<neon>glowed warmly--the lights of home

IceJB

Senior Member
Mandarin
Quote: Gabriel usually sat with his back to the window, at a table to the right of the door facing the bar. He drank draft beer or coffee and looked at magazines other customers had left behind. Glancing up from one of his uncle’s letters, he saw the misted window in the mirror behind the bar. In a polluted winter fog neon glowed warmly—the lights of home.

Question: Was this neon light glowing from homes somewhere outside of the bar or inside the bar?

Background: This story was set in Paris in 1960s. Did people use neon lights at home at that time?

Source: Baum, Gabriel 1935-(), by Mavis Gallant, a short story from her collection ‘Paris Stories’, which you can find in Google Books by the title Paris Stories. (Paragraph 3, Page 174)

Thanks to whoever can help!
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I assume that he's looking at the glow of neon lights from some source outside the bar. If he can see the "misted window" in the mirror's reflection, he can see the glow of neon that is visible through that window.

    I never met anybody who used neon lighting at home in the 60s. "The lights of home" probably means something like "The lights of Gabriel's home town."
     

    IceJB

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    I assume that he's looking at the glow of neon lights from some source outside the bar. If he can see the "misted window" in the mirror's reflection, he can see the glow of neon that is visible through that window.

    I never met anybody who used neon lighting at home in the 60s. "The lights of home" probably means something like "The lights of Gabriel's home town."
    Oh, I just read one paragraph after this quote saying this bar was being sold and all its chairs, glasses, cups and saucers, "the zinc-covered bar, the neon tubes on the ceiling" were purchased by a museum as sociological artifacts of probably 1960s.

    So, could that neon lighting glowed from the neon tubes on the ceiling? Or, were they still separate things?
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    So, could that neon lighting glowed from the neon tubes on the ceiling? Or, were they still separate things?
    I can't imagine a "polluted winter fog" in the bar itself. If neon glows warmly in that fog, the neon should be outside.
     

    Oeco

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I'm guessing (and that's all it is) that this is an ironic use of "home." Neon is hardly a light of home but rather has become Gabriel's home far away from his true home.
     
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