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So I have these two line in the book i'm reading, and i'm having a problem understanding the second one:

(And for the context, the main character is endlessly walking though a dark and silent ruin, where he can only hear his own footsteps)

ふいに、声が響いた。

その声に足を止めた瞬間、終わりを見失っていた永遠が唐突に幕を引かれる。

What confuses me the most here is その声に, what is the に particle modifying/interacting with here?

My best guess is that it is the indirect object for 引かれる... but there's a comma after 瞬間, is that saying that that に can't work in the next clause? that it should be working just for the first one?

So my attempt in translating this line is:

1 - "For that voice, in the moment his feet stopped, (something?) puts an end to the eternity that was losing sight of the end."

or

2 - The moment his feet stopped, that voice puts and end to the eternity that was losing sight of the end.

I am guessing this "eternity" is his endless walk through these ruins.

ps: I'm sorry that it sounds too literal, a lot of those words are new to me so I got their meanings mostly from Jisho.

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This に just qualifies the next phrase, 足を止めた. The usage falls under the following definition in the dictionary:

動作・作用の原因・理由・きっかけとなるものを示す。…のために。…によって。「あまりのうれしさに泣き出す」「退職金をもとでに商売を始める」

But speaking more specifically, it belongs to a certain use case where the thing before に is a stimulus that triggers the subject's (often spontaneous) reaction.

悲惨な光景に言葉を失う be struck speechless by a disastrous scene
人の優しさに涙する be moved to tears by the warmth of people
飛行機の轟音に耳をふさぐ stop one's ears against the roar of airplane

So, in this context:

その声に足を止めた瞬間
At the moment when the voice made him(?) stop walking, ...

  • Thanks a lot for the detailed answer!! Do you think that it would also be possible to say 「その声が、足を止めらせた」to mean roughly the same?And if so, which one do you think it's more usual/natural in your opinion? – Felipe Oliveira Jan 19 at 0:44
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    @FelipeOliveira その声が足を止めさせた瞬間 would be less immersive because IMO it'd sound as if you're viewing the whole scene from elsewhere, not by the side of the character. (btw voice can be counted animate if it comes from a human) – broccoli forest Jan 19 at 1:17
  • Oh, it would sound more like someone narrating the scene, right... that makes it clear to me, thanks again!! – Felipe Oliveira Jan 19 at 1:24

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