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    #1

    Victor Hugo's quatation

    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to interpret in plain English the following words of Victor Hugo: “Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.” A few things escape my perspicacity so I miss out on the meaning of the whole wording.

    Thank you for your efforts.

    Regards

    V.

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    #2

    Re: Victor Hugo's quatation

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    Dear teachers,

    Would you be kind enough to interpret in plain English the following words of Victor Hugo: “Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.” A few things escape my perspicacity so I miss out on the meaning of the whole wording.

    Thank you for your efforts.

    Regards

    V.
    Vil,

    Victor Hugo's quotation is one of my favorites. I believe he uses the bird as a metaphor for bravery, courage, and positive self-esteem.

    Taken literally, the bird is not afraid to perch on the frail branch because it knows that if the branch breaks it will still be able to escape the danger by flying away. It has a song to be sung and, by God, it is going to sing it in spite of the precarious tree branch!

    As a metaphor, you could use almost any situation to explain the meaning of the quotation. Let me use an extreme example to make my point:
    Picture a brave mother who has learned she has terminal cancer. The mother has a choice to make; she can feel sorry for herself and try to hide from her family and the world OR she can go about her daily 'mothering' activities with the knowledge that she has the love and support of her family. In essence, she has chosen to be courageous, to live the remainder of her life in 'song' and positive self-esteem.

    Here's where the metaphor gets really heavy, Vil! The mother 'knows she has wings' that will support her when death finally arrives. If she is a religious individual, the 'wings' will carry her to heaven. If she is not a religious person, her 'wings' will still carry her memory in the minds of those she has left behind! The 'song' she has sung throughout her lifetime will not be forgotten once she is gone.

    The metaphor could also be used for soldiers, firefighters, policemen, and others who face danger and perilous situations. They can choose to ignore the 'frail branch' or they can choose to do their duty with the knowledge that a greater good will be the result of their efforts!

    I hope this metaphor makes sense to you, Vil! It is a very powerful quotation!

    Best wishes,
    Amigo

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    #3

    Re: Victor Hugo's quatation

    Hi amigos4,

    Thank you for your impressive explanation.

    Thank you also for your intelligible English as well as for your touching metaphor.

    Now I’m got what I wanted. Thank you again.

    Regards

    V.


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    #4

    Re: Victor Hugo's quatation

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post

    Now I've got what I wanted. Thank you again.



    V.

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    #5

    Re: Victor Hugo's quatation

    I may not help you more than they did with this strict sentence. However, if you give me the original sentence - meaning in French - I will be surely able to tell you the perfect meaning of it.

    Just a native speaker of French

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    #6

    Re: Victor Hugo's quatation

    Quote Originally Posted by philadelphia View Post
    I may not help you more than they did with this strict sentence. However, if you give me the original sentence - meaning in French - I will be surely able to tell you the perfect meaning of it.

    Just a native speaker of French
    This is a forum where we help people 3 learn English. There'd be no point, if we wrote in any other language except English, no?

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    #7

    Re: Victor Hugo's quatation

    Quote Originally Posted by philadelphia View Post
    I may not help you more than they did with this strict sentence. However, if you give me the original sentence - meaning in French - I will be surely able to tell you the perfect meaning of it.

    Just a native speaker of French
    Hi, Phil!

    I did a quick Google on Victor Hugo's work but I came up short for a French version of the sentence “Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.”

    I am confident that Hugo intended the sentence to be a metaphor. If you Google the sentence you will see that it has been 'adopted' by many as their mantra!

    Please write the French translation of the sentence for us! French is such a pretty language to read and to hear!

    Hope all is well with you and the law studies!

    Cheers,
    Amigo

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    #8

    Re: Victor Hugo's quatation

    Quote Originally Posted by IvanV View Post
    This is a forum where we help people 3 learn English. There'd be no point, if we wrote in any other language except English, no?
    Good point, IvanV! But I respectfully disagree! The sentence provided by Vil is a translation of a French quotation. It might be interesting to see if anything was 'lost in translation'.

    Besides, Philadelphia's response will primarily be in English! I see no harm in viewing the original sentence in French.

    Cheers,
    Amigo

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    #9

    Re: Victor Hugo's quatation

    Quote Originally Posted by amigos4 View Post
    Hi, Phil!

    I did a quick Google on Victor Hugo's work but I came up short for a French version of the sentence “Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.”

    I am confident that Hugo intended the sentence to be a metaphor. If you Google the sentence you will see that it has been 'adopted' by many as their mantra!

    Please write the French translation of the sentence for us! French is such a pretty language to read and to hear!

    Hope all is well with you and the law studies!

    Cheers,
    Amigo
    Dear Amigo, my own amigo!

    It would be better for me to have the sentence in French because of the English sentence might have been a bit changed/altered. You candidly know the translations are not perfect. The words of Victor Hugo's are his words, one must not switch those by others.

    From my own language I can explain anything for you.

    Holding on to know whether Vil will give or not the sentence to me. Thank you for your kind words about French. You definitely know what I think of English.

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    #10

    Re: Victor Hugo's quatation

    Quote Originally Posted by philadelphia View Post
    Dear Amigo, my own amigo!

    It would be better for me to have the sentence in French because of the English sentence might have been a bit changed/altered. You candidly know the translations are not perfect. The words of Victor Hugo's are his words, one must not switch those by others.

    From my own language I can explain anything for you.

    Holding on to know whether Vil will give or not the sentence to me. Thank you for your kind words about French. You definitely know what I think of English.
    OK, my friend from Toulouse! In response to Vil's original question, how would you interpret the sentence?

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