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But one thing she had acquired in town was the ability to be glamorous, to divorce herself, by means of paints and polishes, from that other world. (From ACT)

What does "divorce herself from that other world" mean? Specifically, "that other world" ?

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We sometimes use the word "world" to mean, not the entire planet or world system, but the sphere or scene of one's life and action. For example, people sometimes say "my children are my world" to mean that their children are the main focus in their life. We may also compartmentalise different aspects of our life as different "worlds" - for example, our work life and our home life.

In your example, it appears to be talking about a "world" in which a person has to look glamourous in order to be part of it. Perhaps it is a career path or a social scene. When the person puts on makeup (paints and polishes) they become, figuratively, a different person in a different "world", and this separates (or "divorces") them from whatever less-glamorous world they normally inhabit or have left behind.

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  • I haven't looked at the source, but from the fragment we've been given it would seem that since "she" used glamour / cosmetics to divorce herself from that "other world", that other world must be something other than the world of glamour. We don't know exactly what it was, but presumably it was the world she lived in before she went to the glamorous "bright lights" of whatever town/city she went to. – FumbleFingers Nov 3 '20 at 17:11

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