as if the beauty of the world had risen in a sleep

Ashibaal

Senior Member
French
Hello everyone,
This is an extract from Patrick White (Australian, Nobel Prize in Literature)'s The Tree of Man (1955) (page 41). The action is set during the colonisation of Australia.

Comprehensive context: the main character, Stan Parker, and his wife host a guest in their isolated house in the bush. Stan is daydreaming about the life of adventure this stranger is boasting of.

"All this time Stan Parker was torn between between the images of gold and ebony and his own calm life of flesh. He did not wish to take his hat from the peg and say, Well, soilong, I'm off to see foreign places. [...] He had a subtler longing. It was as if the beauty of the world had risen in a sleep, in the crowded wooden room, and he could almost take it in his hands. All words that he had never expressed might suddenly be spoken.

What is your interpretation of the expression in bold? I do not understand it, what sleep, whose sleep? What can "rise in a sleep" possibly mean? Rise when he was sleeping? But he is not... :confused:

Thank you!
 
  • Ashibaal

    Senior Member
    French
    What occurs "in the crowded wooden room" then? It seems to me that would be the sleeping (based on the way the sentence is built), but the awakening would only make sense.
     

    Ashibaal

    Senior Member
    French
    Because right now, he is not sleeping at all, he is having a drink and eating with his wife and this stranger.
     
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