I could not understand this paragraph meaning.

He might be out of jail at last, but the emotional taint of his shameful months of captivity clung to him with a tenacity..that no amount of bathing could banish

I am referring to this
at last he out of jail. but he in shame of his taint. But I am not exactly sure which meanings are correct in this context.

  • at last is an idiom that means: finally.
    – Lambie
    Jun 4, 2018 at 20:35
  • 1
    A taint is an odor or residue. But here the word is used metaphorically. It is an emotional taint that arises from his shame at being in captivity. Shame clung to him like an odor or residue that washing could not remove.
    – TimR
    Jun 4, 2018 at 20:41
  • 2
    As a side note, you have to say "he was out of jail" and "he was in shame of his taint". Just saying "he out of jail" doesn't include a main verb.
    – stangdon
    Jun 4, 2018 at 21:19

1 Answer 1


In simple words: the guy is ashamed because he was imprisoned for months. He tried to bathe the shame out, but it didn't work. The phrase "emotional taint" is a metaphor representing the feeling of guilt that never really left him. It clung to him with tenacity, which means he couldn't get rid of it.


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