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I can't catch the meaning of this sentence: 'I had a black plunge of shame.'

Here is the passage from "The Magus" by John Fowles:

Someone had knocked on the door. I was staring at a wall. I was in bed, I was wearing pajamas, my clothes were folded on the chair. It was daylight, very early, the first thin sunlight on the tops of the pines outside. I looked at my watch. Just before six o'clock. I sat on the edge of the bed. I had a black plunge of shame, of humiliation; of having been naked in front of Conchis, of having been in his power; even worse, others could have seen. Lily. I saw myself lying there and all of them sitting and grinning while Conchis asked me questions and I gave naked answers. But Lily — he must also hypnotize her; this was why she could not lie.

Google doesn't help.Thanks for help.

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    A plunge is a sudden, violent, downward movement, like a fall or a dive. Assuming that you meant to write shame (not scheme), I would assume it meant that the person who wrote it suddenly felt so ashamed that it felt like a sudden dive/fall into a black, dark state of mind. But I would certainly not call it idiomatic, and my guess at the meaning is only that: a guess. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 29 '14 at 17:28
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    Where did you hear this sentence? In what context was this phrase used? – Lumberjack Aug 29 '14 at 17:28
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Thanks for the comment. Yes, I meant shame. German is my second foreign language and I often mistake 'sch' and 'sh' =) – flipback Aug 29 '14 at 17:50
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    @Lumberjack It is "The Magus" by John Fowles. The beginning of 37 chapter. "I sat on the edge of the bed. I had a black plunge of shame, of humiliation; of having been naked in front of Conchis, of having been in his power; even worse, others could have seen. Lily. I saw myself lying there and all of them sitting and grinning while Conchis asked me questions and I gave naked answers. But Lily — he must also hypnotize her; this was why she could not lie." – flipback Aug 29 '14 at 17:53
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    It's not an idiom, it's just a metaphor that the author came up with. – Barmar Aug 29 '14 at 18:35
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At first I read "I had on a black plunge" which would refer to an article of clothing... but obviously that's wrong. This is a bit of an awkward sentence, and your question is understandable, but it definitely describes how the character is feeling terrible after whatever it was that occurred with "Conchis."

Perhaps 'into* shame would have been more clear, but either way it's a "black shame" in that it is the deepest, most serious, worst type of shame, as opposed to the embarrassment of say, uttering an expletive in front of your devoutly religious mother. That wouldn't be a black plunge, it would only make you blush red in the face.

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