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What is the meaning of: "His face was drawn but the curtains were real."?


Can anybody explain the meaning of this ? "His face was drawn but the curtains were real."
I read it in an english book ( the curious incident) but i can not find an good explaination....

Thank you

For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Culture


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    Hello Blume. How are you?

    Here is the meaning. Curtains are being used as a symbolic reference to the man's facial expression, which mask his true feelings. The man's face therefore, has been drawn, just as curtains are "drawn" when they are close, allowing no light in. So with the man's face, he allows no light either. His feelings, thoughts, intentions and so forth are close over by the "drawn curtains" or "closed curtains" of his face.

    To say the face was "drawn" is to say that it was closed, and unreadable. To say that the curtains were "real" is to say that no knowledge at all could be obtained about the man; because those curtains, which were the man's face, really were closed.

    I know this very well. My face used to be an expressionless mask. People would ask if I was excited about one thing or the other, and I would say, "Oh Yes! Really!". Then they would say;
    "Well I could not tell it from looking at your face!".

    That is when I began to realize that my face was in reality, a curtain, from which no person could ascertain any feeling at all.

    I changed that over time however. The mind can draw real "curtains" over a face, and no one can see beyond those "curtains". Such is the power of the human mind to create its own Prison.
    ---Warm Regards, Bruce


    One way of looking at it is that someone actually had a pencil, chalk, pen or other instrument to make a representation of this man's face. Hence, his face was drawn, past of the verb to draw. So you are looking at a picture of a person who was created by another hand. The curtains on the other hand were not created by pencil or pen but were actually in the picture as they would be if you were to walk into the room. So, the curtains were hanging over a window but the image of the face was on a surface like paper or canvas.


    It's a word-play based on the word "drawn". It can mean either a picture created with a pencil or pen, or it can mean something which is pulled.

    When we say someone has a drawn face (in the sense of pulled), it means the person has a strained expression, either from stress, tiredness or pain. We also draw (pull) curtains to close them. These are both common expressions.

    The writer uses both meanings in the sentence: his face was drawn (strained; or a picture made with a pencil), but the curtains were real (ie. not drawn shut; and not an illustration, unlike the man's face).

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