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The writing on the wall

[ 2009-09-11 09:08]     字号 [] [] []  
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The writing on the wall

Chantal Anderson

Reader's question: Bill saw the writing on the wall and resigned his job before he was dismissed. Could you explain “the writing on the wall”?

My comments: The phrase “writing on the wall” originates from a bible story in which writing warns of danger and misfortune. Found in chapter five of Daniel in the bible the story takes place during a feast in which the King of Babylon Belshazzar and his guests witness a hand appear and write a warning on a plaster wall at the party. Daniel interprets it as a bad omen and later that evening the King is slain.

Today the phrase is used to foreshadow a negative event, or action.

Pop group Destiny’s Child (http://www.destinyschild.com/) came out with an album titled “The Writings on the Wall” in 1999, and throughout the album brought up ideas of prefiguring betrayal in relationships to keep with the theme of “the writings on the wall.”

Here are some examples of the phrase: 1) Felicia found marks of another girl’s lip stick on her boyfriend Fernando’s shirt collar and told her best friend Raven about it. Raven told her “the writings on the wall,” so Felicia decided to end the relationship. 2) Word was floating around the office that Flora would soon be fired from her job. She saw the writing on the wall and quit before she was dismissed.

Related readings:

 Set the record straight

About the author:

Chantal Anderson is a multimedia journalist at the China Daily Web site. Originally from Seattle, Washington she has found her way around the world doing photo essays in Greece, Mexico and Thailand. She is currently completing a double degree in Journalism and International Studies from the University of Washington.