cherry on crappy sundae

mia0815

Senior Member
Taiwanese
She lean in and patted my head. "Good night, Ava," she whispered.
"Good morning, you mean." This was the fat cherry on the whole crappy sundae
because it was obviously morning-- the skies were pinking up behind the kapok.

from Swamplandia! (a novel)

I thought cherry on top of a sundae means:after something really good happens, something great and unexpected happens. source

But in the above passage, 'crappy' is used to modify sundae.

Does
the fat cherry on the whole crappy sundae
then imply that something very good comes after a lousy thing?

Please help. Thank you.
 
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    We often have to answer questions on this book. The writer seems to have a knack for writing puzzling phrases.

    In this one I assume the events preceding this are the "crappy sundae" but I cannot tell from the extract whether the arrival of the morning is seen as a good or bad thing. It is possible to use exisitng metaphor ironically and this might be her intention now
     

    mia0815

    Senior Member
    Taiwanese
    Thank you. The narrator's sister was gone for the night and didn't return until 5 in the morning. And their conversation took place right after her return.

    And it's not clear what really happened during that time, but perhaps in the narrator's eyes, the fact that her sister snuck out of the house and stayed out for a long time is a bad thing.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Here, the cherry on the sundae stands for something that completes a larger item. An ice cream sundae is usually a good thing; in that case, the cherry on top makes it even better. When discussing something crappy (bad), and likening it to a sundae, the cherry makes it even worse.
     

    mia0815

    Senior Member
    Taiwanese
    So the cherry isn't an improvement then?
    But I can't see how the arrival of morning can be something worse? :confused:
     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    My guess is that she is trying to sleep and keeps getting interrupted. The fact that it is morning means she will have to wake up soon. It is just a guess - unless she is a vampire of course, in which case she should fear the morning. :D
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Yes. I think Egemont has it. So the arrival of sunrise probably shows how much sleep the speaker has lost.
     
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