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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1answer
53 views

Meaning of "he used it to knit meaning into the mess of everything"

This passage is from The Children's Bach by by Helen Garner Had Dexter and Elizabeth thought of each other during this time? Of course they had, Dexter more than Elizabeth, not because of any ...
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What do “Háni" and “Sons éso tse-ná” mean in Brave New World?

What do “Háni" and “Sons éso tse-ná” mean in Brave New World? I know they sound unreal, but I was curious if there is an actual meaning behind these two phrases.
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In what way can a utility coat be a mockery in a Ted Hughes' "Crow" poem?

In Ted Hughes' Examination at the Womb-door (of the Crow collection), Crow's organs are listed with certain kinds of descriptions (bold is mine): Examination at the Womb-door Who owns these scrawny ...
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What is a "three-part moon"?

This is from Book 2, Chapter 23 of Salamandastron. Samkin, Arula, and Spriggat are sneaking at night into a vermin camp, planning to steal back the sword of Martin the Warrior. Under a burgeoning ...
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Meaning of "to conduct the ordinary business of their lives"

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner How strange it is that in a city the size of Melbourne it is possible for two people who have lived almost as sister and brother for five ...
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What does "the folds of every garment would have the inevitability and definitiveness of syllogisms carved in porphyry" mean?

This is a paragraph in Huxley's novel Ape and Essence, talking about a painting by Piero Della Francesca: For all their silken softness, the folds of every garment would have the inevitability and ...
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Is "I'm glad you think it's funny" meant sarcastically or literally?

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner. At night, when they had put the children to bed, Athena and Dexter walked. They were ruthless about going, and would barely even check that ...
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Where does Tomyris promise to retreat?

I'm trying to understand this passage in Herodotus's Histories (Book 1 chapter 208): So these opinions contended; and Cyrus set aside his former plan and chose that of Croesus; wherefore he bade ...
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What are nuts and super-nuts in Saki's "Beasts and Super-Beasts"?

In Saki's Beasts and Super-Beasts he refers to "Nuts" and "Super-Nuts". For example, we have “You are not going to be what they call a Nut, are you?” she inquired with some ...
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What might "And God, for a Frontier." mean in "I am afraid to own a Body—"?

I don't understand the second stanza of I am afraid to own a Body— by Emily Dickinson. Double Estate—entailed at pleasure Upon an unsuspecting Heir— Duke in a moment of Deathlessness And God, for a ...
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What does "skimmish" mean, in this eye dialect?

This is perhaps a surprising instalment in my sequence of Watership Down questions, being about human dialect and nothing to do with rabbits at all. Of course, it comes from the chapter "Dea ex ...
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Meaning of "Dexter walked with a bandy, rapid gait. They kept pace easily, not touching."

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner Dexter walked with a bandy, rapid gait. They kept pace easily, not touching. They covered miles each night in the dark, sometimes heading east ...
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What does the “justness of characters” mean?

What does the “justness of characters” mean? In the dedication of his play The Way of the World William Congreve says the following about the ancient Roman playwright Terence: "The purity of his ...
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What does "But... They went home" mean in Maya Angelou's "They Went Home"?

Maya Angelou's "They Went Home" opens like this: They went home and told their wives, that never once in all their lives, had they known a girl like me, But... They went home. The end of ...
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Meaning of "the boy who is turned towards the drama of his parents’ faces."

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner Dexter found, in a magazine, a photograph of the poet Tennyson, his wife and their two sons walking in the garden of their house on the Isle ...
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Meaning of "The blushing apricot, and woolly peach. Hang on thy walls, that every child may reach."

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner On his way through the kitchen he screwed up the pizza boxes and tried to force them into the stuffed bin, but they would not go so he left ...
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Meaning of "this patient setting out of facts and services."

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner When the film ended a Greek man explained in his native tongue the details of the government’s health scheme. It took him fully ten minutes, ...
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Meaning of "put in all the salt and pepper"

From Chapter 48 of Charles Dickens's Great Expectations: “Mr. Jaggers was for her [Molly, Mr. Jaggers's maidservant],” pursued Wemmick, with a look full of meaning, “and worked the case in a way ...
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Meaning of "as it was, she witnessed minor twinges of the appropriate emotions occurring distantly, as if to some other girl"

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner: Some things, Morty,’ he said, ‘strain a person’s sense of humour.’ He swept through the room. The three of them sat foolishly, with fading ...
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Origin and significance of E-I-E-I-O in the Old MacDonald song

The well-known children's song "Old MacDonald had a Farm" has lyrics in the following format: Old MacDonald had a farm E-I-E-I-O ! And on that farm he had {article} {singular or plural ...
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Meaning of three phrases from "An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum"

The poem "An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum" by Stephen Spender is given below Far far from gusty waves these children's faces. Like rootless weeds, the hair torn round their pallor: ...
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What does "mirror in my bathroom" mean?

In the following passage from Lonely Man Full of Love by Mauro Mevlud Martino, what does "mirror in my bathroom" mean? A: ‘’Are you quieter and lonelier than me, Rachel?’’ B: ‘’Perhaps, ...
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What kind of jeans are Sears Rough Riders?

I'm reading Kristin Hannah's Firefly Lane. There's a scene when Kate (one of two main characters) saw Tully (the other main character) wearing fashionable elephant bells and wished her jeans weren't ...
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Meaning of "In the wide planting of his feet, his blithe assumption of an audience, she saw Dexter"

This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner: She turned round with her arms full of stinking sheets. He had not heard a word. His eyes had gone out of focus, his pitch was up, his pace ...
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"My father declared he should invent a slip button"

From Lady Saba Holland's memoir of her father the Rev. Sydney Smith, published circa 1855: The reigning bore at this time in Edinburgh was ——; his favourite subject, the North Pole. It mattered not ...
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What does "I ween that you are better where you are" in "The Heart of the Raven" mean?

The chorus of the song "The Heart of the Raven" by the German band MONO INC. goes like this: But here in the raven's heart Your heart is beating on I ween that you are better where you are ...
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Meaning of "He would not use the children against her, he would not. If he mentioned them, if he spoke their names, she would splinter"

This context is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner. ‘How did you know where to find me?’ ‘Morty told me.’ He was thinner. He stood without baggage in the ugly lobby. ‘Come home.’ ‘No. I haven’t ...
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What does "Bool-var" mean in "In the Midst of Alarms"?

In In the Midst of Alarms (1894) by Robert Barr, Yates was defeated in a friendly fight by his friend, professor Renmark, and he was astonished by the fighting skill of this quiet educated professor ...
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How can someone "make a lot of money and fail" in the same time?

In In the Midst of Alarms (1894) by Robert Barr, Yates was talking to his old friend about another old friend that had caused Yates to be expelled from the academy: But what I detested was the way ...
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Does Renmark mean that he himself did not lack self-conceit in the old days in "In the Midst of the Alarms"?

In In the Midst of Alarms (1894) by Robert Barr, Yates was talking to his old friend Professor Stillson Renmark (whom he calls "Stilly"): Now, then, Stilly, let’s talk business. You’re not ...
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What is the "Isle of the Blessed" and why should a girl see it before marriage?

In Chapter 3 of Theodor Fontane's novel Effi Briest, which I've recently started reading online, Effi and her mother are spending some days in Berlin before her marriage, accompanied by her cousin ...
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Meaning of "deliverance in time"

I was listening to Dan Bull and The Stupendium's rap battle about the game Frostpunk and I heard this sentence: Each shiver will deliver us deliverance in time Burn the innocents for penitence if we ...
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Meaning of "in whose presence nothing is required but perfect passivity."

This context is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner They all walked out on the summer afternoon. The men took Arthur to bowl and bat, deep in the park near the drinking fountain, but the women ...
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What do these lines mean in Ivor Gurney's "Laventie"?

Could you please help me understand the meaning of a poem by Ivor Gurney, an Englishman who fought in the First World War. From his "Laventie": Of Maconachie, Paxton, Tickler, and ...
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Translating into English two French phrases from "After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie"

I am trying to understand, in English, two French phrases from the Jean Rhys book After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie. I am reading this novel within the Jean Rhys: The Complete Novels. The quote below is ...
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What is a "kick of the heels"?

This is from the beginning of the third chapter of After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie by Jean Rhys. THE NAME of the dark young man was George Horsfield. Half an hour afterwards he came out of the Restaurant ...
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What does Smash Mouth mean when he writes "fed to the rules" in All-Star?

So the first two lines of the pre-chorus of All-Star by Smash Mouth the song goes: Well, the years start coming and they don't stop coming Fed to the rules and I hit the ground running What does ...
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What does the sentence "We call people things" mean?

I am to translate an extract from John M. Ford's novel The Last Hot Time. It begins with this passage: "Her name is Norma Jean?" "Around here," the small man said, "names are ...
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Meaning of "They wanted to know each other less than they wanted to agree. Harmony! To be each other"

This text is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner. In the street there was a dusty summer wind, a morning not quite hot enough. If they walked shoulder to shoulder, if they sat side by side, it ...
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What does "the one man on earth to her" in "In the Midst of the Alarms"?

In In the Midst of Alarms (1894) by Robert Barr, Yates went to propose a girl who wasn't in love with him, but he thought she loved him. He went to her home's garden in the darkness to talk to her: “...
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Meaning of "she felt him give" in "The Children's Bach" by Helen Garner

This text is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner. He would have liked to move around her house and examine all its icons, or to hang over the front windowsill with her and make remarks about the ...
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The first line of "God's Grandeur"

The first line of Gerard Manley Hopkins's sonnet "God's Grandeur" is: The world is charged with the grandeur of God. What I found on the Internet regarding the analysis of this line was ...
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What does "if the court knows herself" mean?

In In the Midst of Alarms (1894) by Robert Barr, Yates was camping with his unkind friend in Canada, when the police issued a warrant against Yates. “Stilly,” cried the reporter cheerily, “there’s a ...
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What does “withal” mean in a line in Romeo and Juliet?

In Act 3, scene 1 of Romeo and Juliet, Mercutio speaks the following words: Good King of Cats, nothing but one of your nine lives, that I mean to make bold withal, and, as you shall use me hereafter, ...
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What would it mean for a 19th-century German soldier to "wear the cross"?

In the first chapter of Theodor Fontane's Effi Briest, which I've started reading online, we are introduced to the character of Baron Geert von Innstetten as follows (emphasis mine): "Yes, ...
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What is the "color of boom"?

In Imagine Dragon's song Polaroid, there's a certain line that gets repeated throughout the song: I am the color of boom What is the meaning of this line? Does it mean like an explosion of color, or ...
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What is this passage saying about Precentor Jahnke?

In Chapter 1 of Theodor Fontane's novel Effi Briest, which I've just started reading online, two friends of Effi are introduced as follows: Two of the young girls, plump little creatures, whose ...
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Meaning of "Air rushed over the ground like a flood of water at blood temperature"

This text is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner She made him, and dragged him away across the grass. They turned a corner, rounded a thick hedge, and the wind hit them. He stopped struggling. ...
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Meaning of "He went ‘Eeeeee!’ high up in his skull"

This text is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner: Billy drew a breath and started to scream in short, sharp cries. He flung himself back on Dexter’s lap; he clapped his left hand over his ear, ...
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What is the "manhood of a Roman recovery" in John Milton's Areopagitica?

This sentence appears in Milton's "Areopagitica": To which if I now manifest by the very sound of this which I shall utter, that we are already in good part arrived, and yet from such a ...

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