What is the meaning of "the crawling of the walls"?
I can practically feel the presence of disease: the crawling of the walls, the energy tension— like the nesting of a thousand insects.
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The meaning of “the crawling of the walls” is not perfectly clear in the example sentence, because there are several possible meanings.
With the reference to “nesting of a thousand insects”, perhaps the most likely meaning is “It was like many insects were crawling on the walls”.
Another likely prospect is that it means the same, or nearly so, as idiomatic “climbing the walls”. Thefreedictionary.com quotes Cambridge Idioms Dictionary to this effect:
Another possibility is that it was as if insects were crawling inside the walls, and making rustling noises. Finally, it might refer to a feverish shimmering of the appearance of the walls.