human litter

Tyrion Lann

Senior Member
INDIA -Hindi
Fourteen years of cleaning human litter from highways and streets and the sidewalks at the bases of very tall buildings had not been able to erase that little hitch in the belly, as if something evil had clotted there.

Source:- Night Shift, story six "THE MANGLER" by Stephen King.

Is the word litter in the above sentence used for the meaning of remainings? Like we use "litter" for rubbish on the ground.

Thanks.
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I think it means "rubbish" (not "remainings", which doesn't really exist).
     

    Tyrion Lann

    Senior Member
    INDIA -Hindi
    Yes, you are right. He investigates accidents that happened on highways and streets and the sidewalks at the bases of very tall buildings ( people who jumped off the buildings, that I think.).

    Sorry I didn't tell it earlier.
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    Yes, you are right. He investigates accidents that happened on highways and streets.

    Sorry I didn't tell it earlier.
    Yes. A rather vital clue.
    We do not refer to human remains as “litter”. The fact that the author has chosen to do so is designed to shock or at least to reveal an attitude from the narrator (or maybe this character).
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It means parts and pieces of human bodies (some more complete than others). For what it's worth, I thought the mention of tall buildings made it clear without more context.

    Besides, animals aren't known to litter, so it has to be litter of human bodies (pieces) and not things dropped by humans.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Yes, you are right. He investigates accidents that happened on highways and streets and the sidewalks at the bases of very tall buildings ( people who jumped off the buildings, that I think.).

    Sorry I didn't tell it earlier.
    That does rather change the reading:)
    Then we can visualize "an amount of people*" - people and parts in a mound/pile :(

    * A personal pet peeve that should be "a number of people"
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I thought "he means cleaning up human remains" when I read the OP and I was surprised by the initial responses. The clue lies, I think, in the reference to sidewalks by very high buildings. And that the writer is Stephen King - his sort of turn of phrase.

    I am also aware, personally, of "that little hitch in the belly". I don't think it's possible to become totally immune to picking up pieces.

    EDIT Sorry, I meant some of the initial responses.
     
    Last edited:

    reno33

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    There's a word in AmE for animal remains (including human) littering highways after a car accident. The word is "roadkill" ; In contemporary AmE, this word is now applied to any kind of violent event that results in "remains" being left on pubic roads and other places.
     
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