the fingers trailed after her leading wrist

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Gabriel Aparta

Senior Member
Español - Venezuela
Hi everyone, please, from Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck:

She looked up at Lennie, and she made a small grand gesture with her arm and hand to show that she could act. The fingers trailed after her leading wrist, and her little finger stuck out grandly from the rest.

I don't get the image at all, what is she doing with her fingers and wrist?

  • Barque

    Lift your arm, bend your fingers in towards you, except for the little finger which you need to keep pointing away, and you'll have an idea of the gesture she was making.

    Her fingers trailed after her wrist because her wrist was further away from her body than her fingers, except for her little finger.

    Something like the right arm of the man on the right in this picture, but with the hand turned even more inwards: picture. (It isn't a very good representation of the gesture you refer to, but the best I could find.)
    Last edited:

    Gabriel Aparta

    Senior Member
    Español - Venezuela
    Boy, that's hard to picture, her palm was facing her I guess, now, what does trail after mean please?

    Thanks and sorry if I'm being to annoying.


    Senior Member
    English - US
    There's an image in my mind of a woman standing and smoking. She has the arm with the cigarette in the air next to her head, the arm supported at the elbow by her other hand. I just found an image that is close enough online:
    Notice that her fingers are further back than her wrist. In that sense, her fingers are trailing her wrist. If she were to wave her arm forward, pivoting at the elbow, her fingers would trail her wrist in the sense of what you have quoted: They follow her wrist in its motion. Finally, get rid of the cigarette, leave the three fingers closest to her thumb bent as they are, and have her raise her little finger straight up. That completes the picture.

    The woman in your quote thinks of this motion as a dramatic accent to her performance.

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