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What does grim mean in this paragraph? I’m reading a book called “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville. The first paragraph of the book is: Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet… I want to know what's the meaning of the word "grim" in this paragraph. Someone told me it indicates that he is sullen and doesn't want to talk to anyone. But I'm wondering whether it means that he inclines to say harsh words to other people.
Aug 26, 2018 7:29 AM
Answers · 7
Grim means negative and unhappy. In this statement he says he is grim about the mouth, so he is not smiling, not happy and has a negative outlook about his life.
August 26, 2018
No, there is nothing to suggest that this has anything to do with talking to other people. This opening paragraph of the novel is about the writer's state of mind. He is describing phases in his life where he becomes gloomy and depressed. Note the word 'spleen' in the previous sentence - this is an archaic term for what we would now call depression.
August 26, 2018
Yes you are correct! It not a frequent use of the term. May suggest he is not going to say nice things
August 26, 2018
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language