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    #1

    Alphabet of light

    Read from Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire:
    1. "I have come out of one death, the one whose walls were glass; I have awakened into a second life dearer for being both unpromised and undeserved."
    What does it mean by "the one whose walls were glass"?
    Does "dearer" mean "more precious"?
    Does "unpromised and undeserved" mean that the narrator accidentally gained this second life?
    2. "...death is more patient than Gesú Cristo...".
    What is "Gesú Cristo"?
    3. "My eye traces the foothills already gained, considers the alphabet of light that spells its unreadable words on the surface of the river."
    Alphabet of light?
    4. "Rest. Breathe in, breathe out. No one can harm you further than death could do. When rested, you must go on."
    Does "rested" here mean "when you are dead" or "when you've rested enough"?
    Last edited by KuaiLe; 29-May-2006 at 10:25.

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    #2

    Re: Alphabet of light

    Hello KuaiLe

    I don't know the book in question, so these are only guesses:

    1.

    — "glass walls": his "old" life was like a glass coffin, or a glass tomb: he was "dead", but he didn't know it.

    — "dearer": yes, "more precious".

    — "unpromised and undeserved": I would assume he means that "no one (i.e. neither man nor God) promised him this new life" and "he was unworthy to receive this new life".

    2. It's the Italian for "Jesus Christ".

    3. The author likens the patterns of light on the water to a message which he can't read. As the book has some religious content, I would guess that the light is a symbol of his God.

    4. I think it means "when you've rested enough".

    Let me know if it's still unclear!

    MrP

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    #3

    Re: Alphabet of light

    Thanks a lot!
    It's the first time I try to read a fantasy novel in English. The language it uses is just full of mysteries to me...
    About above-mentioned question 1, why his old life was like a glass coffin, or a glass tomb = he was dead, but he didn't know it? Is it a common metaphor in English? Besides, I thought it refered to death instead of his old "life".
    About question 3, so, it's not talking about actual light on the river but something else. Not like that he saw light on water? I thought he was describing the foothill scenery and a river was part of it...

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    #4

    Re: Alphabet of light

    Hello KuaiLe

    It's a little difficult to say, as I haven't read the book. But from the extracts you give, it seems to me that the "death" is metaphorical; something has happened that divides his life into two parts, the old part that was like life in a glass coffin (i.e. a kind of "death" that no one else could see), and the new part which is "more precious".

    The alphabet of light seems to refer to real light on real water; but the speaker perhaps regards it in a mystical sense.

    But I may be entirely wrong! If it's a fantasy novel, there could be any number of explanations.

    MrP

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