peer in and out

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kahroba

Senior Member
Persian
Dear all. What's meant by "peer in and out" in the following context from "Manhattan Transfer" by Dos Passos:
Time: 1920s, Location: somewhere near Broadway in NY. An old man sits on the brownstone stoop with his face in his hands. A continual stream of people pass him towards the theaters down the street. The old man is sobbing through his fingers.
Middle aged people look the oher way. Two girls giggle shrilly as they look at him. Street urchins nudging each other peer in and out through the dark crowd. "Bum Hootch."
 
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  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    "Peer in and out" is unusual in this context. DP seems to be referring to the crowd as a sort of large space or room that the urchins can peer into and out of. When I visualize the passage, the adults standing in the dark crowd are more or less just objects or props. The urchins are the active agents who are running around and peering around peoples' waists or between their legs.
     
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