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WHY did he go slightly "pink" ?? WHY did he go pink "with the effort"? What effort? Does "pink" mean angry, embarrassed, healthy or other meaning in this sentence? I am so so not sure what "pink" means this sentence, since some of the following definitions in the dictionary and my own understanding all make sense, but surely there should be ONLY one correct :

In the Collins dictionary it says: If you are in the pink, you are fit, healthy, and happy. In the Collins dictionary it also says: If you go pink, your face turns a slightly redder colour than usual because you are embarrassed or angry, or because you are doing something energetic.

Which is it in this sentence? as far as I understand as the following , all seems right, because:

1 healthy: he is getting out more often rather than stays indoors and with the effort he now looks slightly pink.

2 embarrassed: he is embarrassed because he doesn't enjoy watching morris dancing. (if so, then it leads to why?? is there some culture gap here??

3 angry: he kept a straight face while watching the morris dancing, and a previous fact in the novel suggests he is not a big fan of it, and his face became pink before red.

4 may be he is tired: he kept a straight face and by doing so (with the effort) he became a little tired and the color of his face became pink, showing easily-get-tired. (he is a quadriplegic and any effort cost him more energy than normal person)

5 other explanations

here is the sentence:

We, in the meantime, had gradually been increasing Will’s outings—and the distance that he was prepared to travel. We had been to the theatre, down the road to see the morris dancers (Will kept a straight face at their bells and hankies, but he had gone slightly pink with the effort), driven one evening to an open-air concert at a nearby stately home (more his thing than mine), and once to the multiplex where, due to inadequate research on my part, we ended up watching a film about a girl with a terminal illness.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

The context is that Will is a quadriplegic and in wheelchair and he rarely goes out. "We" means Louisa, his carer and his family. Could anyone help with this silly question?

marked as duplicate by Jason Bassford, Nathan Tuggy, Eddie Kal, Chenmunka, Hellion Dec 26 '18 at 15:05

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  • Who are the morris dancers? As the subject phrase is a reaction to them, we need to know about them. – user3169 Dec 22 '18 at 6:30
  • Not mentioned at all in the novel, seems it unimportant so the author didn't write it. I searched the whole novel, there are only two times "morris" are mentioned, the other is in a conversation in a horse racing watching: ‘Don’t be grumpy. They say you should try everything once,’ I said. ‘I think horse racing falls into the “except incest and morris dancing” category.’ ‘You’re the one always telling me to widen my horizons. You’re loving it,’ I said. ‘And don’t pretend otherwise.’ – user86301 Dec 22 '18 at 7:23
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    I guess it is Morris Dance, but how it fits into the story I have no idea. pink was the result of his not keeping a straight face. Maybe pink: "2. If you go pink, your face turns a slightly redder colour than usual because you are embarrassed or angry, or because you are doing something energetic." Maybe it was too much effort to keep a straight face. – user3169 Dec 22 '18 at 8:01
  • is that because he thinks the dance funny and embarrassing? and he was embarrassed by it, so that his face went pink, but he tried so hard(with effort) not to showing that? – user86301 Dec 22 '18 at 8:22
  • I have checked the morris dance definition in the wikipedia several days ago. I understand it as a culture, but I really don't get it that why embarrassed ? – user86301 Dec 22 '18 at 8:25