a battering away at the edges

Yuyka

Senior Member
Czech
Hello,

I´m at a loss as to how to translate the following phrase: "a battering away at the edges"

Here´s the context:

"However, in my experience, time smooths all. One obtains a kind of neutrality after a while, a battering away at the edges as one begins to perceive through endless repetition that this slight was no such thing, or that love was merely a fancy.

(source: Claire North: The first fifteen lives of Harry August)

What is meant by endless repetition is that when the protagonists of the book die, they are born again and again and again - endlessly.

I understand the literal meaning of "battering away at something" (= means that you work on it bit by bit for a long time. The "work" you do is not delicate: imagine hitting something hard with a hammer to break off little pieces.)

But I don´t undrstand the figurative meaning and have therefore difficulty translating it.

Thanks anyone for any suggestions.

Yuyka
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    It's not that clear to me either, Yuyka.

    I think that North is trying to say that people are worn out by life or experience. They grow neutral or numb to experience after they have lived many times or experienced similar things many times.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think that North is suggesting that people have rough edges - such as being offended by a perceived slight, or enthusiastic about a love affair. Those rough edges are knocked off by life being lived repeatedly. The battering away at the edges is the process of knocking them off. The result is, eventually, no rough edges (and, presumably, no emotions).
     

    Yuyka

    Senior Member
    Czech
    It's not that clear to me either, Yuyka.

    I think that North is trying to say that people are worn out by life or experience. They grow neutral or numb to experience after they have lived many times or experienced similar things many times.

    Thanks, owlman5. That´s how I understand the passage as well.

    Y.
     

    Yuyka

    Senior Member
    Czech
    Hello, Andygc,

    I really like your idea with the rough edges and the interpretation that follows. The "battering away" makes good sense now, and, moreover, translated into my language it works as well!

    Thank you very much, you´ve made my day (evening). :)

    Yuyka
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    I agree. Andy gave an excellent interpretation. If you've ever found something on the beach that had edges, like a piece of pottery or glass, it becomes worn down, battered, smooth; more round; fewer or no edges. And the writer is not saying that's a good thing, as is commonly said.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top