with which your heart is [heaving]

Irelia20150604

Senior Member
Chinese
The quotation comes from Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (Chap. 27) | Genius

Quotation: “Pity, Jane, from some people is a noxious and insulting sort of tribute, which one is justified in hurling back in the teeth of those who offer it; but that is the sort of pity native to callous, selfish hearts; it is a hybrid, egotistical pain at hearing of woes, crossed with ignorant contempt for those who have endured them. But that is not your pity, Jane; it is not the feeling of which your whole face is full at this moment—with which your eyes are now almost overflowing—with which your heart is heaving—with which your hand is trembling in mine.
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Hi everyone! I don't understand "heaving" here. WR dictionary tells me "to heave" means "to raise or lift with effort". But how does it work here?
 
  • bennymix

    Senior Member
    From M-W online

    [heave]
    intransitive verb
    1. 1 : labor, struggle
    2. 3 a : to rise and fall rhythmically
    It's a metaphor, Irelia. "My heart is heaving with grief," for example, means this:

    It's laboring, beating strongly, but with difficulty, as if it were filled with or burdened with grief.


    ADDED: Note also that 'heart' is often more than the physical, as Paul says, below. It's an imagined location/organ, as in "My heart is broken."
     
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    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    "... with which your heart is heaving ..." = with which your mind is in turmoil

    to heave - to move up and down (like a ship on the sea) or lurch, often in an uncontrolled, random fashion

    The heart is considered as the seat of the emotions
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Oh... that is not the same thing. This is talking about Jane's emotions: "heart is beating" is not usually metaphorical.
     
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    bennymix

    Senior Member
    But "My heart is beating with pity." somehow lacks force. :)

    One might say, of course, "My love for you is in the beating of my heart" or "My hearts beats with love for you."

    But the sentence in the OP is suggesting extremity, NOT simple 'beating'. 'Heaving' suggests labor or effort or difficulty. As in "Her body was heaving with sobs over her lost child."

    :idea: I see. Thank you both.:D Hmmm... I'd say "heart is beating" is more understandable to me.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    ...the feeling of which your whole face is full at this moment—with which your eyes are now almost overflowing—with which your heart is heaving—with which your hand is trembling in mine.

    The other examples he gives are more graphic: he can see her face, her overflowing eyes, feel her hand trembling. I think perhaps he wants to say "your breast is heaving", but out of delicacy he says "heart" instead. Strong emotion causes breathing difficulties, revealed by a "heaving" chest.
     
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