like the scarcely defined arch of a long and high set bridge

sisse nar

Senior Member
Korean
Hi, all.

This is from <A death in the family> by James Agee.

This is about the noise of locusts.
I don't get the metaphor of the red part "
like the scarcely defined arch of a long and high set bridge".
Is a set bridge a really bridge in the river?

The noise of the locust is dry, and it seems not to be rasped or vibrated but urged from him as if through a small orifice by a breath that can never give out. ... The noise of each locust is pitched in some classic locust range out of which none of them varies more than two full tones: and yet you seem to hear each locust discrete from all the rest, and there is a long, slow, pulse in their noise, like the scarcely defined arch of a long and high set bridge. They are all around in every tree, so that the noise seems to come from nowhere and everywhere at once, from the whole shell heaven, shivering in your flesh and teasing your eardrums, the boldest of all the sounds of night.
 
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    That is an odd metaphor .... I am not struck by an obvious meaning when I read it.

    I would not imagine he means a concrete bridge, maybe more like the an intangible connection. One of the definitions of bridge is a connection, and to me that works best here, as any bridge with physical properties cannot easily be classed as 'scarcely defined'.

    I take it that the noise they all make has discrete elements but seems connected, one to another, loosely connected by the long slow pulse in the sound.
     
    There is a pulsing in the volume. It's gradually rising, then falling. Picture a graph of the volume: a long arc, rather flat. This is likened to the shape of a very long arching bridge, such as this one:

    http://pinker.wjh.harvard.edu/photos/santa_barbara_california/images/Cold Spring Arch Bridge.jpg



    This is from <A death in the family> by James Agee.

    This is about the noise of locusts.
    I don't get the metaphor of the red part "
    like the scarcely defined arch of a long and high set bridge".
    Is a set bridge a really bridge in the river?

    The noise of the locust is dry, and it seems not to be rasped or vibrated but urged from him as if through a small orifice by a breath that can never give out. ... The noise of each locust is pitched in some classic locust range out of which none of them varies more than two full tones: and yet you seem to hear each locust discrete from all the rest, and there is a long, slow, pulse in their noise, like the scarcely defined arch of a long and high set bridge.They are all around in every tree, so that the noise seems to come from nowhere and everywhere at once, from the whole shell heaven, shivering in your flesh and teasing your eardrums, the boldest of all the sounds of night.
     
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