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Wu Ting
How would you interpret the phrase ‘its shadows’? How would you interpret the phrase ‘its shadows’ in the sentence ‘Again the candle-light made its shadows on the wall’? What does this phrase refer to? Does it refer to the hand’s shadow? If so, I think the author should have used ‘shadow’ instead of ‘shadows’, right? Or does it refer to the shadows which the candle-light made by casting light on varied things? Does it refer to the shadows of the five fingers? Thanks. It’s from A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway.the context: "He should have fine girls. I will give you the addresses of places in Naples. Beautiful young girls—accompanied by their mothers. Ha! Ha! Ha!" The captain spread his hand open, the thumb up and fingers outspread as when you make shadow pictures. There was a shadow from his hand on the wall. He spoke again in pidgin Italian. "You go away like this," he pointed to the thumb, "and come back like this," he touched the little finger. Every one laughed. "Look," said the captain. He spread the hand again. Again the candle-light made its shadows on the wall. He started with the upright thumb and named in their order the thumb and four fingers, "soto-tenente (the thumb), tenente (first finger), capitano (next finger), maggiore (next to the little finger), and tenentecolonello (the little finger). You go away soto-tenente! You come back soto-colonello!" They all laughed. The captain was having a great success with finger games.
Jan 1, 2016 12:45 PM
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Answers · 2
Usually, the phrase would mean the moving shadows from the candle's flickering, but in this case, I believe it refers to the shadows of the hand or fingers.
January 1, 2016
My interpretation of Hemingway's text in the aforementioned scenario involves the use of "its shadows" (its: possessive pronoun for "the candle-light" that "made 'its' shadows on the wall." I think that it refers to the shadows which the candle-light made by casting light on varied things. Then the character (the captain) uses the magic of the candle light to do his hand gestures on the wall.
January 1, 2016
Wu Ting
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, French
Learning Language
English