To feel again the impetuous tug of a disillusioned brook or rainbow

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lzarzalejo73

Senior Member
Spanish
I am reading A Sand County Almanac, by A. Leopold, and I cannot understand the meaning of "...the impetuous tug of a disillusioned brook or rainbow" in the following contents: "Two hundred miles of hot, dusty road we had come, to feel again the impetuous tug of a disillusioned brook or rainbow. There was no trout".
I can guess they were disillusioned for not having been able to catch any trout in the brook but that does not seem to be the correct interpretation of "the impetuous tug of a disillusioned brook" and much less anything to do with a "rainbow".
I am sure there is a completely different meaning hidden to me, too modest a reader for so poetical a writer. I wish I knew better.
Thanks in advance for your kind cooperation.
 
  • Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    It's a classic case of hypallage: speaking as if the brook, or the rainbow trout, were disillusioned,
    when in reality the angler, the person, is disillusioned, as you said, for not catching a trout.
    Awfully poetic, but keep on reading Leopold—it's a good book.
     

    lzarzalejo73

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Thank you, Cenzontle. Thank you, Minnesota Guy. I love reading it, although I sometimes wonder if I haven't bitten off more than I can chew. Still, it is a wonderful challenge trying to improve my English scope.
    Cheers.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    It's a classic case of hypallage: speaking as if the brook, or the rainbow trout, were disillusioned,
    when in reality the angler, the person, is disillusioned, as you said, for not catching a trout.
    Awfully poetic, but keep on reading Leopold—it's a good book.
    I disagree. As MinnesotaGuy notes, "brook", like "rainbow", refers to a trout. One feels the tug of a trout on a fishing line after the fish takes the bait. The trout on the line is disillusioned because it swallowed the bait thinking it was simply a wholesome meal, but instead discovered that it was attached to a hook on a line, with a man on the other end trying to pull it out of the stream.
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    Aha! I thought I did a good job in recognizing "rainbow" as a type of trout, but didn't think of "brook trout", another species.
    I still can't tell who or what is "disillusioned".
    Leopold says "The evening's fishing proved as disappointing as its auguries," and "There was no trout."
    That would disillusion a fisherperson.
    On the fish's side, disillusionment would be a strange term for the surprise of finding a fishhook in your throat,
    but poetic writers do use strange terms at times.
     

    lzarzalejo73

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Much I love reading A Sand County Almanac, and regardless of my modest, non-qualified opinion, I wonder if A. Leopold was really, personally the writer of such poetic language as, for example, "One bush, with its brown stem laved in the middle current, shook with a perpetual silent laughter, as if to mock at any fly that gods and men might cast one inch beyond its outermost leaf"
    I may be wrong but I would have thought A. Leopold was more interested in transmitting the "ethics of the land", conservationist policies, awareness of the unsustainability of the modern way of life, etc., rather than poetic literature, which of course is always a plus.
     
    I disagree. As MinnesotaGuy notes, "brook", like "rainbow", refers to a trout. One feels the tug of a trout on a fishing line after the fish takes the bait. The trout on the line is disillusioned because it swallowed the bait thinking it was simply a wholesome meal, but instead discovered that it was attached to a hook on a line, with a man on the other end trying to pull it out of the stream.
    I agree, Green, there is a 'tug' of a 'disillusioned trout'--that's what the writer is seeking. The trout thought it was getting food, but got caught instead.


    lsarsalejo: I would have thought A. Leopold was more interested in transmitting the "ethics of the land", conservationist policies, awareness of the unsustainability of the modern way of life, etc., rather than poetic literature, which of course is always a plus.

    ---

    It seems clear that Leopold is doing both, and I congratulate you on tackling him. Metaphors and poetry and difficult topics in a new language.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    As an aside, in BE (and, as far as I know, in the UK) there are no "brook trout" - their European equivalent are "brown trout".
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    I suppose the trout doesn't have to be a concrete one to be disillusioned by the hook.
    The trout in this case is hypothetical, since "There was no trout".
    If you like poetico-scientific literature, after you finish the Almanac,
    read Rachel Carson's The Sea Around Us or The Edge of the Sea.
     

    lzarzalejo73

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Thank you, Cenzontle, but for the moment I am into more prosaic reading, and I've got a long list waiting. On the other hand, I know my limits, I think.
     
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