What does that mean? 你真的瞭解這個慣用語嗎?

Imagery buries itself in language and takes on new meaning. The transplanted and transformed word or set of words is called a “figure of speech.” For a figure of speech to be effective, however, a writer must first understand the original meaning of the word or phrase. The following sentence contains a common figure of speech. Its original meaning is explained.

“When the morning sunlight struck the fallen snow, tiny explosions of light made me turn away and shake my eyes free of dazzlement.”

Explosions are marked by violent change. A settled piece of soil suddenly is sent skyward by TNT. A quiet room instantly is rocked by a gunshot that leaves ringing in our ears. The altered state not only is dramatic in its sweep—from zero to 10 on a 10-point scale of change—it occurs in a split second. The human reaction to such change is protective. Our instinctive response to a percussive explosion, whether or not it actually threatens us, is to tense our muscles and senses. We wince, crouch, turn and run, protect our ears or eyes, sometimes cry out or gasp in alarm.

To describe the glint of sunlight off a blanket of fresh, white snow as “explosions of light” conveys several properties of the light. First, it is bright. Nothing in the imagery, nor in our experience, suggests that a bright sun and snow produce soft light. It is piercing in its intensity. Furthermore, when the angle of the sunlight and pitch of the earth is just right, the ricocheting light beams strike our retinas and the effect is dazzling. What do we do? We blink our eyes, turn our head, exclaim about the brightness—as if our eyesight had been assaulted by an… explosion.


Posted at 2013-02-07 10:55:32

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