dried husk

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Senior Member
Hi everyone,
in a spy novel by Marc Cameron, I find this passage:

Lie, blackmail, threaten—it did not matter so long as the secrets flowed to the presidium in Moscow—and Erik excelled at every facet. There was a necessary heartlessness to it, a willing-ness to rape the mind of another human being without going completely amok. Sociopathy within bounds, they called it, a sterile medical word to make themselves feel atoned. Any SVR officer with a soul was left nothing but a dried husk in no time at all. Those without, took a bit longer.

Erik is a SVR officer (Russian foreign intelligence), and here the narrator is talking about the methods officers like him have to use to make people confess etc. But what's that dried husk? I don't understand what it means.
Thank you in advance,
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Do you understand "dried" and "husk"? (If not, both are in the WRF dictionary.)

    What, in the sentence, can be compared to a "dried husk"?


    It means the work stripped people of their soul and left them "dry", or without any soul or human feeling. They were just a husk compared to their original selves - just the outer form of a human body but without any heart or feelings.

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