Dark spruce forest frowned on either side...

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ortak

Senior Member
Turkish
Dark spruce forest frowned on either side the frozen waterway.

(White Fang-Jack London)

Hello forummates
I am trying to read this novel of J. London. It happens to force me little :) and this sentence is the first sentence all of the book.

When I look up in a dictionary frowned on/upon somebody/something simply means that 'to dissaprove of something', but I can not realize any parallel meaning in that sentence.

If you help me, I will be glad indeed.

Thanks in advance.
 
  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    It's a literary/poetic usage that compares the look and feel of the dark forest to the look and feel of a frown: forbidding, gloomy, threatening.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    That is a recognised usage, both literary and colloquial.

    The Lady of Shalott, Alfred Tennyson
    On either side the river lie
    Long fields of barley and of rye,


    Echo News
    This is not a common incident this side the water
     
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    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    The real problem is why this excellent writer has omitted the preposition "of" after "either side". [Post #4]
    That struck me, too, and: It's a long time since I read it, and it's not in my own library, but I just checked the quote via Google, and all sites but one (where someone apparently "corrected" it) have the line as Ortak has given it. I conclude that Wandle's correct (post #5), even though it's not common usage in AE.
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    I am not sure that this is really a recognised usage; it is certainly not a common one (I could not find it in the extract form “Echo News”, but I did baulk at reading all the offensive comments at the bottom of the page). Somehow I suspect that the usage in the first line of “The Lady of Shallot” is an idiosyncratic pseudo-archaic invention by Tennyson himself, perhaps by analogy to the preposition “beside”. Jack London’s “on either side the frozen waterway” in the first sentence of “White Fang” is, I suspect, a conscious allusion to Tennyson’s “on either side the river”.
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    Dark spruce forest frowned on either side the frozen waterway.

    (White Fang-Jack London)
    It's (frowned)(on either side), not (frowned on)(either side). The forest isn't disapproving of either side, it's looking gloomy on either side.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I am not sure that this is really a recognised usage; it is certainly not a common one (I could not find it in the extract form “Echo News”, but I did baulk at reading all the offensive comments at the bottom of the page).
    Having used ctrl+f to find the phrase on the page, I had read only its immediate context and was unaware of any offensive comments. I wanted a colloquial example to accompany the Tennyson.

    Most examples I found of the expression 'this side the water' were a century old or more. It is or used to be a stock expression in the US for comparisons with Europe.
     
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    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    A few more examples of this usage (there are many on the net and I have heard it countless times myself):

    Cycleway improvements
    This requires the removal of all on-street parking on this side the road.

    Sherwood Mews - A Soggy Tale of Greed
    This scheme has not created a footway along this side the road

    T. H. Huxley Letters and Diary 1870
    From a literary point of view, my dear friend, you remind me of nothing so much as a dog going home. He has a goal before him which he will certainly reach sooner or later, but first he is on this side the road, and now on that;

    "MY NOVEL" By Edward Bulwer-Lytton
    On this side the road, immediately facing the two gentlemen, cottage after cottage whitely emerged from the curves in the lane

    A Taste of Mile Marker!
    That white boy was on this side the road with the car. We was on the other side.

    "The Wind in the Willows [Chapter 2]: The Open Road" by Kenneth Grahame.
    out of thick orchards on either side the road, birds called and whistled to them cheerily

    Katharine Kerr's Home Page - Freeze Frames Excerpt
    Every now and then the moon breaks free of scudding clouds and gleams on the fields that lie either side the road up from Bournemouth.
     

    fdb

    Senior Member
    French (France)
    I confess that I have never (consciously) heard this idiom, but, thanks to Wandle, I have now read it half a dozen times. Never too old to learn something new.
     
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