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 difference between emotions and feelings in Wordsworth's Preface to Lyrical Ballads?

In the Preface to the second edition of Lyrical Ballads (1800), Wordsworth famously wrote that all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: (...). He later adds (my emphasis): ...
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283 views

What does this passage of 1984 mean?

There were also memories of another kind. They stood out in his mind disconnectedly, like pictures with blackness all round them. He was in a cell which might have been either dark or light, ...
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318 views

What do these prophetic lines in The Hidden Oracle mean?

So there are 2 lines in The Hidden Oracle The fall of the Sun The final verse Well obviously, the fall of the Sun refers to Apollo becoming mortal. but what about the final verse? A theory; It ...
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150 views

What does “getting soaked” mean in this text?

What does "getting soaked" mean in the following excerpt from Valeria Luiselli's novel The Story of My Teeth? I get off the bus not far from the gates, at a lovely median strip with life-size ...
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1answer
59 views

What does sentence mean from “Literary Composition” by Lovecraft?

This is from a part in the article that Lovecraft lists most common mistakes beginners make when writing. The parts I didn't get is in bold. Want of correspondence in number between noun and verb ...
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3answers
70 views

Is there any other definition or sub-meaning of the term 'marines'?

I've come across the term 'marines' in the book 'The Arrangement by Elia Kazan' twice; however I couldn't get what it may refer. I know it is like 'nautical' or something but it seemed different to me ...
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1answer
226 views

Why did Johnson scoff those “who toil at the lower employments of life” in the preface to his dictionary?

Brooks Landon M.A. Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin. Building Great Sentences: How to Write the Kinds of Sentences You Love to Read (Great Courses) (2013).     In a fitting close to ...
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1answer
116 views

What is the meaning of this sentence from “Polaris” by Lovecraft?

Below is a sentence from Lovecraft's "Polaris": I said to myself, "This is no dream, for by what means can I prove the greater reality of that other life in the house of stone and brick south of ...
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1answer
44 views

Meaning of “faithful to the tomb, so there were quarrels” in Byron's “Don Juan”

From Byron's Don Juan: The Senhor Don Alfonso stood confused; Antonia bustled round the ransack'd room, And, turning up her nose, with looks abused Her master and his myrmidons, of ...
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1answer
26 views

What does Benjamin Franklin mean here in his essay, “On True Happiness”?

There is no happiness, then, but in a virtuous and self-approving conduct. Unless our actions will bear the test of our sober judgments and reflections upon them, they are not the actions, and, ...
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1answer
45 views

What does John Locke mean by “it” at the very end of this passage?

The only way whereby anyone divests himself of his natural liberty, and puts on the bond of civil society, is by agreeing with other men to join and unite into a community for their comfortable, safe, ...
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189 views

What does “as hot as the hinges of hell” mean in “The Green Mile”?

From chapter 2 of The Green Mile by Stephen King: It was still as hot as the hinges of hell, October or not. The door to the exercise yard opened, letting in a flood of brilliant light and the ...
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51 views

What's the meaning of “preceding” as in Coleridge's Biographia Literaria

From Chapter 13 in Coleridge's Biographia Literaria (italics added): I could add to these arguments one derived from pecuniary motives, and particularly from the probable effects on the sale of ...
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54 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, ...
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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 ...
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What do “current words” mean in 'Roman Fever' by Edith Wharton?

The below paragraph is from "Roman Fever'. "Alida Slade's awfully brilliant; but not as brilliant as she thinks," would have summed it up; though she would have added, for the enlightenment of ...
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1answer
41 views

What is a neckenger?

In Chapter IX of Thomas Deloney's novel Jack of Newbury, I found the following sentence (emphasis and links added): Thus lay the poore Draper a long time in prison, in which space, his Wife which ...
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1answer
51 views

What does it mean to “meet the introduction halfway” in “The Call of the Wild”?

In chapter 1 of Jack London's The Call of the Wild, the dog Buck gets a beating: He was beaten (he knew that); but he was not broken. He saw, once for all, that he stood no chance against a man ...
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2answers
60 views

What is meant by “came to practice” in John Manningham's description of Twelfth Night?

In the earliest mention of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night"; John Manningham's Diary: A good practice in it [was] to make the Steward believe his Lady . . . in love with him, by counterfeiting a ...
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1answer
324 views

Opening lines of Gwendolyn Brooks' poem “Riot”

Please explain the following opening lines of Gwendolyn Brooks's poem "Riot": John Cabot, out of Wilma, once a Wycliffe, all whitebluerose below his golden hair, wrapped richly in right linen ...
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1answer
77 views

What's the meaning of “my censures” as in Coleridge's “Biographia Literaria”

In Chapter Four: This fact of itself would have made me diffident in my censures, had not a still stronger ground been furnished by the strange contrast of the heat and long continuance of the ...
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1answer
480 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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40 views

In 'Pride and Prejudice',why was Mary's performance bad compared to Elizabeth's?

Mary, who having, in consequence of being the only plain one in the family, worked hard for knowledge and accomplishments, and was always impatient for display... had neither genius nor taste, and ...
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55 views

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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78 views

What does Obama mean by “running strain of innocence” in “Dreams from My Father”?

The introduction to Barack Obama's memoir Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (1995) contains the passage: And yet what strikes me most when I think about the story of my family ...
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168 views

Doubts concerning Chapter 15 of “Persuasion” by Jane Austen

I am having trouble understanding a passage in Chapter 15 of Jane Austen's Persuasion. This chapter describes Mr. Elliot's renewal of acquaintance with his family, from whom he was previously somewhat ...
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1answer
87 views

Meaning of “I'm sorry for blaming you for everything I couldn't do”

From Christina Aguilera - "Hurt": I'm sorry for blaming you for everything I couldn't do. What does it mean? I'm sorry for blaming you and I'm also sorry for everything I couldn't do or I'...
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1answer
68 views

Meaning of “Whose husband only knows her not a whore”

From Byron's Don Juan: Oh beautiful! and rare as beautiful But theirs was love in which the mind delights To lose itself when the old world grows dull, And we are sick of its hack ...
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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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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 ...
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1answer
118 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 ...
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54 views

Why is this adjective given in Ode on Melancholy

In Keats's Ode on Melancholy, he writes neither twist Wolf's bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine; Why is Wolf's bane described as "tight-rooted"?
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What is the logic in this quote about raids in 'Roman Fever' by Edith Wharton? [duplicate]

I am reading Edith Wharton’s Roman Fever. I have a question which is beyond my understanding, being not a native English speaker. The phrase is as below from the original text. "I'd rather live ...
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1answer
67 views

In 'Roman Fever' by Edith Wharton, why would Grace be raided?

I am reading Edith Wharton’s 'Roman Fever'. I have a couple of question which are beyond my understanding, being not a native English speaker. "I'd rather live opposite a speakeasy for a change; at ...
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24 views

What does “wisdom that is so often loudly preached” mean in the Parable of the King and the Maiden?

In the first paragraph of "The Parable of the King and the Maiden": Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden and whose heart was unaffected by the wisdom that is so often loudly preached. ...
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25 views

Understanding Shyam Saran's “How India sees the world”

I am reading Shyam Saran's How India sees the world. I came across this paragraph which talks about the "sense of being Indian": There is an immemorial and abiding sense of affinity drawn from a ...
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79 views

What did Steven Pressfield mean by “give” in this context?

Resistance's goal is not to wound or disable. Resistance aims to kill. Its target is the epicenter of our being: our genius, our soul, the unique and priceless gift we were put on earth to give and ...
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66 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, ...
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Why did Dr Buford stay poor (and Jack rich) in “To Kill A Mockingbird”?

From chapter 5 of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Miss Maudie had known Uncle Jack Finch, Atticus’s brother, since they were children. Nearly the same age, they had grown up together at Finch’...
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54 views

What do the first two lines of this rap by Public Enemy mean?

The rap group "Public Enemy", in their first album It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (released in 1988), had a track titled Don't Believe the Hype. Its first stanza is: Back Caught ...
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239 views

The House Was Quiet And The World Was Calm by Wallace Stevens quote interpretation

I'll give the whole poem for context, but I'm having trouble making complete sense of a line in the poem. What exactly does Stevens mean by the phrase "wanted much most to be / The scholar to whom ...
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How does Dee Raain use the Mirrors to highlight negative human traits in the poem “Mirror of Truth”?

The poem "Mirror of Truth" by Dee Raain is as follows: What is seen in the mirror is nothing more than a person with lies and hate. With sadness and traits Of discrimination and disgrace. ...
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47 views

What does “advertisements in mother-of-pearl letters upon the glass-covered back” mean here?

I would like to know what "advertisements in mother-of-pearl letters upon the glass-covered back" means in the following sentences: She glanced through the fly-specked windows of the most ...
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What is the function of comedy for Frye?

I have come across this quote from Northrop Frye: the social judgment against the absurd is closer to the comic norm than the moral judgment against the wicked. What is meant by it? Can anyone ...
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51 views

What does “the surface tension held” mean?

Consider the following passage from Six Wakes, a science fiction novel by Mur Lafferty: She and a good quantity of the synth-amneo fluid floated out of her vat, only to collide gently with the orb ...
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58 views

What is the meaning of 'myopia' in literature studies?

Does the term myopia have a special meaning in the context of literature? Myopia is in its most direct meaning a healthcare condition: relating to, or exhibiting myopia : NEARSIGHTED Myopia or ...
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1answer
46 views

What's the meaning of 'English studies of empirical studies' to be antihumanist?

Prof. Brooks Landon, U. Iowa, Ph.D. U. Texas at Austin. Building Great Sentences: How to Write the Kinds of Sentences You Love to Read (Great Courses) (2013). pp. 245-246.       &...
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77 views

Why might Mr. Bingley “leave the next generation to purchase” in “Pride and Prejudice”?

From Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (volume 1, chapter 4): Mr. Bingley inherited property to the amount of nearly a hundred thousand pounds from his father, who had intended to purchase an ...
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62 views

What does ahn in Maggie: A Girl of the Streets mean?

I would like to know what ahn in "Maggie: A Girl of the Streets" by Stephen Crane means. It can be read from this link: https://english.hku.hk/courses/engl1039/Crane.pdf Here are some lines with it: ...
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81 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 ...