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They all seem to look alike (though they come from all over)--lean, pointed, dedicated faces, wearing jeans and sandals, eating their buns and bedding down for the night on the flagstones outside the theatre to buy the 20 seats and 80 standing-room tickets held for the sleepers and sold to them when the box office opens at 10:30 a.m.

I have two questions on "lean, pointed, dedicated faces"

  1. Does it mean "they are lean, they are pointed and they have dedicated faces" or "they have lean pointed dedicated faces"?
  2. In either way, what does "pointed" mean?

Thanks, Jeffrey

  • lean, pointed, and dedicated are adjectives modifying faces. You should look up pointed in the dictionary and decide for yourself which meaning applies here. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 19 '19 at 15:00
  • This sentence is not at all clear. I really suspect that "lean" applies to their bodies not their faces, and "pointed" isn't usually used to describe bodies or faces. I'm not sure what a "pointed" face (or body) would look like. You are not the only confused reader. – Lorel C. Jan 19 '19 at 15:36
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    I think those faces may be wearing jeans and sandals. :) – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 19 '19 at 15:37
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@Tᴚoɯɐuo is correct in saying that "lean, pointed, and dedicated" are modifying "faces".

I think, however faces is being used here with a shade of meaning to the people's demeanour and facial expression: as in, how their face appears to the writer.

As to the meaning of pointed the Oxford English Dictionary suggests (among others, which I have omitted):

1a) having a point (ie the faces have pointy chins and visible cheek bones)

5a) Painfully sharp to the senses. [eg Of the eyes, a person's gaze, etc.] (ie the author is feeling muddle-headed and weak in comparison, and is upset by these people giving an aura of leanness, dedication and single-mindedness)

6b) Penetrating, acute, incisive; piercing, trenchant, stinging, etc. (this is much the same meaning as 5a) but more figurative)

I suspect the author means a combination of all three, and is trying to convey that these people are consumed both mentally and physically by the task of ensuring that they get one of these prized tickets.

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