I come across some very confusing usage of words and phrases when I read the novel the shining.

Like in this sentence:

1. Look here. You open an close theses ducks by pulling these rings. (The coworker Watson is showing the protagonist how to operate a boiler correctly)
2. Then Watson gave the pressure wheel a spin and dumped the boiler off.
3. Now you got to remember to come down here twice a day and once at night before you rack in.
As to the first sentence, I don't understand what "ducks" mean here(what are ducks doing in a boiler room?), nor do I understand the whole sentence.
As to the last two sentences, I don't understand what "dump off" and "rack in" mean here.

Dear teachers, would you explain them to me?
Thank you very much.

I think 'ducks' is being used there as a phonetic spelling for 'ducts'. Those would be the pipes that lead in or out of the boiler

Over a period of time, a boiler will fill up with dirty and rusty water. In order to keep the boiler working well, you need to get rid of that by letting it all flow out. I believe it's known as 'dumping the boiler'

I'm not sure about the third one. I would guess at the triangular frame that is used in games such as pool, snooker or billiards, which is know as the rack. To 'rack up' or 'rack in' means to set the balls up for the game. So, loosely, it would mean 'to take your leisure time, to play a game, to relax'

Hope that helps


... I'm really not sure about the third one. A 'rack' can also be the punch-card system at a place of work, where each member of staff has a card on a rack. They use it to record the time that they have arrived at work and left, usually in association with a clock mechanism that makes a mark on the card. If that is the meaning then, in UK English, we might say:

- You need to make sure you've done those things before you clock out

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Thank you very much for your detailed answers. I guess the third phrase just means "go to sleep", but I'm not sure either.
Besides, could you tell me the meaning of the first sentence("You open an close these ducks...")? The whole sentence seems very strange and doesn't make sense to me.

PS: It is common for native speakers to replace one word with another word which is phonetically similiar to the former one?
There are some words which are often confused by native speakers, duck / duct is one, specific / pacific is another, as well as sloppy pronunciation such as an/and in this example. So the phrase should be 'open and close these ducts'. 'Rack time' is forces, especially Navy, slang for sleep, in a bunk bed or 'rack'.
Thank you very much. It seems many novels(or movies, etc) are full of this kind of "misspelled" words or phrases and difficult slangs that make non-native speakers have difficulty understanding them.Emotion: yawn
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Hi Vic

Yes, thanks for that third one. I wasn't confident that I had got it right


As a final note, a picture of someone adjusting the flow in a duct (or duck!). It's not usual to replace words with phonetic spelling but it happens in genre novels because it shows how the person actually said the word at the time. It gives the reader a feeling for how the word was said


Credit:Popular Mechanics (for education use)
The author is telling us a lot about the character and his background by the way he speaks.
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