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    #1

    despair = fearfulness ?

    Can we interpret "despair" as "fearfulness" in this context?

    "It may appear strange, but now, when we were in the very jaws of the gulf, I felt more composed than when we were only approaching it. Having made up my mind to hope no more, I got rid of a great deal of that terror which unmanned me at first. I suppose it was despair that strung my nerves."

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    #2

    Re: despair = fearfulness ?

    Any ideas?

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    #3

    Re: despair = fearfulness ?

    I would say it's more an absence of any hope than fear as the person says they felt less terror.

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    #4

    Re: despair = fearfulness ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    I would say it's more an absence of any hope than fear as the person says they felt less terror.
    Yes, but at first, the author says that losing hope (despair) made him feel more peaceful. Then he adds that the same despair strung his nerves. Don't you see any contradiction here?

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    #5

    Re: despair = fearfulness ?

    Not really- the person ceased to feel the terror felt when approaching. Having no hope is different- it could be a sense of fatalism and acceptance rather than abject fear. I was once in a major earthquake- at first it was terrifying, but as it got bigger and bigger and I was just waiting for the building to collapse, fear was replaced with an acceptance that I might be about to die and could do nothing whatsoever about it. I spent the last part regretting not having made a will or left my affairs in order.

  1. Pamela S's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: despair = fearfulness ?

    None at all. In the first statement "losing hope (despair) made him feel more peaceful" that means that he stopped fighting death and accepted it thus the "losing hope" made him "more peaceful". On the second statement "the same despair strung his nerves" also means that he is not fighting what is to happen (death) - strung his nerves is referring to being able to control his nerves


    not a teacher
    Last edited by Pamela S; 17-Dec-2014 at 22:32.

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    #7

    Re: despair = fearfulness ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pamela S View Post
    ...strung his nerves is referring to being able to control his nerves


    not a teacher
    That is what really confused me. You hit the target. I thought that "to string one's nerves" means the opposite. Thanks.

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