Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    154
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default her heart contracted

    The English language seems to have an unlimited number of expressions where the heart is used as a way to symbolize feelings in one way or another. To a non native English speaker this can sometimes be a bit confusing. For example in the following excerpt:

    As he ran to fish it out the girl on lawyer Royall's doorstep noticed
    that he was a stranger, that he wore city clothes, and that he was
    laughing with all his teeth, as the young and careless laugh at such
    mishaps.
    Her heart contracted a little, and the shrinking that sometimes came
    over her when she saw people with holiday faces made her draw back into
    the house and pretend to look for the key that she knew she had already
    put into her pocket.

    What exakt emotion har we talking about here? Surely not fear?


    And what about a lightness of heart?

    In the street she stood still, dazed by this last adventure. But the
    brooch lay in her bosom like a talisman, and she felt a secret lightness
    of heart. It gave her strength, after a moment, to walk on slowly in the
    direction of the post office, and go in through the swinging doors.


    Or a softness of heart?

    ... and she felt a softness at her heart which no act of his had
    ever produced since he had brought her the Crimson Rambler because she
    had given up boarding-school to stay with him.

  2. #2
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    19,448
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: her heart contracted

    As he ran to fish it out the girl on lawyer Royall's doorstep noticed
    that he was a stranger, that he wore city clothes, and that he was
    laughing with all his teeth, as the young and careless laugh at such
    mishaps.
    Her heart contracted a little, and the shrinking that sometimes came
    over her when she saw people with holiday faces made her draw back into
    the house and pretend to look for the key that she knew she had already
    put into her pocket.

    What exact emotion are we talking about here? Surely not fear? Either that she was emotionally excited at the sight of "him", or that she was to some degree frightened by him - the context is not enough to be sure. Whichever it is, adrenalin pumping into the system produces this sense of the heart contracting.

    When a person falls in love with someone, the sight of that person produces this sensation.


    And what about a lightness of heart?

    In the street she stood still, dazed by this last adventure. But the
    brooch lay in her bosom like a talisman, and she felt a secret lightness
    of heart. It gave her strength, after a moment, to walk on slowly in the
    direction of the post office, and go in through the swinging doors.

    She is happy and relaxed and her spirits are high.


    Or a softness of heart?

    ... and she felt a softness at her heart which no act of his had
    ever produced since he had brought her the Crimson Rambler because she
    had given up boarding-school to stay with him.

    She is pleased by what he has done and is feeling contented and gentle.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    154
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: her heart contracted

    Well, I can always count on you, Anglika. Thank you very much!

  4. #4
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    19,448
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: her heart contracted

    You're welcome

  5. #5
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • UK
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    15,341
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: her heart contracted

    Some writers would never use 'her heart contracted'; it's open to ridicule along the lines of 'well of course it did, between about 40 and 85 times a minute, depending on her fitness'. Maybe 'her chest tightened' or 'her heart skipped a beat' ( the link between defibrillation and sexual/social apprehensiveness is often made by this cliché, so perhaps it's best avoided. Her heart '... began to race'? - another cliché....)

    b

Similar Threads

  1. heart ...
    By Caorthine in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 25-Apr-2007, 19:38
  2. Young at heart
    By hector51 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 07-Jan-2007, 11:40
  3. A pain in his heart
    By ian2 in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-Jan-2007, 18:40
  4. Bleeding Heart
    By Tetsuo in forum Comments & Suggestions
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 21-Jul-2006, 11:29
  5. my heart sank
    By polly_t in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 26-Aug-2005, 10:35

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Hotchalk