blow out [cloak blew out]

qorpoz

New Member
Brazilian Portuguese
I am not sure what is the meaning of "blew out" in the following sentence from Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway. Since it is part of a metaphor, I know it should match the verb "open" that follows. That is, I understand that the woman's cloak opens up in some way. But how exactly? By bursting, having its buttons broken up, etc.? Maybe this is stupid question for a native speaker of English. If so, pardon me.

Then the thin long cloak which the wind stirred as she walked past Dent's shop in Cockspur Street blew out with an enveloping kindness, a mournful tenderness, as of arms that would open and take the tired
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Your understanding is right. The wind does open the cloak through the force of the air rushing in and around the fabric. I don't get the idea that the buttons have come off, but rather that fabric is billowing in the breeze. I think it is entirely possible that her cloak doesn't even have buttons.

    By the way, Qorpoz, welcome to the forum!
     

    qorpoz

    New Member
    Brazilian Portuguese
    Thank you, owlman5. You are probably right about the buttons: it was only my imagination. But then VW employs such unusual images that I felt myself authorized to wander off a little. (The reason I asked the forum is that I did not find either in dictionaries or in on the Internet any examples of a similar use of that phrasal verb). Well, thank you again. I am new as a member but as a reader of literature written in English or French (I am Brazilian) it was here that I found many answers to my doubts and questions.
     
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