the usual adulteration of events


New Member
Hello everyone. Would you please help me understand the meaning of this phrase? It is from "The Moviegoer" by Walker Percy. Thanks in advance.

"A repetition is the re-enactment of past experience
toward the end of isolating the time segment which has lapsed in order that it,
the lapsed time, can be savored of itself and without the usual adulteration of
events that clog time like peanuts in brittle."
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  • icecreamsoldier

    Senior Member
    New Zealand English
    I haven't read the book but the writer seems to be criticising how easily we get distracted by day to day things (the 'peanuts').
    A repetition is then a chance to simply 'be' - to experience the passage of time without worrying about anything. It's a bit like how after much practice we can do things automatically without really thinking, such as driving a car, so that we are free to focus on other things like our surroundings, or philosophical ideas in a book we have been reading.

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    The writer does not expect readers to understand the phrase, which is why he explains it by referring to peanut brittle:

    The writer suggests that the "brittle" part (toffee) is the pure "lapsed time", and that this gets adulterated (clogged) by peanuts or, in his analogy, by events.

    The writer has made some unusual choices here: For most people, the peanuts in peanut brittle are the best part, not an adulteration. Use of the word "clog" and the choice of peanut brittle as an illustration of what he means shows that it is not the occasional event that adulterates lapsed time, but a whole succession of them.
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