Questions tagged [literature]

Questions citing excerpts from works of literature.

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One word to describe this situation: “Losing the interest or feeling in something after being exposed to it so much” [duplicate]

Was asked this after a student wanted to talk about how Mrs Birling lost sympathy for the working class after seeing them so many times. Please just one word to describe this situation. Thanks
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Homer’s characterization of Penelope [migrated]

Is Penelope in Homer's Odyssey a strong or weak character? What does her character reveal about Homer’s characterization of women in general?
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Harry Potter German translation - use of word “Eingeweide” [migrated]

I am currently reading (aloud with my kids) the German translation of the Harry Potter series and I am a bit surprised that the German word 'Eingeweide' is used so often. 'Entrails', 'guts', 'bowels' ...
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3answers
65 views

What is the meaning of 'fly' in: “I wonder how many real amber mouth-pieces there are in London? Some people think that a fly in it is a sign.”

I am quoting The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, The Yellow Face By Arthur Conan Doyle. Is it some kind of brand of amber-stemmed pipes that has a fly as a logo or what?
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Word for stating something as fact when narrator and audience knows it is untrue?

I am looking for a literary term that is similar to irony. Basically, the narrator say something in an almost sarcastic way by stating something that everyone knows is untrue. The quote I am going off ...
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18 views

Love of Home and Friends—like the ridge behind a Bunker! (Meaning)

I'm translating a fable by George Ade called "The Fable of the Visitor Who Got a Lot for Three Dollars." In the following extract, the phrenologist is telling his customer how he is based on ...
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3answers
35 views

I wanted to know what is the meaning of “checking off the points upon the palm of his left hand”?

I am quoting from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, Silver Blaze by Arthur Conan Doyle: "I lay back against the cushions, puffing at my cigar, while holmes, leaning forward, with his long thin ...
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16 views

“Don't they carry one back to all one's parties?”

In Katherine Mansfield's The Garden Party (1921), there is this question I cannot decipher semantically nor grammatically. In this scene, this high-society family is preparing a garden party. Cream ...
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1answer
45 views

half-column means terse?

In the opening paragraph to “The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Watson writes: The story has, I believe, been told more than once in the newspapers, but, like all such ...
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“by” or “through”?

Let's say I want to tell a person to imagine a 3D object and then build the object using his hands. How do I say the same in a three word tagline like a company tagline? Should I say Build by ...
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What type of English is used in the dialogue of the Lord of the Rings movies? [closed]

In the movie The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Elrond speaks to his daughter: "If Aragorn survives this war, you will still be parted. If Sauron is defeated and Aragorn made king and all ...
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40 views

Downwards upon us - is it above or below then?

Reading a story, I found the following sentence: Downwards upon us, with limbless Atlantean stridings, there swept the cloudy cohorts. I am struggling with understanding of the phrase "...
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1answer
53 views

Does “malefic rune”, possible typo from “tune” in the context?

I have been reading a story by Robert Bloch - The feast in the Abbey. I just cannot see how the "rune" can be correct in the following: As I thus mused there fell upon my ears the sounds ...
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1answer
33 views

“Measured cadence” meaning in the musical context (monks' chanting)

I would like to ask for help with proper understanding of the following paragraph (included to give some context): As I thus mused there fell upon my ears the sounds of sonorous chanting that ...
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1answer
58 views

The grammar in the English novel Forrest Gump

I am currently reading the English novel Forrest Gump and this is the first time I am reading a novel using my second language. I realized that the author is writing somehow different from the English ...
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1answer
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Can anybody tell me the meaning of “a bloody great mass of iron and we work it- praise be to God for man's endeavour-”?

It is a part of The Kitchen by Arnold Wesker. The paragraph this sentence is used in is the following: Michael. Quite right...who'd want to kill me? Young man in his teens, all the world in front of ...
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92 views

“Right tol loor rul!” Meaning - Dickens, Dombey and Son

In Dickens's book Dombey and Son, at the start of Chapter 2, Mr. Chick says the following to his wife Louisa Chick right after she made an observation of the death of her sister-in-law: Don’t you ...
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Meaning of “One day you'll lay an egg too many and it'll crack under you.”

I'm reading a play and I cannot understand the meaning of this expression. Somebody pulls a trick and laughs to himself. The other says, "One day you'll lay an egg too many and it'll crack under ...
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1answer
34 views

What is the meaning of “quixotic stance”?

quixotic stance I guess it refers to a kind of standing position. It may have something to do with chivalry and Don Quixote as well. The context it is used in, is somebody tantalizing someone else. ...
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56 views

Meaning of “I can ring your napkins out any day, with you tucked in them any day”

I'm reading Arnold Wesker's The Kitchen and cannot understand the meaning of: I can ring your napkins out any day, with you tucked in them any day. I understand that it's suggesting beating someone ...
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2answers
47 views

Could anyone explain to me the meaning of the sentence and phrase?

That year we had planned to fish for marlin off the Cuban coast for a month. The month started the tenth of April and by the tenth of May we had twenty-five marlin and the charter was over. The thing ...
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1answer
27 views

Meaning of end of political life

I am reading the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle. Now I am going through book 1 section 5 and here is the one-sentence of section 5. A consideration of the prominent types of life shows that people ...
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Could anyone explain to me the meaning of the abbreviation Nagel's?

I'm not quite sure I understand correctly the meaning of the word in bold font. There are two paragraphs that open the first chapter of "Set This House on Fire": Of the drive from Salerno to Sambuco, ...
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What is the term used to describe the behaviour of someone talking about something they want as if they already have it?

An example of this would be in Act I of An Inspector Calls, where Arthur Birling says "May we look forward to the time when Crofts and Birlings are no longer competing but working together" To me, ...
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What is the opposite of patronising?

Something to the sense of - guininely treat in a way that is apparently kind or helpful, and overly praise and make the person feel superior. Even though there is nothing much much to praise about. ...
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F. Scott Fitzgerald's “Nor Does He Spin” subheading title, what does he mean by spinning?

In his book The Beautiful and Damned one of the subheadings of Chapter 1 is "Nor Does He Spin." There is no specific reference to the title (I think) within this section. So what did Fitzgerald mean ...
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1answer
86 views

What are the differences between practical implications, insightful implications, and limitations of a research study?

A reviewer asked me in three separate questions about each of these sections. However, I do not understand the differences between practical implications, insightful implications, and limitations of a ...
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40 views

What does the author mean here by referring to this character as 'the possibility and the promise'?

So I've come across this strange phrase in a novel I've been reading. "Jim was splashing water on the girls. He was the Water God and they loved him. He was the possibility and the promise. He was ...
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92 views

Grammar question from A Christmas Carol: meaning of “quite as well that — as have”?

I am reading A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and finally reached the last few pages, but I am stuck with the following paragraph. Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and ...
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1answer
29 views

Definition of 'cut out in'

I was reading 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' for the sake of improving my English and have not found the definition of the phrasal verb in bold: ‘I don’t know much about the tariff and things of ...
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1answer
32 views

Could anyone explain me the meaning of the sentence?

I can't understand the sentence in "The Innocence of Father Brown". Could anybody explain the meaning of it? It was he who had kept up an unaccountable and close correspondence with a young lady ...
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1answer
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Hitchens' quote “the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply: why not?” [closed]

To the dumb question "Why me?" the cosmos barely bothers to return the reply: why not?” I just wanted to know your opinion on what Hitchens means by this. Does he imply everyone is equal before ...
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31 views

Is this an antithesis?

I am learning English and there are a couple of things that confuse me, like antithesis. I am reading 'The Story of an Hour' by Kate chopin and I wanted to know if this sentence was an antithesis. "...
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373 views

What is, or was the meaning of “oncommon”?

In Dickens' David Copperfield, there is an exchange between David and Mr Pegotty who arrives with his nephew Ham to visit him at school. It runs as follows: "Do you know how mama is, Mr Peggotty? I ...
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39 views

Is “I was heard” correct to write?

I've just started to translate BLOOD by Maggie Gee into my native language (Vietnamese). In the very first paragraphs of the book, I came across a difficult line, which reads Dad is dead, and I’ve ...
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Is there a pessimistic counterpart to the term “Pollyanna”?

The term "Pollyanna" came into the lexicon with the 1913 publication of Pollyanna, a novel by Eleanor H. Porter. The name has come to mean A person regarded as being foolishly or blindly optimistic....
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34 views

Is the poetic phrase “Time stumbled and fell” considered a Juxtaposition? [closed]

In the poem "People on the Bridge" written by Wislawa Szymborksa (Translated by Joanna Trzceiak) the phrase "Time stumbled and fell" is used. Is this an example of a juxtaposition used by the poet?
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126 views

Ambiguous line from Browning's My Last Duchess [closed]

A heart – how shall I say? – too soon made glad, Too easily impressed: she liked whate’er She looked on, and her looks went everywhere. Sir, ‘twas all one! My favor at her breast, The dropping of the ...
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208 views

A single word for the most important person in one's life

The concept of a "Lebensmensch" plays a dominant role in Thomas Bernhard's works. At Wikipedia one reads that »Lebensmensch [is] a predominantly Austrian term [...] which refers to the most ...
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1answer
59 views

Difference between drawn and haggard [closed]

In the novel Rage of Angels by Sidney Sheldon, we read: She watched Adam now as he sat at his desk looking drawn and haggard. Dictionaries such as Oxford and Cambridge are showing the same or ...
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1answer
90 views

Why is the verb for “pretexts … and necessity … was exposed” used in the singular in this quotation? [closed]

In the following context, a quote from The Three Musketeers, shouldn’t it be were exposed? The pretexts about the cold and the necessity for the cloak was exposed. Or is was here referring just ...
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1answer
50 views

Please help me make sense of the grammar of this line

I am reading The Divine Comedy (Longfellow Translation), and ran into a sentence: [Not very far as yet our way had gone This side the summit], when I saw a fire That overcame a hemisphere of ...
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2answers
58 views

“Goods” or “gods” in The Awakening

In Chapter 17 of The Awakening by Kate Chopin, my text said He greatly valued his possessions, chiefly because they were his, and derived genuine pleasure from contemplating a painting, a ...
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81 views

What literary or author's style is this writer channeling?

In The Washington Post, Alexandra Petri wrote a satirical opinion piece criticizing anti-abortion laws in the United States by parodically lamenting the routine death of spermatazoa. I was struck by ...
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What is it called when you begin to exhibit similar personality traits as someone close to you?

Especially someone you live with, whether that be a partner, roommate, family, etc. I feel like there’s a psychological term for this. Like how we pick up little quirks in passing, or how the ...
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2answers
133 views

Literary term for when the author purposely doesn't describe something so that the audience is left to imagine it

I read an article the other day with this term, but I can't for the life of me remember what it is. Essentially, the vaguely describes/hints at something, but the reader is never made aware of the ...
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657 views

What is the meaning of “a personal odyssey of the self”? [closed]

I was reading the book The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari which has the following sentence: He describes his time in this far-away land as a personal odyssey of the self. What does this sentence mean?
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What's the origin of the phrase “fatal dower”?

I recently ran across the phrase "Constantine's fatal dower," which sounded like a quotation, so I googled it. The specific reference to Constantine that started my quest comes from Canto XIX of ...
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2answers
81 views

What does “the apricot and black humid evening” mean? [closed]

Mes fenêtres! Hanging above blotched sunset and welling night, grinding my teeth, I would crowd all the demons of my desire against the railing of a throbbing balcony: it would be ready to take off ...
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1answer
67 views

Which word can replace “provision” in this excerpt from Pride and Prejudice?

The sentence is: "Without thinking highly either of men or of matrimony, marriage had always been her object; it was the only honourable provision for well-educated young women of small fortune, and ...

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