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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2answers
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Meaning of “d-n” in “'T is strange—the Hebrew noun which means 'I am,' the English always used to govern d—n”

From Byron's Don Juan: She liked the English and the Hebrew tongue, And said there was analogy between 'em; She proved it somehow out of sacred song, But I must leave the proofs ...
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1answer
63 views

In “Sinbad the Seaman and Sinbad the Landsman”, from Arabian Nights, what does gars me pine mean?

From The Arabian Nights: Each morn that dawns I wake in travail and in woe, And strange is my condition and my burden gars me pine. Many others are in luck and from miseries are free, ...
7
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1answer
146 views

Meaning of “I shut my tongue against my fly”

From Aurora Leigh: Poor child! I would have mended it with gold, Until it gleamed like St. Sophia's dome When all the faithful troop to morning prayer: But he, he nipped the bud of such a ...
1
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1answer
39 views

Meaning of “not conclude at yours”

From Aurora Leigh: Have you learnt No more of women, 'spite of privilege, Than still to take account too seriously Of such weak flutterings? Why, we like it, sir,– We get our powers and ...
2
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1answer
45 views

Meaning of “who bespoke our place so far in the east”

From Aurora Leigh: So it is: We covet for the soul, the body's part, To die and rot. Even so, Aurora, ends Our aspiration, who bespoke our place So far in the east. What is the meaning ...
2
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1answer
58 views

Meaning of “that all the towns make offal of their daughters for its use on summer-nights”

From Aurora Leigh: Thus is Art Self-magnified in magnifying a truth Which, fully recognized, would change the world And shift its morals. If a man could feel, Not one day, in the artist's ...
4
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1answer
59 views

Meaning of “He says it still of truth, which is his own” (in “Aurora Leigh”)

From Aurora Leigh: The book has some truth in it, I believe: And truth outlives pain, as the soul does life. I know we talk our Phædons to the end Through all the dismal faces that we make, ...
2
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1answer
65 views

Meaning of “and beauty keeps itself still uppermost” (Aurora Leigh by Liz Browning)

From Aurora Leigh: Until at last, as one, whose heart being sad On hearing lovely music, suddenly Dissolves in weeping, I brake out in tears Before her . . asked her counsel . . 'had I erred ...
4
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1answer
75 views

Meaning of “to risk, in turn, a woman's paradox”

From Aurora Leigh: To have our books Appraised by love, associated with love, While we sit loveless! is it hard, you think? At least 'tis mournful. Fame, indeed, 'twas said, Means simply ...
5
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2answers
109 views

Meaning of “I own myself incredulous of confidence like this availing him or you”

From Aurora Leigh: '- That is said Austerely, like a youthful prophetess, Who knits her brows across her pretty eyes To keep them back from following the grey flight Of doves between the ...
7
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2answers
153 views

Meaning of “you wear your blue so chiefly in your eyes … it comforts me entirely for your fame” in Aurora Leigh

From Aurora Leigh: She said her name quite simply, as if it meant Not much indeed, but something,–took my hands, And smiled, as if her smile could help my case, And dropped her eyes on me, ...
11
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1answer
100 views

What is “vulgar white of personal aims”? Why is it “white”?

From Aurora Leigh by Elizabeth Barrett Browning: 'I have not stood long on the strand of life, And these salt waters have had scarcely time To creep so high up as to wet my feet. I cannot ...
6
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1answer
63 views

What does the line “The echoes of your rocks my carols wild” mean?

From the poem "An Evening Walk" by William Wordsworth (emphasis added): FAR from my dearest Friend, 'tis mine to rove Through bare grey dell, high wood, and pastoral cove; Where Derwent rests, ...
5
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2answers
175 views

Pulchritudinous callipygosity

In the short story "Inertia" by Rudy Rucker (which I found via this ID question on another site, and which is published to be read in full at the author's website here), the near-Googlewhack phrase "...
3
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0answers
35 views

What's the meaning of “you should worry” in the following lines from Pinter's Birthday Party?

What's the meaning of "you should worry" in the following lines from Pinter's Birthday Party (emphasis mine)? LULU. You’re tickling me! GOLDBERG. You should worry. LULU. I’ve always liked ...
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2answers
129 views

What does “The beginning came long after the end” mean in George R.R. Martin's Dying of the Light?

Near the beginning of Martin's "Dying of the Light" novel, there is the following passage: Behind it was a stillness and a smoky darkness, an unmoving curtain that hid the farther stars. A cloud of ...
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4answers
4k views

What does “Until a man is nothing, God can make nothing out of him” mean?

I came across the following passage in Dan Brown’s fiction, “Inferno”: [...] their physical being and cosmic importance shrinking to the size of a mere speck in the face of God … an atom in the ...
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0answers
47 views

In Huxley's Island, what is a “bass thurible?”

And now incense was burned in a bass thurible. The old priest held up his two hands for silence, and through a long pregnant time of the most perfect stillness the thread of gray incense smoke ...
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117 views

What's the meaning of “well over the fast” in the following passage?

In Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party (1957), Goldberg (a Jewish character) wishes Stanley a happy birthday and says "well over the fast." What does he mean by it? I know that this expression is ...
3
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1answer
163 views

Distance unit of Leagues and Miles

I am reading the Jules Verne novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in the translation by Anthony Bonner published in 1962 by Bantam Books. In chapter 20 around the 16th paragraph on pg. 163 begins: ...
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2answers
934 views

What does “between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea” mean in Heart of Darkness?

On the book of Joseph Conrad called Heart of Darkness, page 1, it says "between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea" The problem is that, as far as I understand, he ...
5
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1answer
233 views

What does “Maybe it's a Big Horse I'm Morporkian” mean?

In Terry Pratchett's book Raising Steam, there is an explanation of the phrase "Have seen the big horse" where the author uses the sentence "Maybe it's a Big Horse I'm Morporkian". What exactly does ...
3
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1answer
880 views

Tom and Nick's meeting in the Great Gatsby

At the end of Gatsby when Tom and Nick meet, after their conversation Nick states that Tom: "went into the jewelry store to buy a pearl necklace — or perhaps only a pair of cuff buttons — rid of ...
4
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1answer
490 views

Meanings of the Kenyan dialect words used in “A Grain of Wheat”?

I've started reading A Grain of Wheat by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (available here), and it contains quite a few of what I assume are Kenyan dialect words. Not enough to make it unreadable for me - most of ...
6
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2answers
148 views

What “unspeakable conclusion” was Amira's father about to reach?

The short story "Seasons of Glass and Iron", winner of the 2017 Hugo Award for Best Short Story, may be read in full here. I just read it last night, and a single passage confused me, in the story of ...
4
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1answer
38 views

How to envisage 'battlements of the escarpment'

Please help me to understand the following sentence from The Sign and the Seal by Graham Hancock. A soft afternoon breeze, laden with the fragrance of distant deserts, blew through the tawny ...
5
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0answers
143 views

What do these metaphors about hardship in “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay” mean?

I have been racking my brain with the meaning of three expressions: taut-jawed men - does it mean that they are stern looking, that their facial expression is tight and tense? brick-lipped, hard-...
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1answer
38 views

What is a Noble Hyrst?

In the book Emily Fox-Seton by Frances Hodgson Burnett, there is this line in chapter nine: There had been noble Hyrsts in the reign of Henry I. When I look up what hyrsts refers to, the ...
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0answers
388 views

What does “Rebirth of Slick” mean when it quotes “On the Subway”?

Digable Planets' Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like That) ("Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space)," 1993, track 06, released as a single in 1992) (genius.com link) quotes the "blink blink" passages ...
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0answers
65 views

What's all the blinking about?

On the Subway ("The Last Poets," 1970, track 02) (genius.com link) concludes with shouting the word "blink" a lot, and I'm not sure what it means. On the surface level, I figure it might be ...
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2answers
625 views

In the poem “North” by Seamus Heaney, what is meant by the Aurora Borealis line and the word “nubbed”?

I'm taking notes and learning about the poem "North" by Seamus Heaney, and would like help with the literary analysis of some lines. What is meant by: Expect aurora Borealis in the long foray, but ...
2
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1answer
294 views

Meaning of Rumi's quote “Lo, for I to myself am unknown, now in God's name what must I do?”

I really like this quote but didn't get its correct meaning. My deduction is - One is asking God that what should he do when he didn't know himself at first. What is the meaning of Rumi's quote "Lo, ...
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1answer
159 views

Why is the phrase “go a long way to explain” used in “The Sign and the Seal”?

The quote from "The Sign and The Seal" by Graham Hancock: "If this had been what had happened then it would undoubtedly go a long way to explain the strangely menacing suggestion to the King of ...
5
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1answer
485 views

In Pride and Prejudice, what is meant by the phrase 'at York'?

In Chaper 20 of Pride and Prejudice, after Lizzy refuses to marry Mr Collins, Mrs Bennet says of her: "There she comes... looking as unconcerned as may be, and caring no more for us than if we ...
4
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1answer
221 views

Why are the bears bulgy?

Among the diverse characters introduced in Prince Caspian during Caspian's tour of the Old Narnians are three bears known as the "Bulgy Bears". What exactly does it mean for them to be bulgy? It's not ...
6
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1answer
105 views

Is Gibbon's use of “association” a misprint or unfamiliar sense of the word?

In chap. 45 of the Decline and Fall, when Tiberius is made Augustus 4 years before the death of Justin II, Gibbon's marginal note reads "Association of Tiberius, A.D. 574". As far as I've been able to ...
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1answer
2k views

Questions on the meaning of a passage about friendship in Frankenstein, Letter 4

I've just started reading Frankenstein. I really want to make sure that I understand everything I read, so I want to make sure of what these sentences mean. I already did google them, but didn't find ...
2
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1answer
30 views

Is “by the iron rods of soil and season” in Graham Hancock's “The Sign and The Seal” an idiom?

Is it an idiom or should it be understood literally? It is from "The Sign and The Seal" by Graham Hancock. The full quote runs thus: The peasant whom we met and talked to were poor, in some cases ...
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1answer
127 views

What is the meaning of “melt wives into sealing wax” in Dick's “The Man in the High Castle”?

“…we can deplore,” the radio, the voice of the little yellow-bellies from Tokyo was saying. God, Frink thought; and we called them monkeys, these civilized bandy-legged shrimps who would no more set ...
4
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1answer
3k views

What exactly is the “No Ordinary Sun”?

The poem "No Ordinary Sun" by the Maori poet Hone Tuwhare is about a tree's reaction to some kind of deadly threat, the titular "no ordinary sun". Addressing the tree in the second person, the poem ...
6
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1answer
52 views

Why does Susan say her “eyes are hard” when suffering an emotional breakdown in the Waves (Virginia Woolf)?

"I love," said Susan, "and I hate. I desire one thing only. My eyes are hard. Jinny's eyes break into a thousand lights. Rhoda's are like those pale flowers to which moths come in the evening. [...
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2answers
5k views

What does the phrase “the silent imputation of parsimony” mean in The Gift of the Magi by O.Henry?

What does the phrase "the silent imputation of parsimony" mean? It appears in the first paragraph of "The Gift of the Magi," which I've quoted below. One dollar and eighty-seven cents.That was all. ...
3
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1answer
400 views

What is the author trying to convey in this passage from “Gates of Fire” by Steven Pressfield?

I am reading Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield. I encountered this passage, to which, I cannot wrap my head around the context that author is trying to convey. We had reached the river now. We ...
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1answer
537 views

What does this 'Each that we lose takes part of us' quote from Emily Dickinson mean?

Each that we lose takes part of us; A crescent still abides, Which like the moon, some turbid night, Is summoned by the tides. Emily Dickinson What does this mean?
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3answers
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What does the line “The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them.” mean in The Gifts Of The Magi?

What was not among whom? What did O. Henry want us to know from this line? The author says this line after Jim hugs Della out of affection after seeing the magnitude of her sacrifice (her hair, which ...
4
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2answers
733 views

What do these lines in Edward Thomas's 'This is No Case of Petty Right or Wrong' mean?

Than in the storm smoking along the wind Athwart the wood. Two witches' cauldrons roar. From one the weather shall rise clear and gay; Out of the other an England beautiful And ...
13
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2answers
10k views

The meaning of “The rest is silence” in “Hamlet”

Hamlet's very last words are The rest is silence. What do they actually mean? This being Shakespeare, I reckon the significance of these words cannot be only the banal comparison between death and ...
5
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1answer
259 views

What does this sentence mean (from 'Dracula')?

To one thing I have made up my mind: if we find out that Mina must be a vampire in the end, then she shall not go into that unknown and terrible land alone. I suppose it is thus that in old times one ...
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2answers
61 views

What does “the orchestra broke out” mean?

The short story The Man, the Maid and the Miasma by P.G. Wodehouse ends with the following paragraphs: He bent across the table. 'Isn't this like the old times?' he said. 'Do you remember the ...
11
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1answer
790 views

In “The Importance of Being Earnest”, what does 'Or they come in the evening, at any rate' mean?

In The Importance of Being Earnest, when Lady Bracknell asks Jack about his politics, he answers "Liberal Unionist". Here's the exchange: Lady Bracknell: What are your politics? Jack: Well, I ...