mustering his flagging energy

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jacdac

Senior Member
Lebanese
He heard moaning from beside him and realized Lois was crying. Mustering his flagging energy, he slid an arm around her shoulders. ‘Hold on, Lois,’ he said. ‘We can stand up to this.’ But he wondered.
Source: Insomnia by Stephen King

I am puzzled with the expression mustering one’s flagging energy. I understand muster used to involve getting reluctant soldiers out of the bed and into the field of battle - it involve involves overcoming a certain inertia. I am familiar with the expression to muster the courage/determination/something positive to face something.

Is the bolded expression or similar expression with negative connotation common?

Thank you
 
  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    If, as you say, you are familiar with the concept of mustering one's courage to do something, what is confusing you about mustering one's energy? Why do you think the phrase has a negative connotation? Is it the additional adjective?

    She mustered her remaining courage.
    He mustered his flagging energy.
     

    jacdac

    Senior Member
    Lebanese
    Thank you. I am still at sea. I find the additional adjective flagging (energy) to be negative. I grok mustering energy, but not flagging (weak, worn out, out of steam) energy. Would I muster my broken spirit to do something?
     
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    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    'Flagging energy' is energy that is slowly declining. By mustering it he is gathering it together. In other words his brain has told his body to gather together some of the very small amount of declining energy he has into sliding his arm around her shoulders.
     
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