When Rayber had first opened the door in the middle of the night and had seen Tarwater's face - white, drawn by some unfathomable hunger and pride - he had remained for an instant frozen before what might have been a mirror thrust toward him in a nightmare. The face before him was his own, but the eyes were not his own. They were the student's eyes, singed with guilt.

Flannery O'Connor, The Violent Bear It Away

What does the adjective "drawn" mean here?

  1. In his daily life, the sleeping boy is being pulled towards something (salvation, realization...) by hunger and pride


  1. The lines of his face were set down by hunger and pride

or even

  1. The boy's aspect is tired/exhausted/tense/strained?

Thank you!

  • drawn (adjective \ˈdrȯn, ˈdrän): looking very thin and tired especially from worry, pain, or illness m-w.com/drawn
    – Hellion
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 21:44

1 Answer 1


Drawn means "haggard, as from fatigue or ill health". That is the exact definition applied here.

O'Connor is describing Tarwater's face as being made haggard by hunger and pride. Those characteristics suggest to me that Tarwater's face is also gaunt (from hunger), but still fierce (from pride).

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