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How would you explain the last sentence?


He closed his eyes. There could be no going back from this morning. She had lied once too often, about something too serious. But he went over it all again, like a sum he had long since solved, afraid he had made some elementary mistake. Painstakingly he added together the constantly shifting dates, the refusal to check with chemist or doctor, the fury with which she had countered any request for clarification, and then the sudden announcement that it was over, with never a shred of proof that it had been real. Along with every other suspicious circumstance, there was his hard-won knowledge of her mythomania, her need to provoke, to taunt, to test.

How would you explain the last sentence: her need to provoke, to taunt, to test?

For learning: English
Base language: English
Category: Language



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    Best Answer - Chosen by the Asker
    Hmm...So it's describing the character (whoever "she" is)...It says that he knows of her tendency to tell lies, and of her need to:

    provoke: to stimulate or give rise to (a reaction or emotion, typically a strong or unwelcome one) in someone. (So it's to get a reaction from someone, typically a bad one.)

    taunt: to provoke or challenge someone with insulting remarks. (So it's to say something mean to someone in order to get a reaction)

    and test: to reveal the strengths or capabilities of (someone or something) by putting them under strain. (I felt that this was the best definition for "test" in this case)

    Basically, it's describing her "mythomania"; that her tendency to exaggerate and to tell lies is also a need to provoke, taunt, and test people.

    I hope this made sense and was what you were looking for!

    He is using multiple actions the explain the knowledge that was hard won. They are all synonyms in a way, with slight variations. The reader is intended to modify slightly their understanding of what she was engaged in with each additional action.

    The meaning of the actions:
    Mythomania - a compulsion to lie
    To provoke - to perform an action with the intention of getting a reaction from the person provoked
    to taunt - to engage in activity that angers another, to make them feel belittled
    to test - (in this context) to test a persons ability to stay calm by engaging in activity designed to anger them

    put together, it suggests that her compulsion to lie resulted in the following behaviours.

    The comments above explain well the words. I see the last sentence as a list of things that she does. I see no causal relationship between mythomania & the others. That is, I don't see that it tells us that one causes the others.
    It does say that there were suspicious things, that he had learned of the things she did, but that this knowledge had been "hard won", that is it had cost him something to learn.

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