I have a question about ように in the following sentence. As far as I can understand まるで~ ~ように here emphasize counter factuality, and would be translated like "as if, just". However I cannot understand what exactly does it connects to, maybe 「もかも純白のこの部屋」?


Translation attempt:

The boy again and again looked at the photograph, which looked out of place in this pure white room as if he suffered from fastidiousness.


  • 1
    まるで潔癖症を患ったように modifies 何もかも純白の.
    – user1016
    Sep 21 '14 at 16:22
  • 2
    @DarkAkira It is not a very good sentence as is. Are you sure there is not one more comma somewhere? Sep 21 '14 at 23:31
  • Is there more context? Where is this from?
    – dainichi
    Sep 22 '14 at 0:18
  • Added the context!
    – renchan
    Sep 22 '14 at 7:54

I would parse it like this:


... the adverbial phrase 「まるで潔癖症を患ったように」 modifying the adjectival phrase 「(何もかも)純白の」.

I would personally write it this way, though:


or maybe like this:


If 潔癖症を患ったように modified 視線をやっていた, then it should be written as this:




*So this is why @l'électeur asked in his comment: "Are you sure there is not one more comma somewhere?"


As you said, the meaning of "まるで~のように" is " as if".

I think first "少年はまるで潔癖症を患ったように" modify "何度も視線をやっていた" and "何もかも純白のこの部屋に似つかわしくないその写真" is object but I notice this sentence can be explained otherwise like "まるで潔癖症を患ったように" modify "何もかも純白の部屋".

This sentence can be explained both like "少年は潔癖症を患ったように、何度も視線をやっていた" or "まるで潔癖症を患ったように何もかも純白の部屋".


(Edited thoroughly after OP provided the context)

潔癖症【けっぺきしょう】の患者 is a person who pathologically loves cleanness and compulsively keep washing everything. Without the context, I had difficulty parsing this sentence with confidence. Specifically, I didn't know whether "潔癖症を患ったように" modifies "純白の部屋" or "視線をやっていた".

  1. 潔癖症を患ったように純白のこの部屋 ((?)pure white room which looked as if it had 潔癖症)
  2. 潔癖症を患ったように写真に視線をやっていた (looked at the photo as if he had 潔癖症)

(The second one makes sense, because "repeated checking" is one of the symptoms of this psychiatric disorder)

But with the context OP provided, there is only one way to interpret this sentence. While "whiteness" of the room was emphasized in this chapter (蚕の繭の中にいるようだった), the boy remains basically calm and collected (少年は…大人びた表情で何かを静かに考えていた). So obvisouly, the first one is the author's intention.

That said, I'm afraid this 「まるで潔癖症を患ったように純白の部屋」 is awkward, because a room never gets sick! It is the owner of the room who may get sick. You have to add extra characters to make this phrase valid: 「まるで潔癖症を患った人のものであるかのように純白の部屋」, or "pure white room which looks as if it belongs to a person with 潔癖症." After fixing this error, the whole sentence looks OK (although very complicated):


  • 1
    比喩表現(擬人法)じゃないんですか。また、人が「蚕の繭の中にいる」ことはありえないのに「まるで蚕の中にいるようだった」という表現は可であるのに、a room never gets sick だからといって「まるで潔癖症を患ったように何もかも純白のこの部屋」といえないのはどうしてですか。
    – user1016
    Sep 22 '14 at 13:25
  • つまり、「潔癖症のような純白の部屋」とは、文字通り「部屋が病気を患う」という「擬人法」の比喩だ、ということですか? この文脈で、部屋自身が人間のように「キャー、私の壁や私の天井が汚れるのはイヤ!」という感情を抱いているところを想像すべきでしょうか? 流石にそれは唐突すぎると思うのですが…。そのような解釈をするよりは、「潔癖症の人が掃除したかのような純白の部屋」と補って解釈する方がマシかなと思います。
    – naruto
    Sep 22 '14 at 14:29
  • 「潔‌​癖症の人が掃除したかのような純白の部屋」じゃぜんぜん文学的じゃないでしょ・・・
    – user1016
    Sep 22 '14 at 14:37
  • 「潔癖症のような白い部屋」「鬱病のような青色の空」「不眠症のような漆黒の海」……。うーん、こんな文学表現は聞いたことはないし、個人的には違和感がありますが、そういう「文学表現」です、と言い切られたら、まあそういう表現なんですかね。
    – naruto
    Sep 22 '14 at 14:46
  • さ~ね・・・でも「鬱病を患ったかのようなXX色の空」なら「青色」より「灰色」とかのほうがいいかも・・・
    – user1016
    Sep 22 '14 at 15:28

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