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I'm reading a book and I couldn't understand this sentence at all:

She’s dead, Lou. She never came out of the ether.

Is this excerpt confirming the death of a character? Or are you saying the character is just unconscious? And what does the phrase with 'ether' mean? Did the character die or not?

The book is The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson.

The book's protagonist and narrator attempted to assassinate a character, but it is soon said that the victim is still alive. She is taken to the hospital, and another character announces that she has died. At the end of the story, the character who had died returns, still alive. I don't know if the ending is a hallucination or if the victim was actually alive.

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  • How do you expect anyone to answer that if you don't tell us what book and what the context is? Commented Jun 5 at 17:33
  • The book is The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson. The book's protagonist and narrator attempted to assassinate a character, but it is soon said that the victim is still alive. She is taken to the hospital, and another character announces that she has died. At the end of the story, the character who had died returns, still alive. I don't know if the ending is a hallucination or if the victim was actually alive. Commented Jun 5 at 17:42
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    OK, thanks. Honestly, this sounds like literary interpretation rather than an English language question. I suggest you try literature.stackexchange.com/questions Commented Jun 5 at 17:49
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    "She never came out of the ether" doesn't seem like a metaphor. It seems like a simple statement of medical fact: she was under ether, and never woke up. I assume you know what ether is and what it's used for.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jun 5 at 19:16
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    I’m voting to close this question because interpreting and resolving the plot of works of literature is off topic here. Commented Jun 5 at 22:08

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"She never came out of the ether" is an old-fashioned way of saying "She was under anesthesia and her heart did not start beating on its own again when they turned the gas off and put her back on oxygen, and she did not start breathing. She died." That would be the literal meaning. If it is used metaphorically (which I doubt), interpreting it would be off-topic here.

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  • Is this a confirmation that the character is dead? Commented Jun 5 at 19:17
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    A character in the story is saying she is dead. It is up to you to decide whether the character is believable, lying, mistaken, whatever.
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 5 at 20:00

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