Rawa
Could you explain this Hi everyone, here's a passage of a horror story: "Of Robert Harding and the rest of his family nothing is known. The house retains its evil reputation, but the replanted vine is as orderly and well-behaved a vegetable as a nervous person could wish to sit under of a pleasant night, when the katydids grate out their immemorial revelation and the distant whippoorwill signifies his notion of what ought to be done about it." Could you explain what this means: "when the katydids grate out their immemorial revelation and the distant whippoorwill signifies his notion of what ought to be done about it." And how it's related to the story? And to whom "his" refers? Thank you.
Oct 17, 2019 10:44 AM
Answers · 6
That sentence is an example of anthropomorphism, assigning human like qualities to animals. So the his refers to the whippoorwill. I’m no literature expert, but from that quote I don’t think we can tell if it relates to the story much. To me it is just some descriptive and literary language to add interest and describe the sounds of a pleasant night. And yes Simon, I think it’s something like that how they make the sound. The Wikipedia article on katydids just says they have a sound producing organ on their wings.
October 17, 2019
I understand that a katydid is an insect like a cricket so I guess the author is referring to the sound the insect makes by grating its legs together ( is that what crickets do?) The whippoorwill is a bird that sings at night. So I suppose it is all colourful imagery evoking the normal sate of affairs after something bad happened earlier in the story.
October 17, 2019
Simon and Tim have answered your question, but I think it's worth adding that this is very 'flowery' language. That is to say, it's wording things in an artistic way to convey a feeling and show off writing as an art form, rather than just writing things how people generally talk, or in a manner that's easy to understand. The part you've asked for the meaning of essentially just says "the insects were chirping as usual, and a bird was also making some noise."
October 17, 2019
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Rawa
Language Skills
Arabic, English
Learning Language
English