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.

“When the book-selection committee announced its choice, bitterly disappointed library staff members huddled around the Jotul stove, stoking their resentment.”

Wildfires sweep across vast regions of open land without much encouragement, a small spark getting caught up in a wind and turning into a conflagration. But smaller, contained fires usually are not as spontaneous. They need nurturing. This is when a fire-tender “stokes” a fire. If the fire has died down, he stirs its red-hot embers until air can encircle them and cause them to flare again. Then he introduces new fuel that is small enough in diameter to be ignited by the embers and smoldering ash. In this way, a dying fire is given new life and heat again is produced.

When the writer talks about a group of disappointed people “stoking their resentment,” he is using the fire-building metaphor. Singly, the individuals are smoldering with bad feeling. When they gather—symbolically around a wood-burning stove—they figuratively blow on each other’s embers until they together become a hot, open flame of dissatisfaction. The usual conclusion in such situations is that the disgruntlement consumes some of the people, just as a fire consumes a log, and they are destroyed by the experience. The metaphor works beautifully clear to the end.

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