In "The Song of Flying Fish" by G. K. Chesterton, the author was describind the dreams of someone, saying:

Boyle, being young, was naturally both the healthier and the heavier sleeper of the two. Though active enough when he was once awake, he always had a load to lift in waking. Moreover, he had dreams of the sort that cling to the emerging minds like the dim tentacles of an octopus. They were a medley of many things, including his last look from the balcony across the four grey roads and the green square. But the pattern of them changed and shifted and turned dizzily, to the accompaniment of a low grinding noise, which sounded somehow like a subterranean river, and may have been no more than old Mr. Jameson snoring in the dressing-room.

What's meant here by "pattern", I mean how "pattern" can turn to "noise"?

1 Answer 1


In the context of this dream, the dreamer is seeing these things: four grey roads and a green square. But, like it happens in a dream, they shift and change shape, and no longer appear as the (implied) square, but twist around "dizzily".

The "pattern" in this context means "the visual arrangement", which changes in dreamspace to something more chaotic and less easy on the eye.

The "noise" is another concept being introduced at the same time, and is independent of the "pattern" being seen -- or should I say, they are "dependent" only in the sense that they are happening together.

  • So we can say that "their outline changed dizzly, while there was a accompaniment of a low grinding ...." not turn to literally? Jun 7, 2020 at 8:44
  • "Shifted and turned, dizzily", the word "turn" here meaning "to rotate", "to change position by spinning slowly", as opposed to "to change (into)" Jun 7, 2020 at 8:49
  • 1
    And while that happened, there was accompaniment of a low grinding .... Jun 7, 2020 at 8:53

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