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Voici la source:

Every man, says a philosopher, is a wanderer at heart. Alas! I fear the axiom would be truer if he had confined himself to stating that eve­ry man loves to fancy himself a wanderer, for when it comes to the point, there is not one in a thousand who can throw off the ties of civilized existence—the ties and the comforts of habits which have become easy to him by long use, of the life whose security is ample compensation for its monotony. Yet there are moments when the cabined spirit longs for liberty. A man stands a-tiptoe on the verge of the unknown world which lures him with its vague promises; the peaceful years behind lose all their value in his dazzled eyes; like him, “qui n’a pas du ciel que ce qui brille par le trou du volet,” he pines to stand in the great free sunlight, the great wide world which is all too narrow for his adventurous energy. For one brief moment he shakes off the traditions of a lifetime, swept away by the mighty current which silently, darkly, goes watering the roots of his race. He too is a wanderer like his remote forefathers; his heart beats time with the hearts long-stilled that dwelt in their bosoms, who came sweeping out of the mysterious East, pressing ever resistlessly onward till the grim waste of Atlantic waters bade them stay. He remembers the look of the boundless plain stretching before him, the nights when the dome of the sky was his ceiling, when he was awakened by the cold kisses of the wind that flies before the dawn.

  1. Le que dans 'qui n’a pas du ciel que ce qui brille par le trou du volet': est-il:

1.1 une conjonction de subordination ?

1.2. une conjonction de comparatif ?

1.3. un pronom interrogatif. Ceci m'apparaît faux, car la phrase n'apparaît pas dans une question.

1.4. un pronom relatif

1.5. un adverbe exclamatif?

1.6. un adverbe qui signifie 'seulement'?

  1. Que signifie cette phrase ?

  2. Je ne comprends pas la métaphore dans le sujet. Comment peut quelqu'un posséder du ciel ?

  3. Je présuppose que les volets sont fermés. Ainsi, peu d'éclairage perce les trous des volets.

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Quelle est la nature de que dans 'qui n’a pas du ciel que ce qui brille par le trou du volet'

Que ne doit pas être considéré isolément. Il fait partie de la locution restrictive ne ... que, adverbe de perspective.

Que signifie cette phrase ?

Qui à une vision complète du ciel et pas la vision limitée que l'on aurait à travers le trou d'un volet si l'on était dans l'obscurité d'une pièce aux volets clos.

Je ne comprends pas la métaphore dans le sujet. Comment peut quelqu'un posséder du ciel ?

Avoir ne signifie pas posséder ici mais plutôt avoir devant les yeux, percevoir.

Je présuppose que les volets sont fermés. Ainsi, peu d'éclairage perce les trous des volets.

Oui. On ne peut apercevoir qu'une partie limitée du ciel à travers un trou présent dans un volet.

Une expression proche est par le petit bout de la lorgnette, qui signifie que l'on a pas une vision d'ensemble de son environnement mais seulement une vision limitée (et grossie dans ce dernier cas).

  • « Avoir devant les yeux » est plutôt bien trouvé dans ce contexte. « Profiter » marche aussi je pense. En fait, ce « avoir » peut se trouver dans d'autres contextes et il a un sens assez flexible. – Stéphane Gimenez May 27 '18 at 22:50
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As Stéphane suggested, it implies the "exclusivity" of what follows. I will elaborate with two distinct examples, and then discuss your quote.

First Example

Je n'ai que ça à faire

is the same as:

J'ai seulement ça à faire

which you can rephrase as:

Je n'ai rien d'autre à faire.

All of them being three ways of saying you have nothing else to do.


Second Example:

"Il ne fait que manger et dormir"

translates conveniently into:

"He does nothing but eating and sleeping

You can see a symmetrical structure that clarifies the translation between both languages. Nonetheless it rephrases awkwardly in french into the [ seulement / rien d'autre ] forms:

"Il ne fait rien d'autre que manger et dormir" where you still have to use the "que" after the "rien d'autre"), and "Seulement il mange et il dort" where you have to invert "eating and sleeping" into the active verbs on the sentence (and it looses the frenchness in my ears).


In Your Quote

"Qui n’a pas du ciel que ce qui brille par le trou du volet"

Is actually phrased in a complex style; I had to think it twice or thrice myself because there may appear to be more negatives than what there really are. Consequently, I have to slightly disagree with Mr. Stéphane, and I believe the context proves me right:

I would translate it in a rough non-poetic manner as "The only pice of sky he [experienced/watched/enjoyed/etc.] is none but the one that shines through the hole on his shutter"

The text speaks of "civilised" men as having a "cabined spirit [that] longs for liberty", (that) "pines to stand in the great free sunlight"; but one might argue that (men) only "loves to fancy himself a wanderer" as no one is really willing to cut "the ties of civilised existence", i.e. the "comforts [...] of the life whose security is ample compensation for its monotony". And yet we (men, humans) long for freedom, sunlight, liberty, and so on, as our ancestors did, the first humans, as we are seduced to throw the status quo, the ideology of our "peaceful years behind", in favor of the wilderness.

Clearly, this archetype of a "civilised man" hasn't enjoyed sunlight but for the scarce amount he gets thought the hole in his shutter. This implies that his windows and shutters are closed, leaving him in darkness and confinement, in an hyperbolic and yet totally allegorical manner. That's why this man longs for "sunlight in the open".


Lastly, and having nothing to do with your question, but with the text: does modern man "fancies himself as a wanderer" and "pines to stand in the great free sunlight", because there is an anthropological connection with our ancestry, our animality; OR because we romanticise the concept, by contrast to our current lifestyle?

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1.6 “Seulement”. You should understand “avoir de quelque chose” somewhat as “enjoying something”. What part he can enjoy of the sky isn't solely that which shines through the hole in the shutter.

  • L'extrait était en anglais j'ai donc cru bon de répondre en anglais, mais je m'aperçois que tu poses la question en français. En fait… j'ai du mal à trouver une autre formulation en français. – Stéphane Gimenez May 26 '18 at 22:59

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