along the heaving corridor

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Senior Member
Hi, everyone
Please tell me which definition of the word ''heaving'' applies in the following context, taken from ''The Camera Eye (36)'', ''1919'' by John Dos Passos:
Time: 1918
(---) means spaces in the original text
(most of you know by this time there is no punctuation in The Camera Eyes)
when we emptied the rosies to leeward over the side every night after the last inspection we'd stop for a moment's gulp of the November gale the lash of spray in back of your ears for a look at the spume splintered off the leaping waves shipwreckers drowners of men (...) to glance at the sky veiled with scud to take our hands off the greasy handles of the cans full of slum they couldnt eat (nine meals nine dumpings of the leftover grub nine cussingmatches with the cockney steward who tried to hold out on the stewed apricots inspections AttenSHUN --- click clack At Ease--- shoot the flashlight in everycorner of the tin pans--- nine lineups along the heaving airless corridor of seasick seascared doughboys with their messkits in their hands)
  • Mr_Antares

    Senior Member
    US English
    This scene takes place aboard a troop ship. The ship is rolling and rocking in the waves, violently enough to make the men seasick ("emptied the rosies to leeward").

    Heaving describes the motion of the ship in the large waves.


    Senior Member
    You're right, but the motion of the ship also causes sickness specially because the corridor is airless too. Please see the word used once again in the next passage:
    we were leading the empty rosies down three flights of iron ladders into the heaving retching hold starting up with the full whenever the ship rolled a little slum would trickle out the side


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Did I miss it or has no one mentioned the most appropriate meaning of heaving - that gut-wrenching, visceral stomach-heaving that happens to those suffering the miseries of sea-sickness.

    It looks to me like the writer is almost gleefully punning on the various meanings of heaving in this passage.
    > The ship is heaving in the heavy seas, hence so is the corridor (post #2)

    > The corridor is heaving with sailors (post #3).

    > The sailors are heaving (vomiting and retching), provoked by both of the previous kinds of heaving (this post :)).
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