This is from the story named: Desirée’s Baby by Kate Chopin

When the baby was about three months old, Desiree awoke one day to the conviction that there was something in the air menacing her peace. It was at first too subtle to grasp. It had only been a disquieting suggestion; an air of mystery among the blacks; unexpected visits from far-off neighbors who could hardly account for their coming. Then a strange, an awful change in her husband's manner, which she dared not ask him to explain. When he spoke to her, it was with averted eyes, from which the old love-light seemed to have gone out. He absented himself from home; and when there, avoided her presence and that of her child, without excuse. And the very spirit of Satan seemed suddenly to take hold of him in his dealings with the slaves. Desiree was miserable enough to die.

Dose it mean that At first she just thought that something might have been happened but she was not sure?

I looked it up but I dont get the meaning of "disquieting suggestion." Actually I dont get the meaning of “suggestion" – "suggestion" has several meanings but I dont know which of them to use here.

  • 1
    Have you looked up "disquieting" in the dictionary? – Tashus Oct 23 '18 at 17:58
  • Yes I looked it up but I dont get the meaning of "disquieting suggestion" Acctually I dont get the meaning of "suggestion". "suggestion" has several meanings but I dont know which of them to use hear. Thanks in advance. – Viser Hashemi Oct 23 '18 at 18:12

"Suggestion" most commonly means to propose an idea or give advice to someone. I can suggest that we eat pizza tonight. I can make a suggestion to buy Google shares.

However in this text in your question the relevant definition is a little different:

3. To make evident indirectly; intimate or imply: a silence that suggested disapproval.
American Heritage Dictionary

5. A hint or trace: just a suggestion of makeup; the first suggestion of trouble ahead.
American Heritage Dictionary

3.to give an indirect or vague hint of: his face always suggests his peace of mind.
Collins English Dictionary

3.a slight trace: a suggestion of tears in his eyes.
Collins English Dictionary

As the definitions show, a suggestion in this sense is like a hint, or a clue, or a sign. Sometimes you know if someone is happy or sad, even if they don't tell you; it's the little signs and hints that you read from them that let you make that judgement. If my boss calls me and tells me to visit his office because he wants to talk about my performance, there's a suggestion that I may be in trouble.

So in a way you were right when you said "something might have been happened but she was not sure", because suggestions aren't explicit, they are like little clues that make us form impressions of things.

"disquieting" you can read as "worrying" or "troubling".

So you can read "disquieting suggestion" as "worrying hint".

It was at first too subtle to grasp.

Too subtle, not explicit or obvious at all, hard to see or understand.

It had only been a disquieting suggestion;

It was only a worrying hint/clue/suspicion.

So yes, she at first had a feeling that something wasn't right. Then her husband's behaviour started to change. He would avoid looking at her, he would spend long periods away from the house. And when he came to the house he would avoid both her and the child.

That seems like quite a difficult book to read. Did you understand "air of mystery"? It's basically like an environment or ambience of mystery.

This story sounds scary.

Edit: By the way, this story was written around 1893. It's quite hard to understand language that old, especially if you're learning.

  • Lots of thanks for your complete answer. about "air of mystery" I searched on the net and one of the meaning was that everybody have a same feeling that something terible will happen. but in the way you answered it means that the atmosphere there was mysterious or awful or the behavior of staff was strange. Am I right? – Viser Hashemi Oct 23 '18 at 20:51
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    Yes, for "air" in this sense the dictionaries give words like "environment"/"ambience"/"atmosphere". It's obviously metaphoric. Like you know, sometimes you think you can feel something in the air. Like something is going to go wrong, or maybe something good is going to happen. – Zebrafish Oct 23 '18 at 21:12

Suggestion in this context it means "an idea that is shared with someone". In combination with "Disquieting" This could be said as "uncomfortable idea" or "upsetting idea". Disquieting has an emotional impact that says more than uncomfortable, but less than upsetting.

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