before we can escape the presence of death and time

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VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
At the opening of a memorial honouring the deaths of students who died in a plane crash, the speaker reads:
— Ecclesiastes tells us, "Man no more knows his own time than fish taken in the fatal net or birds trapped in the snare. Like these, the children of men caught when the time falls suddenly upon them." And so before we can heal, before we can escape the presence of death and time, we must mourn and celebrate theirs with this memorial."
Final Destination, movie

What does the phrase in bold mean to you?
Thank you.
 
  • grassy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Since the speaker quotes Ecclesiastes, it can be a reference to religion and heaven, where there is no death or time.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In the Ecclesiastes quote, both mentions of "time" refer specifically to the time when someone will die. But the speaker then seems to use "time" in its normal sense. If anything, it suggests to me that he/she may have misunderstood the quote.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Well, if there is a way of escaping death, I'd quite like to know what it is! :)

    To paraphrase what he seems to be saying: We none of us know when we're going to die, but when someone else does we need to grieve their loss and celebrate their life before we can get on with our own lives without death haunting our thoughts.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    It does, otherwise I wouldn't ask:(

    And so before we can heal, before we can escape the presence of death and time
    Because to me, the opposite meaning of the OP would make more sense:

    And so before we can heal, before we can't escape the presence of death and time ... (i.e., before we die ourselves)
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It would never have occurred to me to think that was meant. The duplication of "before we can" is stylistic and definitely intentional. Before we can heal (recover from the shock of someone's death), before we can escape the presence of death and time (shake off the sometimes all-pervading memory of someone's passing)……
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Are you sure it's "death and time", Vic?

    And so before we can heal, before we
    can escape the presence of Death
    Time, we must mourn and celebrate
    theirs with this memorial.

    Final Destination Script at IMSDb.
    Not that it's much better, but it narrows down the scope of what they are supposed to be escaping from. I would take this version to mean "before we can get away from the feeling that death is liable to come at any moment". Well, there are various preachers with various beliefs, so we don't need to worry about the orthodoxy of that thought.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Are you sure it's "death and time", Vic?



    Not that it's much better, but it narrows down the scope of what they are supposed to be escaping from. I would take this version to mean "before we can get away from the feeling that death is liable to come at any moment". Well, there are various preachers with various beliefs, so we don't need to worry about the orthodoxy of that thought.
    Thank you. But scripts do always differ from what is said in the movies themselves very much:) The speaker definitely says "... the presence of Death [a pause] and time...."
     
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