the ghastly dot of tragedy converging like a cannon ball

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tesoke

Senior Member
USA
Persian
Hi, I cannot understand the meaning of the red part from "The Far and the Near" by "Thomas Wolfe". Would you please explain its meaning. Thanks a lot.

The engineer had driven his great train, loaded with its weight of lives, across the land ten thousand times. His own children had grown up and married, and four times he had seen before him on the tracks the ghastly dot of tragedy converging like a cannon ball to its eclipse of horror at the boiler head[1] a light spring wagon filled with children, with its clustered row of small stunned faces;

[1] boiler head: front of an engine, where water is converted into steam
 
  • cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    Imagine you are the engineer on a train speeding along a long, straight stretch of track. Whatever you see in the distance will be tiny, a "dot." Anything on the track appears to the engineer as a tragedy waiting to happen--hence "ghastly."
     

    tesoke

    Senior Member
    USA
    Persian
    Thank you but I could not understand the meaning of "like a cannon ball to its eclipse of horror" yet. Please explain it too. Thanks again.
     

    cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    If one is unfortunate enough to be directly in the path of an oncoming cannon ball, what one will see is a black spot growing larger and larger until it fills one's entire field of view--an "eclipse" of sorts.
     
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