Questions tagged [wording-choice]

For questions about a writer's precise selection of words as determined by a number of factors, including denotative and connotative meaning, specificity, level of diction, tone, and audience

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4
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1answer
109 views

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 ...
-3
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1answer
86 views

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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0answers
42 views

Is a fish “Alive with breath” or “Alive without breath”?

J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit contains many lovely riddles, posed in-universe by Gollum and Bilbo to each other. Most of them are original compositions by Tolkien himself, as he explained in one of ...
12
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1answer
694 views

Why are there three different versions of the “solid/sullied/sallied flesh” line in Hamlet?

While looking up about the passage asked about in this previous question, I noticed that there are different versions of the same line in Hamlet, Act I Scene II, line 333: O that this too too solid ...
6
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2answers
116 views

Bad Grammar in The Great Gatsby?

I'm sure many here have encountered a common error in written English, whereby 'have' is substituted by 'of'; 'should of', 'would of', 'could of', etc. It's my understanding that this is always ...
9
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4answers
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What does Lady Macbeth mean by “what thou art promised”?

In Macbeth Act I Scene 5, Lady Macbeth says the following: Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be What thou art promised: yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o' the milk of human ...
6
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1answer
82 views

What does “atom” mean in Don Quixote?

This is a question about Don Quijote de la Mancha (Edición conmemorativa de la RAE y la ASALE / 400th-anniversary commemorative edition by the Spanish language academies). In Chapter XXVI of the ...
3
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1answer
93 views

Shakespeare's vasty deep: was “vasty” a recognised variant of “vast” at the time?

From Shakespeare's Henry IV Part 1, Act III Scene 1: GLENDOWER: I can call spirits from the vasty deep. HOTSPUR: Why, so can I, or so can any man; But will they come when you do call for them? ...
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1answer
108 views

Why “a creeper climbs” in Our Casuarina Tree by Toru Dutt?

In the poem "Our Casuarina Tree" by Toru Dutt, why has she written 'a creeper climbs...'? Instead, she might have written 'a climber climbs'! Does it imply anything?
6
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2answers
547 views

Context of “swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow”?

I go, I go; look how I go, Swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow. -- Puck, Act III Scene II, A Midsummer Night's Dream This is a well-known line from a Shakespeare play, but did Shakespeare ...
4
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2answers
133 views

If Hamlet, being a prince, outranked Horatio, why did he address him as “sir”?

Hamlet Act 5 Scene 2: HAMLET: So much for this, sir. Now shall you see the other. You do remember all the circumstance? HORATIO: Remember it, my lord! Horatio replies to Hamlet calling ...
3
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1answer
422 views

What does Hamlet mean when he calls Claudius a “villain”?

In the Shakespearian tragedy Hamlet, prince Hamlet repeatedly calls Claudius a "villain". Here is a quote from Act 2 Scene 2 : Bloody, bawdy villain!Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous,kindless ...
2
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1answer
207 views

Does Joyce, in Finnegans Wake or Ulysses, link the sound form “hoe” to “whore”?

Does Joyce, in Finnegans Wake or Ulysses, link the sound form "hoe" to "whore", as in the current day "ho"? For example, is it probable that Joyce intended the (additional) modern day pun in the ...
7
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1answer
187 views

Why does Mersault say “Hello image!” to his girlfriend?

I have read the novel A Happy Death by Albert Camus. In this novel Mersault (the absurd hero) at one point says to his girlfriend, "Hello, image!". I am wondering why he calls his girlfriend "image". ...
6
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1answer
80 views

Do word replacements in “A Clockwork Orange” affect the interpretation of the book as a whole?

Recently, I started reading "A Clockwork Orange" in English. A feature of the book that jumped out at me was that a lot of words used by the main character are adapted from Russian. Since I am a ...
2
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1answer
90 views

A woman falling at a heave from the moon and the sun

In A Ted Hughes poem called "Criminal Ballad" (of the Crow collection), there's a usage of the word "heave" which I can't figure: "A woman fell between the ship and the jetty At a heave from the ...
3
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1answer
134 views

Did Edith Wharton make a mistake in her introduction to “Ethan Frome”?

I just finished reading Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton for a school assignment and upon a second review of the introduction, I noticed something odd. First, I shall give some background. The novel ...
2
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0answers
54 views

Treatment of the German “von” in a novel [closed]

A secondary character in a historical WWII novel I am writing is named Gerhard von Trapp. Should I include the "von" when referring to him only by his last name, or perhaps drop the von, esp. when ...
6
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1answer
3k views

Why are pronouns used in this way in Nalo Hopkinson's “Shift”?

I just read the short story "Shift" by Nalo Hopkinson, which is freely available online. It's a modern, Caribbean-themed story inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest. One thing which confused me on ...
6
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1answer
96 views

A real meaning of a Bramarbas or a Holofernes?

Before long the madness of intoxication broke out; they attacked one another with fists and knives, and it looked as if they would do murder. Suddenly the Saltmaster’s son, who had stood looking on, ...
7
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2answers
229 views

Comparing frequency of word use across Shakespeare's plays

There are numerous concordances that list all of the words, and their frequency of use within each of Shakespeare's plays. However, I am interested in the presence and frequency of use of words across ...
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1answer
96 views

Why does Shelby Foote use the phrase “airline miles” in The Civil War: a Narrative?

In The Civil War: a Narrative, Shelby Foote periodically uses the phrase "airline miles" to mean "distance on a straight line." I can't recall offhand hearing this phrase anywhere else; why this ...
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2answers
88 views

What is the correct term for “fine words”?

Usually when writing poems or literature, the authors looks for words that can convey their ideas faithfully. The same thing happens to the readers, when suddenly they understand the problem so clear. ...
3
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0answers
98 views

Understanding the usage of “Philosophy” in Uncle Vanya

In "Uncle Vanya" by Chekhov, I noticed a usage of the word "philosophy" that seemed out of place. ASTROFF. A woman can only become a man's friend after having first been his acquaintance and then ...
6
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1answer
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What does 'trusting sorrow' mean here?

I read the poem 'A Roadside Stand' by Robert Frost, and I have accumulated a few questions through the poem. So, I will be posting some questions from the same poem, if you can please answer my other ...
4
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1answer
86 views

At the start of 6th Spice and Wolf light novel, what's up with the discrepancy between “like” and “love”?

Note: I'd like to request no spoilers beyond the start of the 6th novel. At the very end of the 4th S&W novel, Lawrence says "I like you". And yet Lawrence embraced Holo. And then— &...
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2answers
75 views

Why does my copy of “Jude the Obscure” use 'part first' instead of 'first part' or something like that?

I recently procured a copy of Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy. Upon opening it, something struck me as odd: It says 'part first' instead of 'first part' or 'part one'. I've never seen this before, ...
11
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1answer
383 views

What does “kettle at the heel” mean in this Yeats poem, “The Tower”?

What shall I do with this absurdity — O heart, O troubled heart — this caricature, Decrepit age that has been tied to me As to a dog's tail? Never had I more Excited, passionate, ...
11
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1answer
109 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
183 views

What did G. K. Chesterton mean by this sentence from the first chapter of 'The Man Who Knew Too Much'?

Walking in wind and sun in the very landscape of liberty, he was still young enough to remember his politics and not merely try to forget them. I want to make sure that "the very landscape of liberty"...
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1answer
94 views

What did G. K. Chesterton mean by these two paragraphs from the first chapter of 'The Man Who Knew Too Much'?

'Jenkins,' he repeated. 'Surely you don't mean Jefferson Jenkins, the social reformer? I mean the man who's fighting for the new cottage-estate scheme. It would be as interesting to meet him as any ...
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2answers
141 views

Why does Anastasia describe her reaction to Christian as “irrational”?

I'm reading Fifty Shades of Grey. There's one passage that I don't understand: I close my eyes and take a deep, purifying breath, trying to recover what’s left of my equilibrium. No man has ever ...
4
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1answer
128 views

Why does Sara frequently describe herself using derogatory words in Pack Challenge?

Someone recommended Pack Challenge by Shelly Laurenston to me. It's erotica FYI--not really sure if this is the place for questions about that, but I thought I would try anyway. The main character has ...
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2answers
894 views

What is the rhetorical purpose of the description of Miss Emily?

I have been asked this question and I am finding it difficult to pinpoint an answer. I presume it must be c) or e) but I cannot decide. An explanation of the correct choice would be very helpful. "...
12
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2answers
621 views

Language in A View from the Bridge

In page 33 of the play "A View from the Bridge" by Arthur Miller, Eddie describes Rodolfo saying he: looked so sweet there, like an angel – you could kiss him he was so sweet and Paper Doll ...
14
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5answers
7k views

What is the “heap of broken images” in The Waste Land?

In T. S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land (which you can read online), T. S. Eliot claims that someone (probably either humankind or the reader) only knows "a heap of broken images". What are the roots ...
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3answers
3k views

Where did the term Kwisatz Haderach in Dune originate?

I've always been curious how names and words are created in literature. Having finished the main Dune books last year, I was thinking how the term "Kwisatz Haderach" came about. Did Herbert make it up,...
19
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2answers
622 views

Why does the Lady of Shalott stay instead of stray?

In Tennyson's poem "The Lady of Shalott" there is the following verse: There she weaves by night and day A magic web with colours gay. She has heard a whisper say, A curse is on her if she ...
16
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1answer
1k views

Symbolism of “hot gammon” in T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land

I'm reading T. S. Eliot's poem The Waste Land (which you can read for free online) and one particular line stuck out at me: Well, that Sunday Albert was home, they had a hot gammon, And they ...
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2answers
11k views

Why is the UK called Airstrip One?

In 1984, London is the chief city of the province Airstrip One (which consists of the UK), which is a part of the superstate Oceania. Is there a reason why it's called Airstrip One?