豆豆糖2
How would you interpret ‘bright light’ here? Roosevelt is dead. The end came out of a clear sky. Pen in his hand one moment, then dropped to the floor as his secretary watched—it must have been like seeing Lev’s bright light go out. Truly, this is like the death of Lenin: a personality fused with the national purpose, struck down by a cerebral stroke, leaving his nation’s purpose standing in its shirtsleeves, wondering what under heaven to do. How would you interpret ‘bright light’ in the sentence: it must have been like seeing Lev’s bright light go out? Does it mean one’s spirit? By the way, how would you interpret ‘in its shirtsleeves’ in the last sentence? Can I interpret it literally? Thanks! And it’s taken from The Lacuna by Kingsolver.PS: Lev was killed by a assassinator who knocked at Lev's head with a pickaxe.
Dec 5, 2014 12:10 PM
Answers · 17
It is difficult to be sure based on this short passage, but Lev's bright light seems on mean the person/thing/idea that he looked to for guidance. If is said "Roosevelt's light", I think yes, it would mean his life or spirit left his body. I believe the "shirtsleeves" comment suggests a person or a nation, in this case, that has "taken off their coat" and went to work or prepared to work. You sometimes also hear the phrase "roll up your sleeves", which suggests the same; that is, getting ready for hard work.
December 5, 2014
Gordon, you have three sudden and premature deaths here: Roosevelt, Leon Trotsky and Lenin - three men who left their mark in history, struck down by an assassin or a stroke (which is also an assassin). When they died, a bright light, for good or evil, went out in the world. "Pen in hand" and "in his shirtsleeves"are images of work. Their sudden death truncated their great work while they were still at it. "In one's shirtsleeves" is an idiom which means "wearing a shirt with nothing over it". In the generation that the novel is set, men normally wear a jacket over their shirt - Lenin was nearly always photographed in a three-piece suit, even when he was addressing a crowd in the streets. "In his shirtsleeves" is an image of Lenin working without his jacket on. As to why the passage says "the nation's purpose in its shirtsleeves", please see my explanation above. Gordon, you are reading a novel with rich historical detail, written with great literary skill. It encourages you to get to know 20th century history of the world, too. This is particularly interesting for someone in your situation, where the study of history is a politically sensitive and controversial matter.
December 6, 2014
Gordon, we need to know how Lev died before we can give you an accurate interpretation of "bright light".
December 5, 2014
How did Lev die?
December 5, 2014
Creative, but wrong!
December 5, 2014
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豆豆糖2
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language
English