across the mountain face

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dichelson

Senior Member
Italy/Italian
Hello: in the following passage I'm not sure about the meaning of "across the mountain face":

"As he scanned the rock formations above him, or the fields of gravel and mine tailings across the mountain face, or even the forests below, he realized that it was remarkably, maddeningly easy to see a dragon concealed in them"

He was on the mountain face, and the author says what was above and below him. So I guess "across the mountain face", in this context means "on his left and on his right". Do you agree? Thank you
 
  • Anion

    Senior Member
    UK
    English
    To me 'across the mountain face' is referring to the face of the mountain - being the whole side of the mountain, or that which faces you when you look at it. So the author is referring to the designs or pictures which he can see drawn by natural features which are on the mountain.
     

    dichelson

    Senior Member
    Italy/Italian
    I'm asking whether "across the mountain face" means "on the other side, beyon the mountain face" or "from the left to the right of the mountain face". I know that "mountain face" means "the face of the mountain"
     

    Anion

    Senior Member
    UK
    English
    It carries no such precise meaning as to location; rather, that the picture perceived requires the whole of the mountain face to render it.
     

    dichelson

    Senior Member
    Italy/Italian
    I agree that "across the mountain face" in itself is not precise. However, the author says that the character is in the middle of the mountain face; he is looking above, and sees rock formations, then below and sees forests, then across the mountain face and sees mine tailings.

    Considering his position "across the mountain face" can only mean "on his left and on his right". Now I'm only asking if this is one possible meaning of this expression. I'm asking because, to my knowledge, "across something" usually means "beyond something".
     

    Anion

    Senior Member
    UK
    English
    I do not think that 'across something' means 'beyond something' in this context. For instance contrast: "Someone had written 'cancelled' across the face of the poster" with "I saw the poster across the road".
     

    cycloneviv

    Senior Member
    English - Australia
    I think it means anywhere across the face of the mountain; it is not restricted to being simply on either side of where the character is standing. I don't think where he is standing has any influence on the meaning of "across the mountain face".

    I'm not sure whether I can explain this, but perhaps you could consider "mine tailings across the mountain face" as equivalent to "mine tailings which were spread across the side of the mountain". The could be above and to the left and right of him, below and to the left and right of him and/or on the same level and to the left and right of him. They are simply spread across the face.

    Perhaps Panj could draw another of his plum pudding mountain illustrations to show how this could be the case! :D
     
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