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what does "shiny and poor"and ""flamed out at you" here mean? I first happened upon them walking down Market Street together, and I don't think I've ever been so sorry for a couple in my life; though I suppose the same situation was repeating itself in every city where there had been camps. Exteriorly Earl had about everything wrong with him that could be imagined. His hat was green, with a radical feather; his suit was slashed and braided in a grotesque fashion that national advertising and the movies have put an end to. Evidently he had been to his old barber, for his hair bloused neatly on his pink, shaved neck. It wasn't as though he had been shiny and poor, but the background of mill-town dance halls and outing clubs flamed out at you--or rather flamed out at Ailie. For she had never quite imagined the reality; in these clothes even the natural grace of that magnificent body had departed.
Oct 7, 2018 3:56 PM
Answers · 5
The language here is literary/poetic, not standard English, not Manchester slang; you have to be creative in reading it. I think 'shiny' might refer to the shiny seat of an old, worn-out pair of trousers. Flaming out might simply refer to how a flame can burst up and out dramatically. I might be 'wrong', you must decide for yourself.
October 7, 2018
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, French
Learning Language
English, French