roadside Stand?

I read the poem 'A Roadside Stand' by Robert Frost, and I have accumulated a few questions through the poem. So, I will be posting some questions from the same poem, if you can please answer my other ...
2
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2answers
243 views

What does the word 'Avernus' mean in Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu?

Carmilla by Sheridan Le Fanu, Chapter 7: The first change I experienced was rather agreeable. It was very near the turning point from which began the descent of Avernus. On Wikipedia it says ...
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1answer
735 views

What are the 'N' and 'S' signs in the 'A Roadside Stand' by Robert Frost?

I read the poem "A Roadside Stand" by Robert Frost. I am confused by the reference to "N" and "S" signs in tree poem. What do those signs refer to? The little old house was out with a little new ...
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1answer
177 views

What does “in the arms of Murphy” mean?

From E. Nesbit's The Enchanted Castle, Chapter V, when Gerald is telling the policeman Johnson about the burglary he witnessed: "Was it you give the warning, and they sent for the police?" Johnson ...
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Why did “the human race became a small committee surrounded by affectionate animals” for Sartre in the Words?

What is Sartre's metaphor meaning in the Words when saying : "The human race became a small committee surrounded by affectionate animals." The context is when he begins to become familiar ...