Tearing free. Ripping free

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Yunhee

New Member
Korean
Hi, I am Yunhee from Korea. I am reading the novel "Hatchet".

"Tearing free. Ripping free" from the paragraph below, what does this mean?

He ripped at it until it released and somehow—the water trying to kill him, to end him—somehow he pulled himself out of the shattered front window and clawed into the blue, felt something hold him back, felt his windbreaker tear and he was free. Tearing free. Ripping free.

Does this mean that he has now completely escaped from the airplane?

Thank you in advance.
 
  • Orble

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    He certainly tore free of whatever was holding him back. Whether that means he was out of the aircraft depends on the rest of the story, but it sounds likely to me.

    I am not really clear about what element of English expression has confused you here. Perhaps it’s just the use of short sentences in dramatic prose like this?
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    "Tear" and "rip" are almost synonymous here. Both verbs can be used with "free" to mean to tear or rip so much that the thing is free from whatever is holding it, and here I think there is also an association with "breaking free" which means escaping.
     

    Yunhee

    New Member
    Korean
    He certainly tore free of whatever was holding him back. Whether that means he was out of the aircraft depends on the rest of the story, but it sounds likely to me.

    I am not really clear about what element of English expression has confused you here. Perhaps it’s just the use of short sentences in dramatic prose like this?

    He certainly tore free of whatever was holding him back. Whether that means he was out of the aircraft depends on the rest of the story, but it sounds likely to me.

    I am not really clear about what element of English expression has confused you here. Perhaps it’s just the use of short sentences in dramatic prose like this?
    Yunhee: Thank you very much for your reply. I was wondering whether "tearing" and "ripping" are used as adverb to modify adjective "free." I should have specified my question more in details. Sorry.
     

    Yunhee

    New Member
    Korean
    "Tear" and "rip" are almost synonymous here. Both verbs can be used with "free" to mean to tear or rip so much that the thing is free from whatever is holding it, and here I think there is also an association with "breaking free" which means escaping.
    Thank you. Then I think they could be used like idioms.
     
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