Nothing but an irregularity

Lilithniahm

Senior Member
italiano
Hello!
A boy is roaming a battlefield at night in search of something valuable to scavenge. Suddenly, he sees a light (the battlefield is supposed to be deserted) and understands that it is a campfire. He knows he musn't look directly into the light, so as not to ruin his night vision, so that's what he does instead:

He tried his trick for seeing in darkness. He let his focus relax and tried to view things from the periphery of his vision. Nothing but an irregularity, perhaps. He moved closer.

I don't understand what the underlined sentence refers to. What is irregular? His trick for seeing in darkness, or the thing he believes to be a campfire?
Thanks a million
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I believe it refers to what he is looking for (but not directly at).

    From Wikipedia: Peripheral vision: Peripheral vision is weak in humans, especially at distinguishing color and shape. This is because receptor cells on the retina are greater at the center and lowest at the edges (see visual system for an explanation of these concepts). In addition, there are two types of receptor cells, rod cells and cone cells; rod cells are unable to distinguish color and are predominant at the periphery, while cone cells are concentrated mostly in the center of the retina, the fovea.

    What you're doing is using your rod cells to gather light and interpret shape, but they're not as good at detecting color and shape as the cone cells in the center of the retina. So it's not surprising that he's not sure if he's seeing something definite or just an irregularity. However, if he were looking directly at it, his night vision wouldn't be as good, so he's doing the best he can with the rods and cones he has. :)
     

    Lilithniahm

    Senior Member
    italiano
    Thanks, suzi and copyright :)
    And how would you define irregularity in this context? a particular aspect of the ground? an optical illusion? Basically, I need another way to say it :D
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I don't really see how you can mistake a light for an irregularity, which I would assume is an aspect of the ground.
     
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