Questions tagged [meaning]

Questions regarding the meaning of certain terms or 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. Please add specific tags as well: for the author (if known), the language (if not English), and either the work itself (if long) or the [poetry] or [short-stories] tags for short works.

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7
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1answer
151 views

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 ...
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1answer
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Meaning of "trembling fantasies"

Athena woke at six o’clock in the morning. Philip was not there, nor had he been. The room was full of heavy, dark pieces of furniture. The impression that her presence made on the room was so slight ...
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Meaning of "You never came and you never went" in Eudora Welty's "A Visit of Charity"

I can't understand what the sentence "You never came and you never went" is related to. Does it clarify the previous utterance or is it a new thought which says that the person has never ...
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Meaning of "Her say said" in "This Side of Paradise"?

In Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise, we have this passage: MRS. CONNAGE: The poor boy looks so miserable every time he comes. ROSALIND: That was one of those romantic, pre-battle affairs. They’re ...
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1answer
59 views

Meaning of "profitably watch the expression on the face of a ship's figure" in "Stolen Ingots"?

In "Stolen Ingots" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book by R. Austin Freeman,the chief officer and the inspector were insisting on that they have captured the stolen ingots, but Thorndyke was a bit ...
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2answers
81 views

Is Von Bork's "I've been there" the idiomatic expression here, in "His Last Bow"?

I’d like to ask about the sentence from His Last Bow by Conan Doyle. “.. It was on my first arrival. I was invited to a week-end gathering at the country house of a cabinet minister. The conversation ...
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Understanding two lines from "The Wound-Dresser" by Walt Whitman

Among the hospital poems, "The Wound-Dresser" by Walt Whitman is one of the best and finest. I wonder if anybody here can help me to understand two lines of this piece. But in silence, in dreams’ ...
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2answers
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What do "fairish man" & "rich complexion" mean in "The New Jersey Sphinx"?

In "The New Jersey Sphinx" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book by R. Austin Freeman, Thorndyke went to a porter to know the vacant chambers to let, and asked him whether it's quiet: "Quiet?&...
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1answer
558 views

Meaning of lines explaining Hrothgar's ruling in Heorot

I'm reading Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf and when the poet talks about Heorot Hall (lines 71 through 73) he says it would be his throne-room and there he would dispense his God-given ...
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1answer
706 views

What is a "roomy heart"?

There's a phrase in "Alms-Giving" that I'm confused about. First, here's the original, untranslated text: Wel bið þam eorle      þe him on innan hafað, reþehygdig wer,      rume heortan; ...
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Why did Emerson choose 'hobgoblin' in his quote 'A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds'?

Ralph Waldo Emerson said: A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. I understand the quote. But Wikipedia doesn't explain the origin of the following signification? It differs from the ...
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1answer
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Meaning of "visions of meadows" and "along which her disembodied consciousness progresses to a stately pulse."

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner The edifice trembles. Athena stops eating, though she still buys food and prepares it. Her clothes hang off her, but her husband’s and her ...
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1answer
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Meaning of "much less regard" in Justice by Michael Sandel

This is from the book named Justice by Michael Sandel. I would like to know the meaning of "much less regard" and the meaning of the sentence (the second part of the sentence). How can we ...
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1answer
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What did Aciman mean by "Love, which exempts no one who's loved from loving"?

In Andre Aciman's Call Me by Your Name, while Elio describes the events of the summer, he refers to a quote by Francesca he remembers from Inferno. "Love, which exempts no one who's loved from ...
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Meaning/translation of title "The Light Fantastic" by Terry Pratchett

I have read The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett in English and always interpreted the title as "The Fantastic (adjective) light (noun)". Mostly because I do not see "Fantastic" ...
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3answers
452 views

Meaning of "glimpses of the moon" in "Hamlet"

I read this in Hamlet act I scene IV:                                 What may this mean, That thou, dead corpse, again in complete steel Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon... I'm unable ...
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0answers
353 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, there ...
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1answer
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What is "a Man in the Top" in Crawford's 'The Screaming Skull'?

From 'The Screaming Skull' by F. Marion Crawford: I ought not to be nervous. I've sailed in a haunted ship. There was a Man in the Top, and two-thirds of the crew died of the West Coast fever ...
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1answer
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What does the poem "Philosophy" by Nissim Ezekiel mean?

Here is the poem "Philosophy" by Nissim Ezekiel. What do the parts in bold mean? There is a place to which I often go, Not by planning to, but by a flow Away from all existence, to a cold ...
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What do "Joggleberry", "celestial limit" and "pink penultimate" mean in "The Power-House"?

I have a question about a passage in The Power-House by John Buchan. In Chapter 1, "Beginning of the Wild-Goose Chase", Tommy Deloraine says to Leithen, the narrator: “This about finishes ...
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2answers
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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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1answer
147 views

Paragraph from Wuthering Heights: "Yesterday afternoon set in misty and cold..."

Wuthering Heights, beginning of chapter 2. Yesterday afternoon set in misty and cold. I had half a mind to spend it by my study fire, instead of wading through heath and mud to Wuthering Heights. On ...
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How do you become aware "of the earth as poetry"?

From p. 105 of National Geographic Stunning Photographs “It is only when we are aware of the earth and of the earth as poetry that we truly live.” ― Henry Beston How do you become aware "of ...
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1answer
152 views

What does "Yira" mean in "Yira, Yira" by Carlos Gardel?

In the song Yira, Yira by Carlos Gardel (which was also later performed by Los Piojos) I am curious about the phrase, well, "Yira, Yira" (full lyrics). I couldn't find the definition in many ...
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1answer
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What does "more than I gave" mean in "I therefore named a price which was £500 more than I gave"?

I’d like to ask about the sentence from The Three Gables by Conan Doyle. .. but naturally I was interested in what he said. I therefore named a price which was £500 more than I gave. Here I’m not ...
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1answer
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What specifically is being described as stupid and old-fashioned in this passage on arranged marriage?

I'm trying to rhetorically analyze a passage in Amy Tan's novel titled The Joy Luck Club, where a character, Lindo Jong, describes her experience with the arranged marriage process. I've included the ...
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1answer
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Please explain this excerpt about David putting new books into a bookshelf full of old books, from "The Book of Lost Things"

I have some difficulties in understanding the meaning of this excerpt from The Book of Lost Things: David was aware of a change in the room as soon as he began to fill the empty spaces on the ...
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2answers
169 views

What is a Pehliva?

The word "Pehliva" is used several times in the third part of the Shahnameh (Helen Zimmern translation), particularly to refer to Sam/Saum, apparently a ruler in Seistan (which I thought ...
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1answer
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What is the meaning of "hearth" in Charles Reade's work The Cloister and the Hearth?

I haven't read the book. The author of the article I'm translating mentions him and his novel, I need to include the exact translation of the title but I'm not sure what he meant. Is it a home, a ...
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3answers
107 views

What does this paragraph mean in Dickens' American Notes?

I came across the following paragraph in Dickens' American Notes: I have made no reference to my reception, nor have I suffered it to influence me in what I have written; for, in either case, I ...
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1answer
190 views

Meaning of "But were Oedipa some single melted crystal of urban horse” from “The Crying of Lot 49”

What does “But were Oedipa some single melted crystal of urban horse” mean? Here is the full quote: What the road really was, she fancied, was this hypodermic needle, inserted somewhere ahead into ...
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1answer
683 views

What does H. G. Wells means by "Subject Races" in The War in the Air?

The term "Subject Races" is used a few times in H. G. Wells's novel The War in the Air. I have been looking around but only found a paper called "The Treatment of Subject Races", is this related?
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1answer
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What do "nothing that lived" and "doughty at bay" mean?

The following quote is from the chapter "Concerning Hobbits" in The Fellowship of the Ring: Though slow to quarrel, and for sport killing nothing that lived, they were doughty at bay, and at need ...
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1answer
266 views

What's the meaning of "a knife in your throat held after dark" in the Silly Walk Song?

The so-called Silly Walk Song by the Monty Python troupe (lyrics and video here, lyrics in text form here) is mostly a lament of the tedium and futility of a life of money-induced drudgery. But there ...
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3answers
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What does "a stroke a hole" refer to in "The Thirty-Nine Steps"?

I have a question about a passage in The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan. In Chapter 10, "Various Parties Converging on the Sea", Richard Hannay watches two people playing tennis, after ...
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2answers
247 views

What does "set out fair and square" mean in the characterization of the Hobbits?

This is taken from from The Fellowship of the Ring prologue where JRRT lays out some of the characteristics of Hobbits: The genealogical trees at the end of the Red Book of Westmarch are a small ...
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1answer
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What does "I were about to set off for the centre of the earth" mean here

This excerpt is from Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad. After this I got embraced, told to wear flannel, be sure to write often, and so on—and I left. In the street—I don’t know why—a queer feeling ...
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Meaning of: "the photographic views, the spyglasses you look at them" in 'Five Children and It'

In chapter 8, E. Nesbit said: Bill was a man who knew his business. In a very little while, the photographic views, the spyglasses you look at them through so that they really seem rather real, and ...
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Meaning of "down here after measles, as likely as not!" in 'Five Children and It'

In chapter 1, E.Nesbit said: "Hungry! I should think so," said Martha angrily; "out all day like this. Well, I hope it'll be a lesson to you not to go picking up with strange children —...
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Meaning of "raise his wrist", "his skipping turns", "smile of a tender complicity", "Vicki was glassy", and "In their linked, three-way posture..."

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner Athena worked her way forward as far as the front row of non-dancers. She was blasted by noise but fired with curiosity. She could not tell ...
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1answer
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Meaning of "He's soft, ain't he? Them giants mostly is" in "Five Children and It"

From Five Children and It by E. Nesbit: 'What'll you take for him?' she said excitedly. 'Anything in reason. We'd have a special van built—leastways, I know where there's a second-hand one would do ...
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2answers
258 views

"Which dreams, indeed, are ambition" in Hamlet Act 2, Scene 2

I am reading Hamlet; Act 2 Scene 2 contains the following exchange: Hamlet: O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams. ...
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1answer
52 views

Meaning of "I'm glad it was only wings, though. I'd rather see the birds as aren't there..."

Me and my friend finished translating Five Children and It. This is one of the paragraphs we had a problem with, in Chapter 4 (The Wings): "Well, from this day forth I'll be a better man. It's ...
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0answers
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Meaning of "Illimba", "mani" and "acuminus" in "The God of Small Things" by Arundhati Roy?

I'm reading The God of Small Things, a novel by Keralan author Arundhati Roy. She masterfully plays with words, sometimes transforming them, mimicking the way a seven year old would (the main ...
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1answer
66 views

Meaning of "I've made my reputation as a strong woman. I reckon I’ve earned the right to a..."

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner: Vicki spent an hour getting herself ready. She tied a diaphanous scarf round her head, stuck a yellow rose in it, and put a lot of makeup on ...
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0answers
58 views

Why does Hamlet say "Rest is silence"? [duplicate]

Why does the Shakespearean protagonist Hamlet say, "Rest is silence."? Does he say it because he lost his biological dad who had poison in his ear poured by his evil uncle, lost mom, ...
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1answer
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What does Mark Twain mean by "cheers and a tiger"?

I know about the big stripey cat, but what is "a tiger" in this context: ...finishing up with cheers and a tiger for "Hadleyburg purity and our eighteen immortal representatives of it.&...
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What does it mean when Faulkner says: “The will of man to prevail“?

I am reading Faulkner in the University (edited by Frederick L. Gwynn and Joseph L. Blotner. University of Virginia Press, 1995) and some parts are ambiguous for me. What does he mean when he says “...
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2answers
106 views

What do "Free Trader" and "Protection in the Colonies" refer to in "The Thirty-Nine Steps"?

I have a question about a passage in The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan. In Chapter 4, "The adventure of the radical candidate", Richard Hannay meets Sir Harry, who says: “Now you’ve got ...
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0answers
30 views

Meaning of “City Lites”

I'm reading The Sellout by Paul Beatty. One of the sections is titled: "City Lites" The first thing that comes to my mind is Charlie Chaplin's famous movie. But what else can be understood ...

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