and <out of its dusk> an ox twisted its head

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park sang joon

Senior Member
This novel is set in a Chinese village before World War One.
The protagonist lives with his father.
Today is the wedding day of Wang Lung.

He went into the shed which was the kitchen, leaning against the house, and out of its dusk an ox twisted its head from behind the corner next the door and lowed at him deeply. The kitchen was made of earthen bricks as the house was, great squares of earth dug from their own fields, and thatched with straw from their own wheat.
[The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck]
I'd like to know what "out of its dusk" means.
Thank you in advance for your help.
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    It doesn't make sense. "Dusk" is twilight, the time between night and day. There is only one. An animal cannot have its own dusk.

    Wait, when I look in the the WR dictionary, it gives a second definition (which it labels "poetic"): gloom, shade.

    So the sentence mentions the shed, then says "out of its dusk". The it must mean the shed, and "its dusk" must mean its shadow. The ox was in the dark shadow of the shed, and twisted its head around the corner to "low" (make a cow sound) at him.
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