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I came across the following sentence in a book. I wonder how should I interpret "noon hour":

"And how shall you rise beyond your days and nights unless you break the chains which you at the dawn of your understanding have fastened around your noon hour?"

(The first part of the sentence is closely related to the sentence before.)

Those who are interested can see the whole text at 'On Freedom'.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

This is very poetic language, and I think it helps to give this verse the context of the two preceding it:

You shall be free indeed when your days are not without a care nor your nights without a want and a grief,

But rather when these things girdle your life and yet you rise above them naked and unbound.

And how shall you rise beyond your days and nights unless you break the chains which you at the dawn of your understanding have fastened around your noon hour?

In this context, the writer is referring to people's ability to rise beyond their cares and wants, day and night.

Because the writer then goes on to talk about this as rising 'beyond your days and nights', I think the writer is using 'noon hour' as a metaphor for 'waist', or something central. So the 'noon hour' is describing the notion of the 'central psyche' of the people to whom the writer is referring, around which they have fastened 'chains' which need to be broken.

The suggestion that the references to 'noon hour' and 'chains' are metaphorical rather than literal is strongly reenforced in the following verse, which states that 'freedom is the strongest of these chains'.

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Thank you very much for your interesting interpretation. This makes sense when we consider the whole of the prose. It's like limiting one's own vision from the very beginning of a journey. (Sorry that I cannot vote up, since I don't have enough reputation.) –  canpolat Jun 19 '11 at 13:39

"Noon hour" must be a metaphor; I think the author means your adult life, which is affected by the restrictions you learned or invented when you were educated in adolescence ("the dawn of your understanding.")

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Noon hour is simply a noon. Whenever I came to see the word in any context, it basically meant the middle of the day (12:00).

Time of day when the sun is in its zenith; twelve o'clock in the day, midday.

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I would disagree with "plain noon" in this context. As @Jez explains, it seems to have a metaphorical meaning here (like in "brightest time of the day"). –  canpolat Jun 19 '11 at 13:42

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