And pretty soon he was blocking the early spring sun ...

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Kitty 123

Member
Chinese
Hi, guys.


When reading an article, I am not quite clear about what this part means.
Its source is listed as follows.

Source: New York Times, March 29, 2012
Title:
Getting to That Safe Place
Author:
Elisabeth Fairfield Stokes

The sentence is : One Tuesday I hurried past his table on my way
outside, not breaking stride, answering him with a “Hey, how are you?” And pretty soon he was blocking the early spring sun I had lifted my closed eyes to. I don’t remember much between opening them resentfully, sighing, and sleeping with him a few days later.

Q1: What does the sentence underlined imply? Does this mean that pretty soon, the author and the man become lovers and sleep together? Or does it mean something else?

Q2: If the underlined sentence means that they become lovers and sleep together, then it seems that it is incoherent semantically with the following sentence.


Look forward to your replies.

Thank you!

 
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    Hello Kitty 123,

    It does mean that they became lovers. The sentence quickly passes over a lot of things that happen, and the time it took for them to happen. My first understanding of the part you underlined is that she is lying on her back, probably outside and he is above her blocking the sun. However, perhaps they are standing together and he is kissing her, as they don't become lovers until a few days later.

    The structure of the sentence is coherent. It is just that the content is suggestive rather than explicit and direct.


    Edit: This thread discusses another part of the same passage: opening them resentfully
    I have added it here in case it is useful to someone.
     
    Last edited:

    busitrans

    Member
    Chinese
    Is this a euphemism for "falling in love"? They kiss each other, the guy standing in the direction of the sun, and the author chosed her eyes when kissing?
     

    busitrans

    Member
    Chinese
    Does "opening them resentfullyopening them resentfully" mean that the author has realized that the guy is not the right man for her, and the relationship ends with resent?
     

    busitrans

    Member
    Chinese
    But it seems that my above assumption does not hold water. Why does the author "open the eyes resentfullyopening them resentfully" and then sigh and sleep with him even after that?
    Or does "blocking the early spring sun I had lifted my closed eyes to" mean that the author walks in the direction of the sun but the guy blocks her and kisses her?
    It is really confusing. Many thanks for your explanation.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    As I read it, the sequence of events on Tuesday morning was:

    (1) She was sitting, eyes closed, in the early sunlight.
    (2) Resentfully (not willing to move) she opened her eyes.
    (3) She sighed in resignation and got up to go.
    (4) She passed his table and exchanged a greeting.

    Some time after that, (5) they became lovers.
    The experience was such that she had forgotten most of what happened between (3) and (5).
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    I disagree slightly with the sequence of events as described by Wandle, but the basic idea is exactly the same:
    (1) On her way outside, she passes his table with a quick greeting.
    (2) As she's sitting in the sun with her eyes closed, he stops by, blocking the sun. She's resentful of this (either of his blocking the sun or his stopping to talk to her - it's not clear which).
    (3) A few days later, they become lovers. She doesn't remember much that happened between (2) and (3).

    What are you still confused about? The passage is not meant to be explicit - native speakers have to interpret it, too. And the way I interpret it is that they met in this inauspicious way, and very quickly thereafter became lovers. The relationship developed so quickly that she doesn't remember much of how it happened.
     
    Last edited:

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I must admit JustKate's sequence makes better sense than mine in post 8.
    However, I would now see the action as taking place successively over several days.

    (1) One Tuesday, she passes his table and exchanges a greeting (perhaps the first time she had responded to greetings from him?).
    (2) Before long, he was standing between her and the morning sun (perhaps he repeated this a number of times: 'was standing' could describe a repeated action, or a single situation).
    (3) She opened her eyes: resentfully, because she had been cut off from the warmth or light of the sun on her closed eyes.
    (4) She sighed, resigning herself to the fact that she had to react to his approach.
    (5) A few days later (implying that he has repeated his approach each day) she sleeps with him.

    Depending on what the wider context may show, it seems that the man has been very persistent: possibly greeting her several times before she responds, then coming to where she was sitting morning after morning, then (following the time when she opened her eyes) talking with her and repeating his visits until she agrees to be his lover.

    The fact that she remembers little of what happened between (4) and (5) presumably means that his resourcefulness, wit and determination expressed themselves through his talk and behaviour during this period in ways that she had not bargained for and which overcame her initial reluctance: once she had begun to respond to him, she found herself dealing with a personality outside her previous experience or comprehension.
     

    busitrans

    Member
    Chinese
    Thanks a million, JustKate and Wandle.

    Your explanations are very detailed and reasonable.

    Thank you very very much.
     
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