What is the meaning of "When I'd fall into one of them strange sleeps" in the following sentences (Source: PINK and SAY by Patricia Polacco),

My leg burned and was angry from the lead ball that was lodged in it just above my knee. I felt sleepy and everything would go black. Then I'd wake up again. I wanted to go back to our farm in Ohio and sometimes, When I'd fall into one of them strange sleeps, I'd be there with my Ma, tastin' baking powder biscuits fresh out of her wood stove.


Does "When I'd fall into one of them strange sleep" mean "When I'd become one of them, and I'd have a strange dream(sleeps)" ?

3 Answers 3


It really ought to be "One of those" sleeps" but often colloquial speech is used in literature when written in the first person.

The meaning intended by saying "I'd fall into one of them sleeps" rather than simply "I'd fall into a sleep" is to imply to the reader firstly that there is something notable about the sleep, and secondly that you are familiar with the kind of sleep the narrator is referring to - either because you have likely experienced something similar yourself, or because the narrative has already discussed details of their own experience before and are calling back to it.

In a similar way you may hear people say "it's been one of those days" to imply a bad, or unusual day.


Them here is employed to mean those, so the speaker is referring strange sleeps to the antecedent everything would go black.

The usage is very common in many British and American dialects; it is non-standard and is often employed in fiction to mark the speaker as uneducated.


People speak how they speak. That is a fact. The grammar is some kind of regional speech but also marked as ""uneducated" where them is used instead of those. It is very commonly heard in the southern US and certain regions of the UK and Ireland.

The question was: Does "When I'd fall into one of them strange sleep" mean "When I'd become one of them, and I'd have a strange dream(sleeps)" ?

No, it means the person falls asleep and it is a strange sleep where the character experienced life as it was at home.

To fall asleep, to have a sleep. To fall into a strange sleep=to have an experience when sleeping that is strange.

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