I'm having difficulty understanding this piece of Stephen King's "The Stand":

He was Bible-reading with her in the living room, but he looked nervous and anxious to get away. Nick could guess why. Her fever had given her a rosy, girlish glow that went jarringly with her bereavement. Perhaps the minister had been afraid she was going to make a pass at him. More likely, though, he had been anxious to gather up his family and melt away over the fields.

The aforementioned woman is suffering a catching virus which only recently killed her husband. The roads of the town are blocked by military blockposts, people can try escaping via woods or fields.

As far as I understand "go with something" means ​to exist at the same time or in the same place as something; to be found together. But I'm not sure of the import of "went jarringly with". What does it mean?

And the dictionary says that make a pass at somebody means to try to start a sexual relationship with somebody. But I don't think it means this in the given text? How do you interpret this text in given context?


1 Answer 1


Went jarringly with means the two things do not go well together, or are inappropriate next to each other. This might be a simple as two colours that clash, or someone delivering bad news in an excited tone of voice.

In this instance being recently widowed does not fit with having a "a rosy, girlish glow" a description that might be more appropriate for a girl attending prom, or on her wedding day, or even a first date rather than being visited by a priest shortly after the death of her husband.

The second sentence leads on from the first. Why does this woman look like someone ready to go on a date? Nick is suggesting a possible explanation that fits both her appearance and the minister's discomfort, outside the real one of the widow's illness and the priests concern about the spreading Super-Flu.

Make a pass here means what it usually does, to begin establishing a relationship that may lead to casual sex.

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