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  1. sherishine's Avatar
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    #1

    Question Some questions from the English Patient

    "There are always secrets and dangers around him, as when blind he moved his hand and cut himself on a double-edged razor in the sand. At times he doesn’t know if these are dreams, the cut so clean it leaves no pain, and he must wipe the blood on his skull (his face still untouchable) to signal the wound to his captors. "

    The above is from the English Patient,written by Michael Ondaatje.
    I can't quite catch the blued words. Does that mean" his skull was blooding" or "his hand was blooding, and he colored his skull with the blood from his cutted hand"? I think it might mean the latter.But I am not that sure.

    Another question,
    "That was how he felt safest. Revealing nothing. Whether they came at him with tenderness or subterfuge or knives. For more than four months he had not said a word. He was a large animal in their presence, in near ruins when he was brought in and given regular doses of morphine for the pain in his hands. "

    Does " in near ruins" mean that " he is in bad condition(perhaps both physically and mentally)? Or it has other meaning?

    Thank your for your answer, I am looking forward to it.

  2. sherishine's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Some questions from the English Patient

    Thank you Gil!
    But I still can't quite understand."He wipes the blood from the wound on his skull ".

    There is no hint about the wound on his skull. And I don't know how can it be a signal,if he wipe the blood on his skull. I think the blood itself is a signal. Or he can wave his hand as a signal.
    I think maybe that 's the reason why I subconsciously think that he is using his skull as a place to show his blood on the hand...

    Could you explain further how you think about this?

  3. sherishine's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Some questions from the English Patient

    Thank you Gil!

    I think if we use the word "onto" to take place the " on" in this sentence-He must wipe the blood on his skull .
    Then the meaning would me more clear.
    Yet, logically, we can figure it out too.


    By the way, if there is no context, I mean if there was only one sentence"He must wipe the blood on his skull ",could it mean that the blood was on the skull?


  4. sherishine's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Some questions from the English Patient

    Quote:"She looks in on the English patient, whose sleeping body is probably miles away in the desert, being healed by a man who continues to dip his fingers into the bowl made with the joined soles of his feet, leaning forward, pressing the dark paste against the burned face. She imagines the weight of the hand on her own cheek. "



    Is this mean that he uses his two soles as a bowl to contain the paste?

  5. sherishine's Avatar
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    #5

    Another question.

    Quote:question1
    “At times we were sent in to steal. Here I was, an Italian and a thief. They couldn’t believe their luck, they were falling over themselves to use me. There were about four or five of us. I did well for some time. Then I was accidentally photographed. Can you imagine that?
    “I was in a tuxedo, a monkey suit, in order to get into this gathering, a party, to steal some papers. Really I was still a thief. No great patriot. No great hero. They had just made my skills official.


    The above is from English Patient .
    Could you tell me what the blue words actually means?
    "they were falling over themselves"
    "a monkey suit"


    ------------

    Question2:
    "He ambles naked up the stairs to the second floor, where the guards are, bending down to laugh at some privacy, so his face is almost at his hip, nudging the guards about his evening’s invitation, alfresco, was that it? Or seduction a cappella~? "




    "his face is almost at his hip", does"his hip" mean the naked man's hip? But, how can his face at his own hip? I mean, the hip is under our back, while our faces are on the other side. How to explain this"his face is almost at his hip"?

    alfresco : it must be a kind of metaphor. This word means at outside. Does that whole sentence mean," about his evening's alfresco invitation"?

    Or a cappella seduction?






    Thank you all who follow this thread closely!
    Last edited by sherishine; 25-Apr-2010 at 00:36.

  6. sherishine's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Some questions from the English Patient

    Question3:
    " Half a year earlier, from a window at the end of the long hall in Santa Chiara Hospital in Pisa, Hana had been able to see a white lion. At midnight she would look through the window and know it stood within the curfew blackout and that it would emerge like her into the dawn shift. "



    Does it mean the lion stood within darkness(for the street lamps or something were blackout?)

    And what does " emerge like her "mean , another metaphor?
    Last edited by sherishine; 25-Apr-2010 at 00:37.

  7. Noego's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Another question.

    they were falling over themselves
    I haven't read the book so I'd be hard for me to tell you the exact meaning of this expression in this context.

    I think here it means to be very eager to do something.

    For more information, look here.

    谢谢你的问题。

  8. sherishine's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Some questions from the English Patient

    I think "be eager to use him" get quite close to the meaning.

    Thank you so much!O(∩_∩)O~

  9. sherishine's Avatar
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    #9

    Question question5

    Question5, (still from The English Patient)

    "Nurses too became shell-shocked from the dying around them. Or from something as small as a letter. They would carry a severed arm down a hall, or swab at blood that never stopped, as if the wound were a well, and they began to believe in nothing, trusted nothing. They broke the way a man dismantling a mine broke the second his geography exploded. The way Hana broke in Santa Chiara Hospital when an official walked down the space between a hundred beds and gave her a letter that told her of the death of her father. "




    Could you tell me what the "geography "means?

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