the sound of heartrending


Anna Karenina, by Tolstoy Leo.

"She had not looked for such cruelty in her sister, and she was angry with her. But suddenly she heard the rustle of a skirt, and with it the sound of heart-rending, smothered sobbing, and felt arms about her neck. "

Hi everyone, I have been thinking for a while, but still have no idea what "the sound of heartrending" refers to in this sentence. Can anyone help me out with it?
  • Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    'heart-rending' is adjectival to sobbing. You can tell this by the hyphen.

    But suddenly she heard ... sobbing... The sobbing was both heart-rending and smothered.
    Last edited:
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