The entire lake forms a shape resembling a peanut or a foetus, the choice of description depending, perhaps, on the kind of stay a visitor happens to be having.

The above is an excerpt from Wheels, a novel by Arthur Hailey. The novel is about auto-mobile industry; but I'm unable to understand what he means by stating the text above in bold. How can the mood of visitor decide whether the lake is shaped like a peanut or a foetus?

Can someone explain a little bit about this? I couldn't find the text available online, so I can not provide a link to it. :(

  • 3
    In silhouette a fetus and a peanut have very similar shapes but very different emotional impacts. Hailey is not saying that the visitor's mood determines the shape, but that it determines which word the visitor uses to describe the shape. Jun 21 '13 at 11:54

The author may be saying that the visitor will associate the shape with the mood he or she is in. Peanuts are often consumed while a person drinks. A newly married person may think of being pregnant. So, depending on the purpose of one's stay, one can associate the shape with the subconscious thoughts of the visitor.


The person seems to be on vacation, therefore "staying" near the lake for a few days.

The person's vision of the amorphous shape may be related to the kind of "time" she is having (good, bad, or indifferent), during her "stay." A happy time may be associated with a happy vision and vice-versa.

So "stay" in this context would be synonymous with "time."

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