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Questions tagged [literature]

Questions citing excerpts from works of literature.

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As for you, Frodo, in so far as lies in me

It's from The Lord of the Rings: ‘Then I will declare my doom,’ said Faramir. ‘As for you, Frodo, in so far as lies in me under higher authority, I declare you free in the realm of Gondor to ...
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Can't make sense of a paragraph from Lovecraft

I decided to start reading some work of Lovecraft.  Reading The Beast in the Cave, I got stuck at the first paragraph I encountered: The horrible conclusion which had been gradually obtruding ...
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3answers
2k views

What does “rhumatis” mean?

I know that Uncle Tom's Cabin is full of neologisms, and I try my best to grit my teeth and infer as best I can without racing down every such rabbit hole that presents itself, but with rhumatis, for ...
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30 views

Meter and rhythm in Poetry [closed]

Why is poetry called a 'literature in metrical form' or 'a composition forming rhythmic lines'?
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6k views

What does “FRANCE TO PLACE” mean?

From Pat Hobby, Putative Father by F. Scott Fitzgerald: He searched the orange pages frantically. Below the form sheets, the past performances, the endless oracles for endless racetracks, his eye ...
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his Ixion embrace

In the British science fiction novel by H. G. Wells, "The food of the Gods", I read: "No doubt he was among the first to discover them. They were scattered at intervals up and down the path between ...
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5answers
148 views

Jane Austen “Persuasion” Syntax Analysis

This is from Chapter four of "Persuasion" by Jane Austen: She was persuaded that under every disadvantage of disapprobation at home, and every anxiety attending his profession, all their probable ...
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2answers
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The meaning of Robinson Crusoe’s “and without with turf”

Towards night, I fixed upon a proper place, under a rock, and marked out a semicircle for my encampment ; which I resolved to strengthen with a work, wall, or fortification, made of double piles, ...
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The Last of The Mohicans, literary device question. “Thievish race.” [closed]

I am reading the book, The Last of The Mohicans, and I was wondering what literary device was being used, when Hawkeye is given the quote "A Huron!” repeated the sturdy scout, once more shaking his ...
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1answer
60 views

Can the word “backhanded” be easily misunderstood by a young kid?

In a recent question at Spanish Language it has been asked about the translation of "backhanded" into Spanish as "treacherous". I answered that that is an adaptation more than a translation because of ...
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Meaning of “He every instant fancies …”

"Besides the good things which he possesses, he every instant fancies a thousand others which death will prevent him from trying if he does not try them soon." In this sentence, I didn't grasp the ...
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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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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
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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
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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
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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
80 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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1answer
109 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
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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
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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 ...
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1answer
53 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
53 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. ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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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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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
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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
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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
202 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 ...
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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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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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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
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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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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
378 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
53 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
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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, ...
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1answer
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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
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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 ...
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3answers
405 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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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 ...
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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
160 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
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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
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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
805 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 ...
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1answer
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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
317 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 ...