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Questions citing excerpts from works of literature.

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Who is stabbed here?

I'm not sure who is stabbed and who is snarling here. " Ralf launched himself like a cat; stabbed, snarling, with the spear, and the savage doubled up." Thanks in advance
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19 views

Is the famous party slogan from Orwell's 1984, “War is Peace / Freedom is Slavery / Ignorance is Strength” an example of oxymoron or paradox? Or both? [duplicate]

Struggling with this one somewhat, as there is a lot of nuances and crossovers when dealing with oxymorons and paradoxes. I feel like both could be applied here but would love to hear some thoughts.
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2answers
48 views

What does it mean? 'pulling it low over her face' [closed]

"She walked out the kitchen into the living room and picked up one of Michael’s baseball caps that he’d left on the sofa, before pulling it low over her face." Can you give a description of an action ...
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1answer
37 views

What is the meaning of this sentence :“she drew up the blind in impatient jerks.”

What does this sentence mean? "When she had finished her hasty dressing she drew up the blind in impatient jerks". And what does "gulf" mean here? : "Between the long gulf of dark houses" thanks ...
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2answers
44 views

Trouble understanding a passage from the Scarlet Letter

Pg 1 of “the Custom House” “... fittingly be addressed only and exclusively to the one heart and mind of perfect sympathy; as if the printed book, thrown at large on the wide world, were certain to ...
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1answer
22 views

Infinite in literature.

"To be alone with her. She ashed her cigarettes and put them out in an empty Coke she had been drinking, and when I bit into the sandwich, she said:" "To be alone with her" - Does it just describe a ...
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1answer
55 views

Meaning of “it pools in a little heart around the meat”

"When Pop plates it, the liver smells, but the gravy he made to slather on it pools in a little heart around the meat, and I wonder if Pop did that on purpose." "it pools in a little heart around the ...
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29 views

Meaning of “In an ill hour”

To all these words which Don Quixote said, a certain Biscaine squire, that accompanied the coach, gave ear; who, seeing that Don Quixote suffered not the coach to pass onward, but said that it must ...
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1answer
28 views

What is an “indirect dialogue/discourse”?

I came upon this paragraph during my practice for a literature test. "...Lin stood in the yard facing the front wall while flipping over a dozen mildewed books he had left to be sunned on a stack of ...
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1answer
63 views

How should I understand these lines from As You Like It?

I am currently on my second reading of As You Like It. I am having a really hard time comprehending lines 22-25 in Act 1, scene 2. Here are those lines as they appear in the version I am reading (The ...
2
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1answer
47 views

Is it possible to use present and past in one sentence?

In On The Road Jack admits to Justin W. Brierly that he loves Neal Cassady because he reminds him of his brother, Gerard, who dies when Jack was five years old. Is this grammatical? The first part of ...
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1answer
37 views

What does this quote from “The adventures of Sherlock Holmes” mean? [closed]

A man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it. ...
2
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1answer
34 views

What does “through their youthful games an entire index of their future lives may be obtained.” mean in the context?

But animal children grow up and stop playing to a certain extent as age advances, precisely as human children do. Each settles down into a more practical condition of life. They dislike to have thier ...
3
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2answers
79 views

Meaning of “Stir fecund”

I came across this phrase in literature, and I am not sure what it exactly means? Any help would be appreciated. Examples: D. H. Lawrence: That in the dark of the night ahead other days stir ...
3
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1answer
72 views

Be we all here?

The passage below is taken from Life's Little Ironies by Thomas Hardy. My question concerns "Now be we all here?". I understand that it means "Now are we all here?". The writer might have left the ...
3
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0answers
67 views

Why is the math in Winnie the Pooh's so poor? Is it deliberate? [closed]

Earlier, I was reading Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne and lit upon this passage: Piglet is so small that he slips into a pocket, where it is very comforting to feel him when you are not quite ...
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0answers
149 views

What is the exact meaning of this excerpt from Chapter 52 of “Pride and Prejudice ” by Jane Austen?

While elaborating on the arrangement between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham in her letter to her niece Elizabeth Bennet, Mrs. Gardiner mentions the following: ...His debts are to be paid, amounting, I ...
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1answer
33 views

What is a “stick-on dashboard bubble”?

In Stephen King's Salem's Lot, I read ...Parkin's Ford with a stick-on dashboard bubble... What is a stick-on dashboard bubble? Googling didn't yield any meaningful results (anything you could ...
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3answers
550 views

The meaning and usage of ‘stiffs’ in “Of Mice and Men”

I would really appreciate it if someone could confirm whether I have interpreted correctly the meaning of “stiffs” in the following excerpt “I had enough,” he said angrily. “You ain't wanted here. ...
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2answers
88 views

Does “His eyes fell shut” make sense? [closed]

This is something I've been writing for a while, but I know that I tend to keep writing things from my tween years that may not make sense. Have you ever read a sentence like "his eyes fell shut" or ...
10
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2answers
1k views

Meaning of “native bottoms” in Thoreau's Walden

I'm not sure what native bottoms means in this paragraph from Thoreau's Walden. Is it a nautical term? Would someone kindly shed some light on this? Search results on the matter are... ahem... ...
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2answers
354 views

The term “handy” in “Of Mice and Men”

[Candy] "That's the boss's son," he said quietly. "Curley's pretty handy. He done quite a bit in the ring. He's a lightweight, and he's handy." "Well, let him be handy," said George. "He don't ...
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3answers
53 views

What does it mean “Leaping into saddle as she ran”?

I am reading Andrzej Sapkowski's "The time of contempt". I found the paragraph which I didn't get, here it is: "She had to be faster than them. She ran to the black horse, who was stamping its hooves ...
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1answer
66 views

Is it correct to say “there be…”?

I'm currently reading the Lord of the Rings book, and one sentence says: "... Where there be mountains of gold, they say". Now I'm not English mothertongue, but I've found the same expression ...
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2answers
549 views

What does “I would not put a thief in my mouth to steal my brains” mean?

I just want to ask you a question that I stated above at my title section... What does 'I would not put a thief in my mouth to steal my brains' mean? It's a quote from a book called True Grit, a ...
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2answers
246 views

What does a “toothless walnut” mean?

I'm looking for the meaning of this sentence taken from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: A little man in a top hat was talking to the old bartender, who was quite bald and looked like a ...
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1answer
48 views

Using 'a' with an uncountable entity

The sentence goes like this: Sometimes, it is just a friction that can ignite an entire forest. My editor asked me to remove 'a' because friction is uncountable noun. However, I am trying to portray ...
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3answers
110 views

Commas Usage and Restrictive Clauses

So, I'm having trouble working out whether or not the title of a literary work should be surrounded by commas. This is because most grammar guides, including the Chicago Manual of Style, which I use, ...
2
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1answer
59 views

Meaning of “paenistic”

I came across this word in David Foster Wallace's short story "Another Pioneer": the child's response appearing to become more and more digressive and paenistic as the conventionally pious villager ...
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2answers
126 views

Is there an official term for long, unpunctuated sentences?

after reading a recent thread on this topic (see here: What would you call the stylistic omission of punctuation?) I found that answers such as 'stream of consciousness' and 'run-on sentences' simply ...
2
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3answers
319 views

Can someone explain the grammar in “…his breath was stopped.”? [closed]

Why does Steinbeck, when describing an old man's death, say "his breath was stopped" rather than "his breath had stopped"? The context and full sentence below: Grampa seemed to be struggling; all ...
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3answers
536 views

Is “couldn't have had a more encouraging XYZ than…” ambiguous?

Have a look at the following sentence – He couldn't have had a more encouraging opening in films than our grown-up make-up boy had. On the contrary he must have had to face more uncertain and ...
4
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2answers
781 views

What does “showing as much interest as a bee shows in vinegar cruet” mean?

There is a line in the short story, A Thousand Dollars, where one of the characters is described in the statement above. My first thought was that it meant that the character was showing no interest (...
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1answer
84 views

Should I read stage directions when reading from a play? [closed]

I will be doing an oral presentation on a play next week. I am not sure if I should read the adjectives in this sentence, because it is followed by a quotation mark.      &...
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1answer
31 views

Meaning of “artfully indeterminate” in this excerpt from The Lies of Locke Lamora?

I recently started reading The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch and was confronted with "artfully indeterminate" in the following context: [ What say you? Are you the helpful sort? Are you willing ...
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1answer
155 views

What does “sink and copper” mean in British parlance circa 1937?

Near the start of Chapter IV of "The Road to Wigan Pier" (1937), Orwell in describing the typical living conditions for coal miners states (my emphasis): All have an almost exactly similar living-...
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1answer
775 views

What does “making a league” mean?

I think this is an idiom/expression referring to happiness or relief, but it might also be a sailing term used by sailors. It's from Christopher Columbus’s journal (1492), as he writes about ...
3
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1answer
97 views

Meaning of “fly” as an adjective?

In Jean Rhys's short story "The Lotus" (published in the collection Tigers Are Better-Looking in 1968), I found the following piece of dialogue (emphasis added): 'Sarcastic, isn't she? A dainty ...
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1answer
271 views

Alternative meaning of “all in all”

The common meaning of the phrase "all in all" has been covered on this site already, but what does it mean in the following usages? The days when my mother and I and Peggotty were all in all to one ...
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0answers
49 views

Is “fare you well” still used in Norfolk?

Jean Rhys's story "Till September Petronella" contains the following passage: 'Fare you well,' he said. 'That's what they say in Norfolk, where I come from.' 'Good-bye.' 'No, say fare you ...
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1answer
118 views

What's the meaning of “spit” in “my own spit and faith”?

What's the meaning of "spit" in the following statement? I believe in a good laugh, a day's fishing, a bit of gardening. I was very proud of my old greenhouse, made out of my own spit and faith. ...
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0answers
34 views

What does “spam-in-a-can crush” mean? [duplicate]

I am reading Charles Krauthammer's "Things that matter" and bumped into a sentence read as: The airport, where that inspired flight attendant did what everyone who’s ever been in the spam-in-a-can ...
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1answer
1k views

What does spite mean in “spite of despondence” in the poem Endymion by John Keats?

The poem Endymion by John Keats reads: A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness; but still will keep A bower quiet for us, and a ...
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1answer
78 views

“be any good” meaning + articles omission in case of 3 nouns conected with “and”

I have some questions regarding this fragment of Philip Roth's American Pastoral: "The Swede started as end in football, center in basketball, and first baseman in baseball. Only the basketball team ...
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1answer
1k views

“Obscene yourself” (literally) in Hemingway's “For Whom The Bell Tolls”

I am reading Hemingway's "For Whom The Bell Tolls" (an edition from 1960). Throughout the book, strong words and obscenities are replaced literally by the term "obscenity" or similar. For example (...
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2answers
199 views

What are dress-boxes in a theatre?

Here is a sentence from Dickens: On somebody’s motion, we resolved to go downstairs to the dress-boxes, where the ladies were. This is a scene in a theatre, when drunk Copperfield with friends ...
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1answer
229 views

Is “as (adjective) as (adjective)” acceptable usage?

For idiosyncratic reasons of euphony and metre, I want to write (something like) "She wore round her neck many gems, as beautiful as rare." I feel in my bones that this formulation, "... as (...
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3answers
509 views

What word would be the opposite to “plagiarism”

Assume that I'm citing a piece of poetry and I claim that it's from Shakespeare, when in fact it's my own. Is there a term for that? I'm interested in this exact meaning of a word "opposite" to ...
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1answer
217 views

The meaning of “Not but what it might have been for something else; but it warn't.”?

What exactly does this line by Dickens mean? "'Yes, master, and I've never been in it much.' (I had come out of Kingston Jail last on a vagrancy committal. Not but what it might have been for ...
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2answers
8k views

Is the phrase “yellow card” slang for a female body part?

In Hemmingway's The Sun Also Rises, Braddocks says of Georgette that: "She was rather splendid, you know. Showed her yellow card and demanded the patronne's daughter's too." But they weren't ...