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Below is an excerpt from a book called "Crying in H Mart".

I didn't have the tools then to question the beginnings of my complicated desire for whiteness. In Eugene, I was one of just a few mixed-race kids at my school and most people thought of me as Asian. I felt awkward and undesirable, and no one ever complimented my appearance. In Seoul, most Koreans assumed I was Caucasian, until my mother stood beside me and they could see the half of her fused to me, and I made sense. Suddenly, my "exotic" look was something to be celebrated.

Is it close to the meaning of "I(the author) finally understood"?

Or is the part marked in bold connected to "until my mother..." and translated to "People in Korea thought I was Caucasian until [they saw my mom next to me and I(the author's appearance) made sense to them]", as in "they could see/understand why I looked like this"?

It's confusing cause I'm not used to this usage of saying "a person makes sense".

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  • "Criticism, discussion, and analysis of English literature" are out of scope for this site.
    – Leachoid
    Mar 16, 2022 at 8:35
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    I'd say it's in scope for the site. It's about the meaning of a phrase in a book, not about the deeper subject matter.
    – jsheeran
    Mar 16, 2022 at 8:37
  • It is also borderline "your answer is provided along with the question, and you expect more answers: “I use ______ for ______, what do you use?”"
    – Leachoid
    Mar 16, 2022 at 8:49
  • I'd suggest that the feeling of unfamiliarity you experience reading that sentence is intended to mirror the out-of-place feeling that the character is experiencing. Mar 16, 2022 at 17:40

1 Answer 1

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In Seoul, most Koreans assumed I was Caucasian, until my mother stood beside me and they could see the half of her fused to me, and I made sense.

To 'make sense' of something means to understand it.

In this context it means that the people who saw her with her mother could finally understand her mixed-race heritage. Whereas previously they assumed she was caucasian, seeing the features she clearly inherited from her Korean mother helped them understand, and she (her physical appearance) "made sense" to them.

It is a slightly unusual way to express it, but it makes sense in the context. Just as I said "it makes sense" just now, meaning it makes sense to me, she is saying that she makes sense to those looking on.

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  • But this is not somebody making sense of something. It is something making sense to somebody. The meaning is (almost) the same. but the syntax is different.
    – TonyK
    Mar 16, 2022 at 18:45
  • @TonyK That's hypercritical considering that the author doesn't give a preposition and, as you say, the meaning is the same.
    – Astralbee
    Mar 17, 2022 at 8:43

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