Student or Learner
I read this from The Last Pope by Luis Miguel Rocha:
"The garden lights, with photoelectric sensors, were coming on all around, programmed to activate slowly and progressively for a continuous transition in harmony with the prolonged sunset. The lamps warmed their filaments until there was no more natural light."
I'm confused about the last sentence. Is it saying that the garden lights go off when the natural light disappear, or the other way round?
I think the author, or his translator, is being excessively 'clever' in the metaphor. Incandescent lightbulbs have a filament, but I don't think lamps used for outdoor lighting do; they're more often fluorescent.
Anyway, even then, it doesn't make sense. Incandescent lights produce light by heating a thin wire (the 'filament'). (There is an imperfect but persuasive analogy: when you pump up a bicycle tyre with a hand-pump, the pump gets warmer as you push air through it. For pump think filament, and for air think electricity.) But the filament only produces a detectable amount of light - it glows a dull red - when it's already very hot. (Hence the term 'red-hot'.)
I think the image is over-elaborate - you can almost hear the writer saying 'See what I'm doing here... Pretty neat metaphor, don't you think?' Well no, actually, I don't.
Thank you very much for correcting me and for your metaphorical explanation. I highly appreciate all your advices. I know that my English isn't
as good as I would like to be, so far. But a drop of knowledge is better than an ocean of strength - says English proverb. I'm erecting my ability to express myself in literacy.
Now, to the point.
I know that fluorescent lamps are commonly used nowadays. They give us warm, day like or cold light. I suppose that lamps in The Vatican Gardens are built with old good bulbs because they fit better to a picture of evening.
I have a sodium lamp in my garden. Its color is much better than that of fluorescent lamps.
Thank you once again. I wouldn't try your patience but if you will have an occasion to meet my errors (nobody is infallible), correct them please.
I've seen the lamps in the Vatican Gardens! It was in 1961, and suoni e luci was just becoming popular (and, with it, the lighting from the outside of impressive buildings). But I imagine they've changed the bulbs in the last 49 years.