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It seemed to Alfred that this was the way it had been every time he had been in trouble before, that this trembling had really been in her as she hurried out half-dressed to the drugstore. He understood why she had sat alone in the kitchen the night his young sister had kept repeating doggedly that she was getting married. Now he felt all that his mother had been thinking of as they walked along the street together a little while ago. He watched his mother, and he never spoke, but at that moment his youth seemed to be over; he knew all the years of her life by the way her hand trembled as she raised the cup to her lips. It seemed to him that this was the first time he had ever looked upon his mother.
This is the end of a short story I've been reading. The simple words, with which this short story ends, confuse me. Please, what do you take looked upon to mean in this context? I very much appreciate your help. Thanks in advance.
(Please post in English)
Hier findest Du erine ausführliche Erklärung.
Ein Ausschnitt daraus:
This is why the last line of the story, ‘‘It seemed to him that this was the first time he had ever looked upon his mother’’ is so moving. The challenge of life is always to see anew, not to let the film of habit or custom dull or distort perception. The image of the trembling hand holding the teacup, and the effect this has on Alfred, is surely a secular version of an epiphany—the illuminated, transforming moment in which a spiritual reality shines through a mundane object.
All the Years of Her Life Essays and Criticism - eNotes.com
The epiphany being - to my mind - the insight into his mother's emotional life and troubles.
"But at that moment, his youth seemed to be over; he knew all the years of her life by the way her hand trembled as she raised the cup to her lips. It seemed to him this was the first time he had ever looked upon his mother." This leaves us to think about the hardship his mother has endured all her life, and Alfred's maturity and newfound empathy for his mother. ...
Thank you very much to all who answered. I appreciate the information. Look upon is such a simple phrasing here I don't really understand. Is there any other phrasing or any synonym for look upon that fits the context? Thank you.
It’s certainly unusual, and I would think either literary or regional.
Perhaps the intended sense, though, moving on from and beyond the simple act of regarding carefully, is that listed in OED at “look,” “phrasal verbs 2”---"look upon, 2" : “intransitive. To regard, pay heed to; esp. to regard with favour, hold in esteem”---or at least in this direction.
Great help. I think that hits the mark. Thank you so much for helping me. :)
@keeblerelf: Please use the forum "Sprachlabor / Language lab" below for your enquiries relating to the meaning of English expressions. This is the forum for the English translation of German terms.