Under the seams of the hour, boys struggle in a dozen different arenas. Four hundred children crawling along the edge of a razor.

What does the seams of the hour mean here?

  • No idea. This appears to be poetry. Poetic uses can often not be clearly explained. – Colin Fine May 3 '16 at 10:40
  • Does not dose. They are two different words! – Alan Carmack May 3 '16 at 13:59
  • A little more context would help us avoid a great deal of speculation, since "seams of the hour" is not an idiom like "in the nick of time". – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 3 '16 at 18:22
  • These selected German kids in an elite school face mentally, physically harsh, perversive training and education in Hitler's time. After reading the comments and answers, 'an hour after hour that was pressed upon them' comes to mind. What do you think? – whitecap May 3 '16 at 18:50

If we take the passage literally (as we must, since we do not interpret poetry here) ...

I would surmise that "the hour" is a reference to the academic "hour", and the "seams" refer (figuratively) to the time between classes when students move through the hallways of the school on to their next class. During this between-time they confront their individual existential dramas.

The difficult word is "under". Its literal sense may be an oblique reference to the clock that typically hangs high on the wall in school hallways. It is also associated with the domains of subjugation and oppression, which would be borne out by the words "struggle" and "crawl".

  • The 'seams' must be a metaphorical usage of the actual meaning: 'In sewing, a seam is the join where two or more layers of fabric, leather, or other materials are held together with stitches.'. – Varun Nair May 3 '16 at 13:13
  • 1
    Literally a seam refers to the place where one thing is joined to another (it needn't be stitchery -- metal and wood joinery involve seams as well, for example, and there are seams in sidewalks and roadways). When referring to an intangible, the use would have to be figurative. – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 3 '16 at 13:38

Sometimes writers use (invent) a metaphor that is not clear. This is one of those times. Unless you ask the author what he means, all we can do is try to figure it out, and this results in head scratching and guessing. If a metaphor's meaning is not apparent, then the author has failed to communicate. Maybe he doesn't care, but nonetheless he has.

Exactly how an hour has seams and what is meant by under these seams escapes my ability to decipher the author's meaning. Even the meaning of (the) hour is not clear. Hour has different meanings.

Perhaps he is alluding to some saying in an English other than American English. In that case the intended meaning might be clearer.

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