leaving it all black

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Senior Member
Dear friends
Please tell me what ''it'' refers to in the following sentence (leaving it all black), taken from ''Daughter'' in ''1919'' by John Dos Passos:
Then one day they all rode over to eat supper on Clear Creek and went swimming by moonlight in the deep hole there was under the bluff. Daughter got a crazy streak in her after a while and ran up and said she was going to dive from the edge of the bluff... they all yelled at her not to do it but she made a dandy dive right from the edge. But something was the matter: she'd hit her head, it hurt terribly. She was swallowing water, she was fighting a great weight that was pressing down on her, that was Joe. The moonlight flowed out in a swirl leaving it all black, only she had her arms around Joe's neck...
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    It sounds to me like she's losing consciousness and this is her perception of what's happening to her: the (moon)light appears to her to be going out, with a swirling motion/sensation, leaving nothing but blackness behind.


    Senior Member
    British English
    Hello Karoba.

    Here, "it" refers to her perception of her surroundings. Because she is losing consciousness, everything seems black, she can only "see" black.

    Other examples of "it", referring to atmosphere, physical surroundings, or perception of the same:

    The sun had been shining all day, leaving it warm and drowsy.

    The rain had been beating down all day, leaving it wet.

    She walked out in front of the speeding car, saw the headlights and the frightened face of the driver, then it went black.
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