Questions tagged [meaning]

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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3
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1answer
59 views

Understanding the first dialogue of Archbishop Thomas Becket involving antitheses

In Murder in Cathedral by T.S. Eliot, when Archbishop Thomas Becket returns from France, and sees the second priest scolding the women of Chorus, he says Peace. And let them be, in their exaltation. ...
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1answer
31 views

What does “even so did I” mean?

I am reading Oscar Wilde's poem "The House of Judgment" and it uses the phrase. I have seen it in other older texts. What does it mean? Here is a copy of the passage. The phrase is bolded. ...
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What does Edith Wharton mean by “democratic principles” in The Age of Innocence

I'm only two paragraphs in with The Age of Innocence and already I'm having trouble, specifically with this sentence: To come to the opera in a Brown coupé was almost as honourable a way of arriving ...
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1answer
104 views

What are “half-tips to the heels” in “The Touchstone”?

In "The Touchstone" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book by R. Austin Freeman, Thorndyke and his friend, Gervis, found a print of a boot with an iron toe-tip on loam soil, then they found another ...
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1answer
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Does “trampling” mean “violence” or “attack” in “The Touchstone”?

In "The Touchstone" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book by R. Austin Freeman, Thorndyke went to an old disused chalk-pit, where a dead man found after he fall from above path, the edges of which ...
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1answer
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What does “Hoo's fully resolved t' sew up meawth an' eend” mean in “Mary Barton”?

I would like to know what "Hoo's fully resolved t' sew up meawth an' eend" means in the following stanza: Eawr Marget declares had hoo cloo'as to put on, Hoo'd goo up to Lunnon an' talk to ...
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1answer
31 views

Why is the Lady “a suffering soul in some page of Dostoyevsky”?

In An Enigmatic Nature, Anton Chekhov writes: "I am a suffering soul in some page of Dostoevsky. Reveal my soul to the world, Voldemar." and "Happiness comes tapping at my window, I ...
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1answer
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Why does Groholsky head toward the water barrel?

In A Living Chattel, Anton Chekhov writes: [Impersonal Witness] I pressed Groholsky's hand, and got into the train. He bowed towards the carriage, and went to the water-barrel—I suppose he was ...
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1answer
73 views

What is the significance of a raised black flag?

In The Lost Sanjak, Saki Writes: and, in the midst of a string of questions on indifferent topics, the examining counsel asked me with a diabolical suddenness if I could tell the Court the ...
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1answer
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What is the hidden meaning of “Bad News” known to Egbert and Lady Anne?

In The Reticence of Lady Anne, Saki writes: Both Egbert and Lady Anne would have preferred something from The Yeomen of the Guard, which was their favourite opera. In matters artistic they had a ...
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1answer
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What is the Ruff of Don Tarquinio?

In The Reticence of Lady Anne, Saki writes: Don Tarquinio lay astretch on the Persian rug, basking in the firelight with superb indifference to the possible ill-humour of Lady Anne. His pedigree was ...
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1answer
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What is the influence of Louis Quinze and Wilhelm II on furniture styling?

In Reginald in Russia, Saki writes: Reginald sat in a corner of the Princess’s salon and tried to forgive the furniture, which started out with an obvious intention of being Louis Quinze, but ...
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Why do Albanians “take life whenever they get the opportunity”?

In Reginald on Tariffs, Saki writes: I’m not going to discuss the Fiscal Question (said Reginald); I wish to be original. At the same time, I think one suffers more than one realises from the system ...
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Understanding the meaning of “Eructation of unhealthy souls” in T.S. Eliot's Burnt Norton

In the third section of Burnt Norton we find these lines Eructation of unhealthy souls Into the faded air, the torpid Eructation have two meanings Belching Eruption So, if we take up the second ...
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Why are Ibsen Dramas in particular mentioned in Reginald?

In Reginald on Besetting Sins: The Woman who told the Truth, Saki writes: [Reginald]: Children are given us to discourage our better emotions. That is why the stage, with all its efforts, can never ...
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Why does “it always turn out to be the King of Sweden”

In Reginald at the Theatre, Saki writes: [Reginald]: “There are certain fixed rules that one observes for one’s own comfort. For instance, never be flippantly rude to any inoffensive grey-bearded ...
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1answer
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What does “balks account” mean in Walt Whitman's “I Sing the Body Electric”?

Walt Whitman's poem "I Sing the Body Electric" is a sort of celebration of the human body. A phrase that recurs a few times is "balks account": The love of the body of man or ...
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What does “The cook was a good cook, as cooks go; and as cooks go she went” mean?

In Reginald on Besetting Sins: The Woman Who Told The Truth, Saki writes And at last the dreadful thing came, as the Woman had foreseen all along that it must; it was one of those paltry little ...
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Why does Reginald call Britain “a suburb of Jerusalem”?

In Reginald at the Theatre, Saki writes: “Oh, well, ‘dominion over palm and pine,’ you know,” quoted the Duchess hopefully; “of course we mustn’t forget that we’re all part of the great Anglo-Saxon ...
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2answers
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What does “To have reached thirty, is to have failed in life.” mean?

In the short story, Reginald on the Academy, Saki writes: “To have reached thirty,” said Reginald, “is to have failed in life.” Why does Reginald consider it a failure to reach the age of thirty?
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What does “It's the Early Christian that gets the fattest lion.” mean?

Saki begins his short story, Reginald's Choir Treat, with the following line “Never,” wrote Reginald to his most darling friend, “be a pioneer. It’s the Early Christian that gets the fattest lion.” ...
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What does “To die before being painted by Sargent is to go to Heaven prematurely.” mean?

In the short story, Reginald on the Academy, Saki writes: [Reginald]: "To die before being painted by Sargent is to go to Heaven prematurely." Firstly, does this quote from Reginald imply ...
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1answer
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What does “To be clever in the afternoon argues that one is dining nowhere in the evening” mean?

In the short story, Reginald on the Academy, Saki writes: “To be clever in the afternoon argues that one is dining nowhere in the evening.” What does this mean? (EDIT: Some additional context is ...
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1answer
31 views

What does “beauty is only sin deep” mean?

In the short story, Reginald's Choir Treat, Saki writes: “You are really indecently vain of your appearance. A good life is infinitely preferable to good looks." "You agree with me that ...
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1answer
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Meaning of the words “Ambition should be made of sterner stuff” from Julius Caesar

What is the meaning of Antony's words "Ambition should be made of sterner stuff" in Act III of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar?
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3answers
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What is the meaning of “Both wry with the laboured ease of loss.” and “And of this circumstance… Its silence silences.” in 'A Photograph'?

In the poem A Photograph (written by Shirley Toulson), I didn't understand some sentences. In the first stanza, the poet says, The cardboard shows me how it was When the two girl cousins went ...
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1answer
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Does the line “writing in the time of covid-19” reference some work of literature? [closed]

Someone sent me this literature joke but I don't get it, can someone help me please? He wrote: *writing in the time of covid-19 Apparently the joke has something to do with literature, so if anyone ...
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1answer
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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
894 views

Why does Khushwant Singh's grandmother consider music as a 'monopoly of harlots and beggars and not meant for gentlefolk'?

In the story The Portrait of a Lady, written by Khushwant Singh, there are sentences which I couldn't understand properly (highlighted bold in the following excerpt): One day I announced that we were ...
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1answer
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Understanding the second section of first part of Burnt Norton by T.S. Eliot

The first section of first part of Burnt Norton seems to be focused on "time", although it is too abstract and as I say "beyond my perceptible sense" but in the least we understand ...
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1answer
47 views

Why do all the lines of Burnt Norton seem unconnected?

I'm reading Burnt Norton by T.S. Eliot. I have read it's background (that manor house theme) and a few months ago read Murder in the Cathedral (as Wikipedia says says, "He created it while ...
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2answers
135 views

What does “radium” mean in Confessions of a Born Spectator by Ogden Nash?

The fourth line of the last stanza (stanza 6) in the poem "Confessions of a Born Spectator" by Ogden Nash is: Buy tickets worth their radium What does 'radium' mean here? What does the ...
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1answer
38 views

What does “for bad's come over her” mean in this context?

I would like to know what "for bad's come over her" means in the following sentences: I even went to a policeman, a good enough sort of man, but a fellow I'd never spoke to before because ...
3
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1answer
64 views

Who are the Corlies of Arizona?

In Part I of Carrie, Stephen King writes: Like Flatlands Society, the Rosicrucians, or the Corlies of Arizona, who are positive that the atomic bomb does not work, these unfortunates are flying in ...
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1answer
32 views

What is the meaning of “dole cheque” in the following context?

I know that "dole" means "benefit paid by the state to the unemployed". But I wonder how it is related to the following context. ‘I wish you didn’t have to go away,’ she blurts ...
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What does James Baldwin mean by 'democratic' in his open letter to Angela Davis?

James Baldwin's open letter to Angela Davis contains the following sentence (emphasis added): The will of the people, in America, has always been at the mercy of an ignorance not merely phenomenal, ...
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1answer
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What does this sentence from Carrie mean?

In Part I of Carrie, Stephen King writes: And when she talks of Carrie White her face takes on an odd pinched look that is more like Lovecraft out of Arkham than Kerouac out of Southern Cal. Other ...
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1answer
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What does it mean for Venus to 'read my case' in Drummond of Hawthornden's madrigal?

I came across a madrigal by William Drummond of Hawthornden (laird of the same) yesterday. It's an astonishingly beautiful poem, but I'm having trouble making sense of some of the phrases and ...
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2answers
973 views

What does “precious rascals” mean in “The Blue Scarab”?

In "The Blue Scarab" in Dr. Thorndyke's Case-Book by R. Austin Freeman, Mr. Blowgrave, whose deed-box was stolen, was talking to Dr. Thorndyke: "The story concerns my great-grandfather ...
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Meaning of the line “Sometimes it takes the strength of a woman” (The Carpenters)

William Shakespeare wrote a a play titled Taming of the shrew. I think this conversely likens to a Carpenters song "Strength of a woman", which contains the line "Sometimes it takes the ...
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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. I was wondering what does he mean ...
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1answer
38 views

To which 'Argive queen' was Ben Jonson referring in his verse letter to the Countess of Rutland?

I came across a couplet today in Ben Jonson's verse letter "Epistle to Elizabeth Countess of Rutland" which I'm still trying to understand: How many equal with the Argive queen, Have beauty ...
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294 views

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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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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1answer
36 views

What does “on his dignity with” mean 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
325 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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1answer
52 views

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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2answers
471 views

What does “at all” mean in “The Vampire of the Village”?

In "The Vampire of the Village" by G. K. Chesterton, Father Brown was talking about an old parson and his son, saying: ‘I mean,’ said Father Brown, ‘that the son still speaks of his father ...
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1answer
61 views

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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34 views

What does “follow him even in thought” mean in “The Vampire of the Village”?

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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