Reading the Detectives discussion

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General chat > The Dagger with Wings by G. K. Chesterton

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message 1: by Ahmed (new)

Ahmed Samir | 8 comments I need some help to understand something in this story, anybody can help me?


message 2: by Judy (last edited May 11, 2020 01:56PM) (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8969 comments Mod
Hi Ahmed,

Sorry, I don't think I have read this, though I may have done as I have read some Father Brown short stories.

If you post your query here someone may be able to help you. :)

I have removed the thread you posted in group reads, as that is just for the books we have voted for in our monthly polls.


message 3: by Ahmed (last edited May 11, 2020 02:00PM) (new)

Ahmed Samir | 8 comments Hi Judy,

Ok no problem.

Here is my query:

In this paragraph: "Then he went back and sat down again, staring at the dark carpet, which again glowed blood-red with the light from the glass door. Something in the filtered light set his mind drifting on certain borderlands of thought, with the first white daybreak before the coming of colour, and all that mystery which is alternately veiled and revealed in the symbol of windows and of doors."

What was "this mystery which is alternately veiled and revealed in the symbol of windows and of doors"?


message 4: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 1376 comments Is this a Father Brown story? It might have a religious connotation.

Like Judy, I have not read this story.


message 5: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8969 comments Mod
Ahmed wrote: "What was "this mystery which is alternately veiled and revealed in the symbol of windows and of doors"? .."

I have now read this Father Brown short story - thank you for mentioning it, Ahmed. I think it is a fine story, quite similar in feel to some of the Sherlock Holmes story.

I think the sentence you ask about is very obscure, so I can't be entirely certain of its meaning. But I will say what I think it probably means.

It comes in a context where Father Brown is wondering about the possible solution to a mystery, as he looks at the light effects. So I think it is referring to the doors and windows sometimes being closed, and sometimes opening and letting in light, as symbols of the answers to the mystery being hidden or revealed.


message 6: by Ahmed (last edited May 13, 2020 04:24PM) (new)

Ahmed Samir | 8 comments Judy wrote: "Ahmed wrote: "What was "this mystery which is alternately veiled and revealed in the symbol of windows and of doors"? .."


I have now read this Father Brown short story - thank you for mentioning i..."


Thank you, Judy, for reading it, and I'm really grateful for you.

So you think that the answers to the mystery were being hidden or revealed like doors and windows of his mind were being open and shut?!


message 7: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8969 comments Mod
Ahmed wrote: "So you think that the answers to the mystery were being hidden or revealed like doors and windows of his mind were being open and shut?!..."

I don't think I quite worded this right, sorry... I think doors and windows are being described here as symbols of mysteries being hidden and revealed in general, as well as this one specifically. I also think there is a religious feel to the prose here.

Ahmed, I will just post something else about this behind a spoiler tag (just in case anyone comes across this thread who is just about to read the story).

(view spoiler)


message 8: by Ahmed (new)

Ahmed Samir | 8 comments Judy wrote: "Ahmed wrote: "So you think that the answers to the mystery were being hidden or revealed like doors and windows of his mind were being open and shut?!..."

I don't think I quite worded this right, ..."


Now it's clearer, actually the mentioning of windows is what confused me, as the passage has just two doors.

So he saw on the carpet first white daybreak before the coming of colour, then he felt a mystery which is alternately veiled and revealed (as if) some general doors and windows (not necessarily the doors and windows of this room ) were opened to reveal it then closed to veil it again?


message 9: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8969 comments Mod
That sounds as if it is probably right to me, although I still think it is quite an obscure sentence.

Did you like the story overall, Ahmed?


message 10: by Ahmed (last edited May 14, 2020 12:06PM) (new)

Ahmed Samir | 8 comments Judy wrote: "That sounds as if it is probably right to me, although I still think it is quite an obscure sentence.

Did you like the story overall, Ahmed?"


Yes, I like the twist and the fantasy in it, although I didn't like the philosophical aspects in the end of it very much. And to be honest, I feel some of them obscure too.

And if you have some time, I'd be grateful do discuss them with you.


message 11: by Ahmed (new)

Ahmed Samir | 8 comments Actually I can't get the whole meaning of this paragraph:

It isn’t defending a man to say he is a genius,” said Father Brown. “Far from it. And it is simply a psychological fact that an artist will betray himself by some sort of sincerity. Leonardo da Vinci cannot draw as if he couldn’t draw. Even if he tried, it will always be a strong parody of a weak thing. This man would have made something much too fearful and wonderful out of the Wesleyan Methodist.”

Nor this description:

". It was as if there could be a green furnace of cold which wakened all things to life like warmth, and that the deeper they went into those cold crystalline colours the more were they light like winged creatures and clear like coloured glass! It tingled with truth and it divided truth from error with a blade like ice; but all that was left had never felt so much alive. It was as if all joy were a jewel in the heart of an iceberg."


message 12: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 8969 comments Mod
The first one I think means that if a talented person tries to hide their talents they will somehow betray themselves.

I don't really get the second one either, though it is a poetic piece of writing. I agree with you that I didn't like the philosophising at the end of the story very much, and also found some of that a bit obscure, so I don't think I could be much help there.


message 13: by Ahmed (new)

Ahmed Samir | 8 comments Thank you so much, Judy.
I'm really grateful for you.


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