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I encountered a question in a paragraph of the novel " Nineteen Eighty-Four ".

https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/o/orwell/george/o79n/chapter1.1.html

The paragraph is below.

Outside, even through the shut window-pane, the world looked cold. Down in the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals, and though the sun was shining and the sky a harsh blue, there seemed to be no colour in anything, except the posters that were plastered everywhere. The black-moustachio’d face gazed down from every commanding corner. There was one on the house-front immediately opposite. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said, while the dark eyes looked deep into Winston’s own. I encountered questions in the sentence " Down in the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals, and though the sun was shining and the sky a harsh blue, there seemed to be no colour in anything, except the posters that were plastered everywhere ".

Does the word "down" mean "along the path of (something)" in the sentence "Down in the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals"?

Why the word "in" is put between "down" and "the street" in the sentence "Down in the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and torn paper into spirals"?

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    Could you please ask one question per question post? It's okay if you make multiple posts about the same text as long as each contains exactly one question. Just edit this post to remove every question but one, then post the others separately. Thank you!
    – user230
    Jan 26, 2016 at 14:14

1 Answer 1

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In this context the word down implies that the writer is above the street at a higher window and looking downwards towards the street.

The word in is used as emphasis to indicate that the writer is looking inside the street rather than along it. It is used to negate that there is something beyond the street, but that the reference is to something just below and contained within the street and between the buildings.

As you noted, the phrase down the street could be used to indicate something at a distance along the path. In this usage it does not.

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  • I am not very clear about the sentence "but just below contained within the street between the buildings". Jan 26, 2016 at 15:33
  • @LiXiaodong I have refined the wording. Does that help? Jan 26, 2016 at 15:51
  • @Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩: It can also mean that the writer is North of that described part of the street, or can it? You know - "down south", "up north".
    – InitK
    Jan 26, 2016 at 16:58
  • @InitK - It might, but not in this context. Jan 26, 2016 at 17:07
  • @Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩: Thanks. It's funny how geography of the place you live in affects how you read/understand things. Here everything is down south, while we are up north :)
    – InitK
    Jan 26, 2016 at 17:10

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