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(The Twilight Zone) Henry Bemis, now just a part of a smashed landscape, just a piece of the rubble, just a fragment of what man has deeded to himself.

If to deed means "convey or transfer (property or rights) by legal deed," than I'm not sure that man can deed total annihilation to himself. You cannot leave something to someone knowing that your recipient won't exist.

Is there a possibility that to deed also means to do? "What man has done to himself" makes perfect sense.

  • +1 Yes, it's tricky and a nice one to ask. I agree with you what man has done to himself fits. That's because deed in the context of some property cannot happen between you and you! But it's ambiguous as the previous clauses describe nothing but property! – Maulik V Mar 14 '14 at 7:11
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"Deeded" here means just what you say. It's similar to saying "willed" as in left to another person in a will.

So the Twilight Zone line means that by his actions, the man has left for himself the circumstances he now faces. Since the line says "what man has deeded" instead of "what the man has deeded" it's also meant as a warning to us all. If we have a nuclear war, for example, we will have deeded ourselves the consequences (an uninhabitable planet).

"Deed" in the other sense you mention, as an act, is always a noun, never a verb. So, "deeded" can only mean "conveyed" or "showed/established ownership" with a deed, a legal document. In the case of the Twilight Zone, there is no literal deed, it's a metaphor.

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