- For Teachers
And whether it is a farmer arriving from Italy to set up a small grocery store in a slum, or a young girl arriving from a small town in Mississippi to escape the indignity of being observed by her neighbors, or a boy arriving from the Corn Belt with a manuscript in his suitcase and a pain in his heart, it makes no difference; each embraces New York with the intense excitement of first love, each absorbs New York with the fresh eyes of an adventurer, each generates heat and light to dwarf the Consolidated Edison Company.
In the above paragraph, the phrase "a pain in his heart" seems vague in meaning. Why can't we say there is a pain in the heart because he was rejected by a girl in his local town, or because he was rejected by a publisher who rejected his manuscript so he came to NY to create his own new life? In all the above, pain just means pain in its usual sense, as you have a pain when a friend died.
But in this case, a highly educated native speaker of English interpreted this phrase differently. She thinks "pain" here means "anxiety", which is perfectly suitable in the context. He has anxiety because he is going to have a new life, a life that is unknown, naturally you are anxious in such a situation. What's your take? Thanks in advance.