it would take only one or two more fades to destroy him

jacdac

Senior Member
Lebanese
How could he have said yes? There was his responsibility to Lucy. That had been all-important, not just because of her but because of himself—he sensed it would take only one or two more fades to destroy him as a man for good. So he had sent her away, and he supposed Flagg was well pleased with the previous night’s work … if Flagg was really his name.
Source: The Stand by Stephen King
Context: Larry is reflecting about the night he had refused Nadine's advances. Lucy is Larry's partner and Flagg is the dark man.

What does fades mean in this context?

I looked up the the familiar word fade and I could not think of a definitive metaphor that could shed some light on the meaning of the sentence. As an amateur right-handed golf player, I know that a fade is a deviation to the right as a result of a spin given to the ball. I wonder whether Larry sees himself as a ball that destiney could spin him and throw him off the intended straight line. I am just guessing wildly, with my intellect at play.

Thank you.
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    No, it isn't the golf term.

    It isn't clear. The most common meaning of the verb "fade" is to become less solid, less real. A mist gradually "fades away" to nothing. A scene in a movie or TV ends by fading (growing dimmer) until the screen is black. Here it is used as a noun, meaning an act or instance of fading.

    I think that is the general meaning King uses here. Get dimmer, become less real, or some metaphorical version of that.

    Is it clear what (in this book) "destroying him as a man" means? Whatever that means, he is almost there, and if he gets worse two more times he will be there.
     

    jacdac

    Senior Member
    Lebanese
    Thank you. I got it. I did not think to browse through the verb definitions.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    To me, not knowing more than what is posted, it sounds like it could be a specific reference to one of the supernatural aspects of the book. Can the dark man "fade" people somehow?
     

    jacdac

    Senior Member
    Lebanese
    To me, not knowing more than what is posted, it sounds like it could be a specific reference to one of the supernatural aspects of the book. Can the dark man "fade" people somehow?
    I do not know yet if He could make people fade/disappear unless I missed it. I have another twenty chapters. It is a possible good alternative proposition though.

    Thank you.
     

    lentulax

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I looked up the the familiar word fade and I could not think of a definitive metaphor that could shed some light on the meaning of the sentence. As an amateur right-handed golf player, I know that a fade is a deviation to the right as a result of a spin given to the ball. I wonder whether Larry sees himself as a ball that destiney could spin him and throw him off the intended straight line. I am just guessing wildly, with my intellect at play.
    At first sight the golfing metaphor is an attractive interpretation ; but normally if a ball deviates (left to right) from the intended straight line , that's a 'slice', whereas a 'fade' is used to describe a (left to right) movement of the ball which is intended by the player (or to describe such a movement which the player wants you to think was intentional!). Since playing a fade is beyond the skills of many amateurs, perhaps the distinction between 'fade' and 'slice' becomes blurred - how good a golfer was King ? My comment, of course, depends on Larry being seen as the golfer , not the ball - if he plays one or two more wayward shots (like giving way to Nadine's advances) then he'll finish up in the deep rough - game over! But I don't think you could credibly see Larry as the ball.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I searched "The Stand" for the word "fade" in Google Books and besides the usual usages there were several examples where he used it to mean "run away" or "disappear". I don't know at what point this was in the book, but one of the characters (I could only see references to "he") who was alone after the epidemic killed almost everyone saw some people for a second. But they ran away and disappeared somewhere when they saw him. He described that as "pulling a fade".

    In a later section, a character (the same one?) describes a situation by saying that in the past in that situation he would have "done a quick fade", meaning he would have left and avoided any responsibility.

    So I think, in the OP quote, he's using the term "a fade" to mean ducking responsibility/running away. He's apparently lived a lifetime of "pulling fades" and has decided he can't live that way any more. If he did that again (in this case by betraying his responsibility to Lucy), it would destroy his self-respect.
     

    jacdac

    Senior Member
    Lebanese
    Thank you. Great. a fade ~ ducking responsibility/running away fits quite well with the thread of the plot, as Larry has a history of ducking away from previous relationships.
     
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