Wu Ting
How would you interpret the adjective ‘brown’ in the context? How would you interpret the adjective ‘brown’ in the phrase ‘brown-faced’ in the last sentence? Why did the man’s face look brown? Was it because he was tired? In the following passages, the man was said to be very tired? Or was it because it was at night and the dark made his face look brown? Or was it because he was out too often and the sun tanned his face brown? He was a padre in the front. Or was it because he was from a mountain area in the middle of Italy? Or was it because he was born brown-faced? I think it’s impossible, because he was a white man. What do you think? Thanks. It’s from A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (Chapter 11).the context: It was dusk when the priest came. They had brought the soup and afterward taken away the bowls and I was lying looking at the rows of beds and out the window at the tree-top that moved a little in the evening breeze. The breeze came in through the window and it was cooler with the evening. The flies were on the ceiling now and on the electric light bulbs that hung on wires. The lights were only turned on when some one was brought in at night or when something was being done. It made me feel very young to have the dark come after the dusk and then remain. It was like being put to bed after early supper. The orderly came down between the beds and stopped. Some one was with him. It was the priest. He stood there small, brown-faced, and embarrassed.
May 18, 2016 3:10 AM
Answers · 7
It's simply a descriptor. Isn't it explained elsewhere in the tome? It's been years since I read this so I don't remember.
May 18, 2016
This is a very interesting question. I do not know that answer but I might be able to help. The author is describing a priest. Three things are used to describe him: small, brown-faced, and embarrassed. The words 'brown-faced' were used within the context of a demeaning description. The priest is small, not large. Perhaps the author thinks very little of the priest. The priest is embarrassed, not confident. Perhaps the priest has recently don't something bad. It is likely that 'brown-faced' has a similar meaning and is intended to give the reader a negative view of the priest. Perhaps the word brown refers to darkly tanned skin. This might mean that the priest spends all of his time outdoors because his is poor and does not have the luxury of spending time indoors.
May 18, 2016
I agree in that I think it is a descriptor as well. It also has some higher literary meaning (knowing Hemingway), probably to highlight the priest's travels and wariness. Generally "brown" is thought of as a weathered, natural color, so it could be used to symbolize his age/wisdom. I don't know the book well, but I would treat that specific phrase as just a description.
May 18, 2016
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