Can someone give me an explanation on what this following  quote means?"The fog still slept on the wing above the drowned city, where the lamps glimmered like carbuncles and through the muffle and...

Can someone give me an explanation on what this following  quote means?

"The fog still slept on the wing above the drowned city, where the lamps glimmered like carbuncles and through the muffle and smother of these fallen clouds the procession of the towns life was still rolling on through the great attreries with a sound as of a mighty wind".

2 Answers | Add Yours

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This quote shows up in Chapter 5: "The Incident of the Letter."  What the author is trying to do by writing these lines is (in my opinion) to describe the city and to do so in a way that makes it seem spooky and ominous.

First of all, there is the idea that the city is drowned -- that the fog is somehow smothering and choking and muffling it.  All of those images show the fog having a negative effect.

The word "carbuncle" can mean either a jewel or a disgusting looking abscess/boil on your skin.  I think Stevenson means the latter -- that the lamps are just glowing dully and looking unhealthy through the fog.,

So, to me, he's just trying to make it seem very oppressive in the fog-covered city.  I believe Stevenson is trying to do this to convey how much of an effect Hyde's evil has on the characters in the story.

mkcapen1's profile pic

mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

The townspeople are not noticing the fog.  The fog is lingering and the lamps put light on the people's clothing.    The writer has used this term to show that the light has attached itself over the passing people as they walk under them. Fog does not muffle sound but rather creates a calming appearance that gives the appearance of a muffled sound.  As the fog descends over the crowd nothing has changed.  The people walk through the streets and continue to perform their as they tasks as their foot steps and communication is like a dull roar through the fog.

We’ve answered 318,935 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question