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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What is the purpose of the redundant book titles printed in the bottom margin every few pages of many books?

I'm reading a book. Every few pages, in the bottom left margin, it repeats its own title, preceded by an increasing number: 24 The Fellowship of The Ring What is the point of this? Surely they ...
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3answers
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“Too too sullied flesh” in Hamlet. Why twice?

Oh, that this too too sullied flesh would melt, Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew (Hamlet, Act I, Scene II) Why does "too" occur twice? It is one in a series of repetitions which occur ...
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99 views

Meaning of “Was given to her favorite, and now bore his” in Byron's Don Juan

From Byron's Don Juan (Canto The Tenth, XLIX): While this high post of honour's in abeyance, For one or two days, reader, we request You'll mount with our young hero the conveyance Which wafted him ...
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Where did Camus define “the novel as the place where the human being is abandoned to other human beings”?

Albert Camus once defined the novel as the place where the human being is abandoned to other human beings. The plague novel is the place where all human beings abandon all other human beings. Unlike ...
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Meaning of sentences in Faulkner in the University

I really appreciate it if anyone can help me to understand the highlighted parts (meaning of the part or a rephrase would be great)? As English is not my first language some parts are vague for me and ...
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What's meant by “on his dignity with” in “The Case of the White Footprints”?

In "The Case of the White Footprints" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book by R. Austin Freeman, a woman was talking to a detective about a situation in her hotel, saying: Mr. Bergson wasn't drunk, ...
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1answer
279 views

Why does Horatio answer “a piece of him” when asked if Horatio is there?

In Hamlet, Act 1: Scene 1, when Bernardo asks if Horatio is there, Horatio responds "A piece of him": MARCELLUS. Holla! Bernardo! BERNARDO. Say, What, is Horatio there? HORATIO. A piece of ...
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What effect did the knocking at the gate in “Macbeth” have on Thomas De Quincey?

In Thomas De Quincey's 1823 essay "On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth", he describes the effect of the knocking at the gate (Macbeth, Act II, Scene 3) on him when he was a boy: "it [...
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1answer
64 views

What does stanza 4 of Defeat by Kahlil Gibran mean?

I love Defeat (by Kahlil Gibran) but I don't understand these lines in the fourth stanza of this poem: Defeat, my Defeat, my bold companion, You shall hear my songs and my cries and my silences, And ...
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Anne Elliot's speech about constancy in love in “Persuasion”

In chapter 23 of Persuasion by Jane Austen, Anne Elliot and Captain Harville have been discussing whether men or women are more constant in love. Anne says to him: I hope I do justice to all that is ...
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What does “cheek” mean in the following phrase below in “The Fellowship of the Ring”?

This is taken from The Fellowship of the Ring, book II, chapter 1, page 266: If he had the cheek to make verses about Eärendil in the house of Elrond, it was my affair.
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What's meant here by “follow him even in thought”?

In "The Vampire of the Village" by G. K. Chesterton, the author was describing Father Brown while visiting some persons, saying: The conversation of Miss Carstairs-Carew, on whom he called ...
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What does it mean to “die game”?

In chapter 3 of The Phantom of the Opera, it says that the retiring managers had determined to “die game”, as we now say. What does that mean? I have searched the web with no luck.
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What is “a conical flame with a twisted top” in Youth: A Narrative

In the below passage sourced from Joseph Conrad's Youth: A Narrative, Conrad describes a "conical flame with a twisted top". What exactly is it? Of course they very soon found out in the ...
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Why would Marlow have “abused the old church at home for not being a cathedral”?

In Youth: A Narrative, Joseph Conrad writes: “We had fair breezes, smooth water right into the tropics, and the old Judea lumbered along in the sunshine. When she went eight knots everything cracked ...
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What's meant by “It would be almost irregular, if the clergyman’s son were quite regular”?

In "The Vampire of the Village" by G. K. Chesterton, Dr. Mulborough was talking to Father Brown about a Great Scandal in their village, while they were going to a village by a train, saying: ...
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What is the “hidden something” in Joseph Conrad's: Youth

In Joseph Conrad's short story Youth: A Narrative, Conrad writes What made them do it—what made them obey me when I, thinking consciously how fine it was, made them drop the bunt of the foresail ...
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1answer
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What does this metaphor mean: “You can die on St. Helena without being Napoleon.”

Can someone tell what this metaphor means: You can die on St. Helena without being Napoleon. It seems to be related to history, and the life of Napoleon. I found this metaphor on Quora in Paul ...
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Who are the people Isaac Watts is talking about in “Improvement of the Mind”?

I am currently reading Improvement of the Mind (1741) by Isaac Watts, and at various instances in the book he mentions people whom I have a hard time tracking down. For example, on Page 14: Sobrino ...
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Understanding the plotline of “The Smile” by Ted Hughes

I'm reading Ted Hughes' "The Smile" (text version), and I'm trying to understand its plotline. More specifically: what's the nature of the scenes wherein the poem's protagonist, the smile, ...
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How was Thangorodrim “broken” in “The Fellowship of the Ring”?

From The Fellowship of the Ring, book II, chapter II, page 273: 'And not so many, nor so fair, as when Thangorodrim was broken, and the Elves deemed that evil was ended for ever, and it was not so.' ...
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2answers
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What did Elrond mean by telling the council “it is so ordered …”?

This phrase has been taken from The Fellowship of the Ring, book II, chapter II, page 271: Yet it is not so. Believe rather that it is so ordered that we, who sit here, and none others, we must find ...
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What is the meaning of “Yet the way of the Ring to my heart is by pity, pity for weakness and the desire of strength to do good.”?

From Book 1, Chapter 2, of The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien: Don't tempt me! For I don't wish to become like the Dark Lord himself. Yet the way of the Ring to my heart is by pity, pity ...
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What is “the poem” that the spider refers to in Philip Dick's short story “Expendable”?

In the short story "Expendable" by Philip K. Dick, the protagonist is a man who can communicate with spiders. At one point, after fighting off a home invasion by an army of ants, the ...
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In how many ways can you interpret this haiku poem? [closed]

What may be the possible (hidden) interpretations of this poem (written by me), which uses a form of Japanese poetry called 'haiku'? a filled bow, stretched with zest- the smile flies How would the ...
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1answer
29 views

What does GKC mean when he says “trees that seemed to take hold upon the stars like a brood of Ygdrasils”?

What does G.K. Chesterton mean when in the beginning of "A Defence of Skeletons" in The Defendant he says: trees that seemed to take hold upon the stars like a brood of Ygdrasils I know ...
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1answer
100 views

What would Mr Aylmer resent in “The Dagger with Wings”?

In "The Dagger with Wings" by G. K. Chesterton, Father Brown went to someone, Mr Aylmer, who was asking for protection against another one who wants to kill him, but the priest wasn't sure ...
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1answer
41 views

What's meant here by "[the heresies] are actually unconscious?

In "The Crime of The Communist" by G. K. Chesterton, there is a conversation between many persons about the communism: ‘Well, you’re all very down on Communism, of course,’ said the Master, ...
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Meaning of ‘matted well’ and ‘silk gowns’ in Bleak House

I’ve come across the following passage in Chapter 1 of Bleak House by Charles Dickens: On such an afternoon the various solicitors in the cause, some two or three of whom have inherited it from their ...
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1answer
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“Last summer's manifestations” here refers to which “manifestations and incidents”?

"Last summer's manifestations" here refers to which "manifestations and incidents"? I believe they have been latterly playing us false, which may be only supplementing the genuine ...
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2answers
69 views

Why does Martin Luther King use the word “flesh” in his speech?

What is the significance and the intention of King using the word "flesh" halfway through his speech? and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together Is it related ...
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1answer
42 views

What's meant here by “over the cosier chambers of Humanism …”?

In "The Crime of The Communist" by G. K. Chesterton, the author was describing three men and the surrounding architecture of Mandeville College, saying: They themselves, in a curious quiet ...
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1answer
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What did Bilbo mean by telling Frodo that Aragorn “thought the whole thing rather above my head”?

This phrase is taken from The Fellowship of the Ring, book II, chapter 1, page 265 (emphasis added): "You needn't," said Bilbo. "As a matter of fact it was all mine. Except that ...
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1answer
371 views

What is the meaning/significance of Aragorn putting a green stone into Bilbo's song?

This poem is taken from The Fellowship of the Ring, book II, chapter 1 (page 265): As a matter of fact it was all mine. Except that Aragorn insisted on my putting in a green stone.
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1answer
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Meaning of lines from Bilbo's “Song of Eärendil” in “The Lord of the Rings”

This poem is taken from The Fellowship of the Ring, book II, chapter 1 (page 263): Through Evernight he back was borne on black and roaring waves that ran o'er leagues unlit and foundered shores that ...
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1answer
34 views

“the unnatural stimulus ceasing to operate, I had returned to my old habits” in Frankenstein

The following is an extract from Frankenstein. What does the "habits" in "returned to my old habits" mean? It does not seem to refer to habits like drinking, staying up late, etc. ...
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1answer
51 views

“It was very different, when the masters of the science sought immortality and power” in Frankenstein

The following extract is from Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I'd like to know: What the "it" refers to. Does the "it" refer to the circumstances in general? If so, in what ways ...
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1answer
45 views

Meaning of Greek concepts on omniscience in Amélie Nothomb's Soif

Amélie Nothomb's novel Soif (Thirst) tells us Jesus's memoirs on the eve of the crucifixion. Jesus defends against the accusations made to him by referring to his omniscience as being imperfect. I ...
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2answers
367 views

Does “entertain about” mean “distract about” or “entertain because”?

In "The Quick One" by G. K. Chesterton, Father Brown was talking to his friend about a murder that happened in the hotel lounge after a very serious altercation between two men because of ...
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1answer
49 views

What's meant here by “Don't mention it”?

In "The Quick One" by G. K. Chesterton, Father Brown was talking to his friend, saying: Didn’t you see how that old man, with the heart of a lion, stood up and forgave his enemy as only ...
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2answers
66 views

What's meant here by “the sort of lunacy allowed in the gentry”?

In "The Quick One" by G. K. Chesterton, the author was describing a man, saying: John Raggley was generally regarded as a crank. He was the sort of man who writes letters to the newspaper, ...
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2answers
192 views

Help understanding this quote/hymn by Isaac Watts

Recently heard this, and was trying to figure out what it means. It's by Isaac Watts and, I believe, from his book https://www.amazon.com/Arrangement-Psalms-Hymns-Spiritual-Songs/dp/024343913X Our ...
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2answers
163 views

What's meant here by “ his serving as second proves very little about what he thought of the quarrel”?

In "The Chief Mourner of Marne" by G. K. Chesterton, Mr. Outram was talking to Father Brown about an old duel between Mr. James Mair, whose second was Mr. Outram himself, and his cousin ...
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Meaning of “the plaster stripping off the walls”

does "the plaster stripping off the walls" mean "a wall with fallen chunks of plaster"? The rumours of the strange doings which occurred in the Eddy homestead had got abroad, and ...
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1answer
39 views

Meaning of “Upon one other interest I have not yet touched—to me the weightiest and farthest—reaching of all”

Arthur Conan Doyle's The History of Spiritualism contains the passage quoted below. In his presidential address before the British Association at Bristol in 1898, Sir William briefly referred to his ...
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1answer
60 views

What's meant by “in the symbol of windows and of doors” in “The Dagger with Wings”?

In "The Dagger with Wings" by G. K. Chesterton, the author was describing a situation where Father Brown was sitting in a central room with a staircase leading up from it on one side and a door ...
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2answers
363 views

Meaning of “the humility of a charge” in “The Chief Mourner of Marne”?

In "The Chief Mourner of Marne" by G. K. Chesterton, Mr. Mallow went to Father Brown to consult him about very serious problem, but he found him sitting on the floor with a serious ...
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1answer
55 views

Meaning of “held between the fingers by a piece of thread passed through one corner”

Does Crookes imply here that the paper was pierced and then suspended by a thread? In the case of Miss [Kate] Fox it seems only necessary for her to place her hand on any substance for loud thuds ...
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1answer
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The meaning of the poem “Be Different to Trees”

I'm studying the poem "Be Different to Trees" (1924) by Mary Carolyn Davies: The talking oak To the ancients spoke. But any tree Will talk to me. What truths I know I garnered so. ...
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1answer
55 views

The Winter's Tale, Act 2 scene 3, lines 104-108. What do these lines mean?

Paulina, a wife of one of the aristocrats, speaks these lines to Leontes in The Winter's Tale: And thou, good goddess Nature, which hast made it So like to him that got it, if thou hast The ...

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