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    #1

    ghastliness

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to give me your considered opinion concerning the interpretation of the term in bold in the following sentence?

    Now, which of the multitude of faces that showed themselves before him was the true face of the buried person, the shadows of the night did not indicate; but they were all the faces of a man of five-and- forty by years, and they differed principally in the passions they expressed, and in the ghastliness of their worn and wasted state.

    ghastliness = unearthly pallor

    V.

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: ghastliness

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to give me your considered opinion concerning the interpretation of the term in bold in the following sentence?

    Now, which of the multitude of faces that showed themselves before him was the true face of the buried person, the shadows of the night did not indicate; but they were all the faces of a man of five-and- forty by years, and they differed principally in the passions they expressed, and in the ghastliness of their worn and wasted state.

    ghastliness = unearthly pallor

    V.
    It depends on the period. If it was written more than 60/70 years ago, your guess is right - maybe, though, it's referring not just to colour. 'Ghastly' originally meant 'like a ghast' (and I believe a ghast was just a ghost, or maybe some special sort of ghost - you could look it up).

    More recently 'ghastliness' has assumed a more generally unpleasant meaning.

    b

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    #3

    Re: ghastliness

    Hi Bob,

    Thank you for your helpful remarks.

    V.

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