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What does "well-defined lines of ramification" mean?? please..

 

As Peyton Farquhar fell straight downward through the bridge he lost consciousness and was as one already dead. From this state he was awakened--ages later, it seemed to him--by the pain of a sharp pressure upon his throat, followed by a sense of suffocation. Keen, poignant agonies seemed to shoot from his neck downward through every fiber of his body and limbs. These pains appeared to flash along ["well-defined lines of ramification"] and to beat with an inconceivably rapid periodicity. They seemed like streams of pulsating fire heating him to an intolerable temperature. As to his head, he was conscious of nothing but a feeling of fulness--of congestion. These sensations were unaccompanied by thought. The intellectual part of his nature was already effaced; he had power only to feel, and feeling was torment. He was conscious of motion.

1)What does "well-defined lines of ramification" mean?? please..
2) What does "flash along " mean?

For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Language

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    "flash along" is the easier one. It simply means "to pulsate through."

    The "well-defined lines of ramification" part is more difficult. This is not a common phrase. In fact, I've never seen it before, so I'm assuming the author created it for imagery purposes. I'm assuming, also, that you understand "well-defined" and that the "lines of ramification" part is the confusing one.

    "Ramification" means that there's a negative consequence to something. So, this could mean something as simple as the idea that he was very clearly feeling the consequences of the fall. However, because the author is so metaphorical, I am left wondering if he intended to mean something deeper. If he did, I can't figure out what that might be.

    In my humble opinion, this phrase is confusing and a bit too obscure. As I read it, I stumbled on that wondering what it meant, and I thought it took away from the beauty of the rest of the well-written piece.

    But perhaps someone else will have a better explanation of than I do.

     

    1. "Well defined lines of ramification" means that where the pain is located is very clear - not a dull ache over an area, where you couldn't exactly located, but in very obvious lines. "Ramification" means that the possible damage that the pain would indicate was clear - a deep, sharp pain in your chest would mean a heart attack, while a sharp pain in your knee would mean a sever injury and trouble walking.
    2. "Flash along" - it would pulsate, becoming suddenly very intense, then go away, then 'flash' again.

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