Q&ACategory: ReadingHow to understand the "each curve broke into planes"?
ailee Asked 2 years

The context is ” It was a body of long staight lines and angles, each curve broke into planes”

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Paul Staff answered 2 years

I think it’s important to consider the word “body” in this sentence. As Luke mentioned, “body” most often refers to the human body. However, for the sake of answering questions, I’ll discuss another definition of “body.” “Body” can refer to “the main section or part of something.” In this example, let’s think of a car. A car has a “main body” which I think of as where the people sit. You could say, “The main body of the car held several people.”
Now, to your question, “It was a body of long straight lines and angels, each curve broke into planes.” Now, let’s put that into the example with the car. “It was a body of long straight lines,” could mean, the body of the car (where people sit) was very long and had no curve at all. “each curve broke into planes,” could refer to the front and back of the car as each moves toward the long and straight lines of the body of the car. 
This is a strange way to speak about a car, and I wouldn’t recommend it. I only present this answer as another way to think about the given question. With little to no context, there is always room for interpretation. 

iamuwajimayaiamuwajimaya Staff replied 2 years ago

Yeah, context is key.

iamuwajimaya Staff answered 2 years

I wouldn’t exactly call that context, but I’ll try my best to explain it with such limited information. I don’t know if we are talking about a building, a house, a person, a space ship.
 
I’ll assume we are talking about a person. If this is the case, the writer is using some very literary English to describe the frame of this person’s body. Keep in mind that this kind of description is really not common in spoken English.
 
So, to the question.
 
‘Long straight lines’ is probably a reference to a lack of muscle, or it could mean that this person is tall. 
 
‘Broke into planes’ means (I think), that after each joint, the shape of this person is rather flat, elongated, straight. A plane is a flat surface that continues for some time, and I think it is kind of literal here. Maybe it is just to emphasize the lack of muscles, or to give the reader the feeling that the person in question is lanky or bony. That’s the impression I get.
 
So, why does he say ‘broke into planes’?
 
To break into something is to begin it suddenly. We could say in another situation, ‘once I broke into a workout routine, it was pretty easy to lose weight’. This kind of phrase isn’t common, it does explain the idea, and I think that’s what the author was going for. 
 
-Luke

aileeailee replied 2 years ago

Thanks Paul and Luke for your illustration. This phrase is from “Fountainhead”, which describes the outline of the main character.

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