[Essay] to repeat something would be to fling more water into the earth

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sherishine

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"The words of her husband in praise of her meant nothing. But I am a man whose life in many ways, even as an explorer, has been governed by words. By rumours and legends. Charted things. Shards written down. The tact of words. In the desert to repeat something would be to fling more water into the earth. Here nuance took you a hundred miles.

Our expedition was about forty miles from Uweinat, and Madox and I were to leave alone on a reconnaissance. The Cliftons and the others were to remain behind. She had consumed all her reading and asked me for books. I had nothing but maps with me. “That book you look at in the evenings?” “Herodotus. Ahh. You want that?” “I don’t presume. If it is private.” “I have my notes within it. And cuttings. I need it with me.” “It was forward of me, excuse me.” “When I return I shall show it to you. It is
unusual for me to travel without it.”
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The above is from the English Patient.
:?:

I tried hard, yet just couldn't catch the meaning of "In the desert to repeat something would be to fling more water into the earth",
what might this "fling more water" refer to?

Thank you for your help:)
 

Tdol

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I think it could mean that repetition would a waste of time and energy- like wasting precious water by throwing it onto the ground.
 

sherishine

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Thank you all!

Now I think it get much clearO(∩_∩)O~ I just can't appreciate you too much!

"In the desert to repeat something would be to fling more water into the earth. Here nuance took you a hundred miles. "

Deserts have no boundaries, Ondaatje has put great emphasis on this point. Words have shapes, someone thinks it can give us clarity, as katharine always believed, words give us seeming definiteness, we use it to define something, the world around us. And this is the tact of it. Yet, desert has no constant shape, the wind blows it,always, it's a floating sea.So, to repeat something seems in vain, for there is no such thing that will remain the same, perhaps except the wind, somehow it reminds me of the labor of Sisyphus, the grativity in Sisyphus's story is just like the wind in the desert.

And I think "nuance" might refer to the essence of things, although I have never been there, yet I think in the desert, we have to look into the very nature of things,the intensity of the sun, the length of shadow,the humidity of air,ect... to figure out the right direction, or the weather, which plays a key role in protecting ourselves. If you don't pay much attention to the details, then you might choose the wrong direction. And your life might be in danger. Actually, the nuance exists outside the desert too, we just ignore it , too often, we put too much emphasis on the external things, the height of buildings as well as the speed of machines, yet in the desert, what is vital is the nature of things, it is sufficient to tell us the right way to escape from danger,or to choose the right direction. If you think the routes are almost the same, then maybe you will get lost in the desert." a hundred miles" has meanings both outside and inside,every path is different, for the heart of things is unique.


We don't have to repeat.



Sheri
 
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stanislaw.masny

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Do you have any ideas on nuance taking you a hundred miles? ;-)
What do I take this expression to mean?
I couldn't do it better than sherishine did.
Before, I thought that sometime a very small thing or event may cause great undesired effects like a hundred miles or even more.:-D
S.M.
 
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