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 sets of words are called “figures of speech.” For a figure of speech to be effective, however, a writer must first understand the original meaning of the phrase. The following sentence contains a common figure of speech. Its original meaning is explained.

“As he scanned an audience of peers, the retiring historian gathered his thoughts, culling from a cribful of frustration the kernels of professional delight that might nurture.”

“Culling from a cribful ... the kernels” is an agrarian allusion. It refers to corn, which sometimes is stored whole, still on the cob, in a corncrib. When shelled, the actual volume of edible corn is much less than the crib’s volume of ears of corn. While the corncob is useful, it lacks the nutritional value of the kernels embedded in it.
「從玉米穀倉中挑出玉米粒 (Culling from a cribful ... the kernels)」是帶有農業色彩的引喻,其中提到的玉米,有時以整枝玉米的形式保存在玉米穀倉中,剝下來後可食用的玉米粒,份量會比整枝玉米穗少得多,而玉米梗雖然仍有用途,營養價值卻比不上玉米粒。

As used in a paper about an eminent historian, the metaphor denotes a processing of memories by one who knows both the researcher’s episodic joy of discovery and the exhausting labor of digging. In “gathering his thoughts,” the historian chooses to voice selective career highlights, rather than to dwell on necessary struggles preceding them.

Posted at 2012-04-06 10:57:43

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