shake down your clinkers for you.

From Fahrenheit 451:


"...you are the Book of Ecclesiastes. See how important you've become in the last minute!'
"But I've forgotten!"
"No, nothing's ever lost. We have ways to shake down your clinkers for you."

The dictionary meanings of 'clinkers' viz., 'something unsatisfactory', 'a failure', 'wrong musical note', 'the stony residue from burnt coal or from a furnace' do not seem to fit the context. Can someone help me understand this?
 
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    When you burn coal in a fire, you shake down the clinkers, which don't burn, to try to get them down to the bottom, in the hope that they may pass through the grate.

    I don't think 'shake down your clinkers' is a common way of saying stir up your ideas, but I suspect that this is how Bradbury is using it here.

    The word clinker doesn't appear in the Bible.
     
    When you burn coal in a fire, you shake down the clinkers, which don't burn, to try to get them down to the bottom, in the hope that they may pass through the grate.

    I don't think 'shake down your clinkers' is a common way of saying stir up your ideas, but I suspect that this is how Bradbury is using it here.

    The word clinker doesn't appear in the Bible.
    Thanks for the effort, Thomas Tompion. Could it mean since Montag says he has forgotten the Book of Ecclesiastes, a comparison is made between what remains in his mind and burnt coal? That is, if he can get rid of the clinkers, he will be ready to be ignited again...this is just loud thinking, taking it from your clarification.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Thanks for the effort, Thomas Tompion. Could it mean since Montag says he has forgotten the Book of Ecclesiastes, a comparison is made between what remains in his mind and burnt coal? That is, if he can get rid of the clinkers, he will be ready to be ignited again...this is just loud thinking, taking it from your clarification.
    I think those are good ideas.

    Ray Bradbury is an American writer, and I'm sorry we haven't yet had any American input here.
     
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