I am so so confused by this figurative speech of saying "information boiled down to stark, skeletal facts", and what does it even mean in this sentence??

My guess is that "I found these information superficial, meaningless"?? I gave as much surrounding passage as it could make sense. Could anyone help to explain?

The newspapers and television were full of headlines about what they termed ‘the right to die’. A woman suffering from a degenerative disease had asked that the law be clarified to protect her husband, should he accompany her to Dignitas when her suffering became too much. A young football player had committed suicide after persuading his parents to take him there. The police were involved.…………

But I knew he saw the headlines too. He had begun using the computer more since we got the new software, …………I looked up the same piece at the library. I had begun to read newspapers. I had worked out which of their arguments tended to go deeper—that information wasn’t always at its most useful boiled down to stark, skeletal facts.

The football player’s parents had been savaged by the tabloid newspapers. How Could They Let Him Die? screamed the headlines. …………

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

The context is : "he" is a quadriplegic in wheelchair and "he" also decides to go to Dignitas, and "I" being his carer, try to change his mind in a silent way.

1 Answer 1


When we communicate information, we convey facts (the skeleton) along with our interpretation, commentary, and opinions (the flesh).

I would not personally describe "skeletal facts" as superficial. Superficial communication usually omits important details or information. I suppose the speaker here may consider those opinions and interpretations to be important information, in which case I guess you could say it is superficial.

A lot of times people ask for "just the facts" as a good thing because interpretations, commentary, and opinions do not allow the listener to form their own opinion. It sounds like in this context, the opposite was desired.

  • ha, I think I got it now, particularly because your last paragraph gave me some clue. so in this context, the skeleton fact is"the player commit suicide with his parents beside, which seems horribly horrible. but the speaker tends to go deeper to find more "fact" , or shall I say "truth" behind this sensational "fact". and thanks so much, either I gets this right or not:)
    – user86301
    Dec 23, 2018 at 2:34

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