General Question

cyn's avatar

Ugh Homework help? Please!

Asked by cyn (6913points) September 16th, 2009
14 responses
“Great Question” (1points)

“Doc awakened very slowly and clumsily like a fat man getting out of a swimming pool. His mind broke the surface and fell back several times.” John Steinbeck

2. To what does “surface” refer? (Remember, writers strive for complexity rather than simplicity.)

As you can see, I have no idea what the phrase “broke the surface” means. This is true complexity.~ May you please explain to me what it means.

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DarkScribe's avatar

Awareness – becoming awake.

rabbitheart's avatar

The phrase broke the surface is most likely alluding to what happens when one gets out of a pool, they ‘break’ the (otherwise flat) surface of the water, creating a splash.
In this case, the writer is comparing the state of consciousness to the surface of the water, so the man is drifting in and out of the state of being awake, much like a fat man would struggle to get of the water and break the surface tension.

cyn's avatar

@DarkScribe If his mind became aware, why would he fall back several times?
—I really should have payed more attention my freshman year while going through all this John Steinbeck’s lesson.~-
[edit: nevermind]

cyn's avatar

Thank-you (:

La_chica_gomela's avatar

I would say the barrier between consciousness and unconsciousness, literally, as in, being asleep and awake, but possibly in a more metaphorical sense as well, Steinbeck often wrote about class struggles, etc, so becoming aware of himself as a human being, etc.

As far as why he would fall back, because when you wake up, you often fall back asleep once or twice before you really get out of bed, a fat person might have to make a few tries before they make it all the way out of the swimming pool, and (the kicker) when we strive for some greater achievement, or to “get somewhere in life”, we often fall a few times before we attain it.

Tealuvertia's avatar

splash water on your face, or walk outside, to help awaken you.

cyn's avatar

@La_chica_gomela Wow! Thanks. (: Really nice comparison.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

by the way, which of his works is the quote from?

cyn's avatar

Good question. Hmm, I have no idea.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Thanks @rabbitheart. I’ve never read that one. @cyndihugs, you might want to do some research on what the book is about, and try to relate the quote to the themes presented in the work.

oratio's avatar

That was a nice way of describing coming in and out of consciousness. Guess it’s true that you loose something when you read a translated copy.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

“lose something”.

cyn's avatar


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