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Hello,

"On the lonely hill overlooking the vast ocean, Tony sat silently. Through the thick fog, he intensely searched for a glimpse of the small boat of his father."
"On the lonely hill overlooking the vast ocean, Tony sat silently piercing through the thick fog searching for a glimpse of the small boat of his father."
"On the lonely hill overlooking the vast ocean, Tony sat silently piercing through the thick fog searching for a glimpse of his father's small boat."

Could we infer Tony's loneliness with that of the hill as shown above?

If that is not clear, should the sentence be changed to:
"On the hill overlooking the vast ocean, alone Tony sat silently ...."

What if we would like to convey a message that the hill also shares Tony's loneliness?

If you will, could you please suggest a better way?

By the way, if 'thick' is replaced with 'dense', would there be any subtle change in the meaning?

With special thanks,
Hoa Thai
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Comments  
Hi,

I don't like the 'sequential use' of two present participles in #2 and #3.

I don't like the use of 'the small boat of his father'.

I prefer the dramatic speed of one sentence rather than two.

How about this? "On the lonely hill overlooking the vast ocean, Tony sat silently piercing through the thick fog to search for a glimpse of his father's small boat."

"On the lonely hill overlooking the vast ocean, Tony sat silently. Through the thick fog, he intensely searched for a glimpse of the small boat of his father."
"On the lonely hill overlooking the vast ocean, Tony sat silently piercing through the thick fog searching for a glimpse of the small boat of his father."
"On the lonely hill overlooking the vast ocean, Tony sat silently piercing through the thick fog searching for a glimpse of his father's small boat."

Could we infer Tony's loneliness with that of the hill as shown above? Yes. I'd say 'infer . . . from . . .' Or possibly use the structure 'imply . . by . . . '

If that is not clear, should the sentence be changed to:
"On the hill overlooking the vast ocean, alone Tony sat silently ...." The 'lonely hill' approach is better.

What if we would like to convey a message that the hill also shares Tony's loneliness?I think you already have, in essence.

If you will, could you please suggest a better way?

By the way, if 'thick' is replaced with 'dense', would there be any subtle change in the meaning? No.


Best wishes, Clive
CliveHow about this? "On the lonely hill overlooking the vast ocean, Tony sat silently piercing through the thick fog to search for a glimpse of his father's small boat."

Thank you Clive!

My original thought was that searching would convey an idea of continuous, unrelenting. Using to search somehow presents a sharp, quick, cut-and-dried image. Is that just a figment of my imagination? Perhaps the sentence would be better if I remove piercing:
"On the lonely hill overlooking the vast ocean, Tony sat silently searching through the thick fog for a glimpse of his father's small boat."
However, if I do that the dramatic tone vanishes!

How about removing searching instead - letting piercing do two jobs, carrying the intensity and doing the search?

"On the lonely hill overlooking the vast ocean, Tony sat silently piercing through the thick fog for a glimpse of his father's small boat."

Thank you,
Hoa Thai
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Hi Hoa,

I believe that your sentence is perfect.
Hoa Thai
CliveHow about this? "On the lonely hill overlooking the vast ocean, Tony sat silently piercing through the thick fog to search for a glimpse of his father's small boat."

Thank you Clive!

My original thought was that searching would convey an idea of continuous, unrelenting. Using to search somehow presents a sharp, quick, cut-and-dried image. Is that just a figment of my imagination? Perhaps the sentence would be better if I remove piercing:

"On the lonely hill overlooking the vast ocean, Tony sat silently searching through the thick fog for a glimpse of his father's small boat."

However, if I do that the dramatic tone vanishes!

How about removing searching instead?

"On the lonely hill overlooking the vast ocean, Tony sat silently piercing through the thick fog for a glimpse of his father's small boat."

Thank you,
Hoa Thai

Hi Hoa Thai,

I am trying to play this scene in my head while reading the words of the drama. As I did, Piercing immediately triggered an unmatched tone contradicting that of “sat silently” in the interpretation. Piercing offers the reader a sense that he is looking / searching intensely in his obscured vision, hoping to catch a glimpse of his father’s boat. Could another verb be used in place of “Silently” / piercing “?

Just my 2 cents....

AnonymousHi Hoa Thai,
I am trying to play this scene in my head while reading the words of the drama. As I did, Piercing immediately triggered an unmatched tone contradicting that of “sat silently” in the interpretation. Piercing offers the reader a sense that he is looking / searching intensely in his obscured vision, hoping to catch a glimpse of his father’s boat. Could another verb be used in place of “Silently” / piercing “?

Just my 2 cents....

Thanks Anon,

I can see where you came from! A slight pause after sat can also attach silently to piercing instead! Could that be even better? Here is an example:

"Her silent killer eyes drill through his heart" -
Could silent in a visual sense mean fixating!

"On the lonely hill overlooking the vast ocean, Tony sat silently piercing through the thick fog for a glimpse of his father's small boat."
vs.
"On the lonely hill overlooking the vast ocean, Tony sat piercing silently through the thick fog for a glimpse of his father's small boat."

The second one seems a bit over-stretching, doesn't it? Could the first one allow the readers the freedom of choice to attach silently to either sat or piercing be better?

Oh, my!
Hoa Thai
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Hi Hoa,

The word piercing doesn’t seem to work well in this context in my opinion. We can make reference of Piercing stares, piercing words, a loud bang pierced the silence of the night etc which will sound ok.

My interpretation:

Tony paced back and forth on the hillside overlooking the vast ocean, searching desperately in the dense fog, hoping to get a glimpse of this father’s small boat….
GoodmanHi Hoa,

The word piercing doesn’t seem to work well in this context in my opinion. We can make reference of Piercing stares, piercing words, a loud bang pierced the silence of the night etc which will sound ok.

My interpretation:

Tony paced back and forth on the hillside overlooking the vast ocean, searching desperately in the dense fog, hoping to get a glimpse of this father’s small boat….
Hi Goodman,

According to your interpretation one should expect people not to seat still, fidget and / or pace around when they worry about the fate of their loved one. Thus, do I understand from you that 'sat silently' is too passive and 'piercing' is too active; the two ideas cannot coexist?

However, isn’t it true that we sometimes see a picture or photograph that seemingly shows a child who’s sit motionlessly for hours fixating their eyes through a window towards the end of a road longing for their loved one to come home? I know a picture is worth a thousand words; therefore, using a single sentence to describe the scene might be fruitless. That is exactly the reason for me to try hoping that I can refine and sharpen my language skills.

Now, allow me to share with you the picture that I like to paint:

The actor: Tony, a small boy.
The landscape: a hill overlooking an ocean
The timing: late in the afternoon.
Tony’s state of mind: lonely and worried sick about the fate of his father, a fisherman.
His physical state: cold, exhausted.

My use of words:

lonely hill: personification – the hill shares Tony’ state of mind.
overlooking: the hill is also in search for Tony’s father.
vast ocean: vast is used to intensify Tony’s loneliness and his smallness (his inability).
sat silently: physical exhaustion; silently is also used to amplify Tony’s loneliness.
piercing through: Tony could be physically exhausted, but his mind concentrates and does not want to give up. His vision pierces through the thick fog.
the dense fog: late in the afternoon and the weather is getting cold.
glimpse: a brief flash of light (hope)
small boat: the precarious condition of his father.

Any ideas besides making a change?Emotion: smile

All the best,
Hoa Thai

Hi Hoa,

Your replaying the scene is unlikely to change my interpretation. Writing drama and descriptive events is open to personal style, taste and interpretations. Exhaustion, anxiety, coldness and desperation were ganging up on his physical and mental state as his eyes were searching over the fog-obscured water for the safe return of his father’s boat. Can someone picture Tony sitting silently with piercing eyes?



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