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Under the glass

Posted by Cath from Beaumont's Angels on November 29, 2003

In Reply to: Under the glass posted by MichaelFr on November 29, 2003

: Hi ! (bonjour !) the French guy again !

: I found this phrase in a novel : "that'd be OK most days but on this one you just said it yourself, we're under the glass."

: The context is two detectives talking about their ongoing inquiry, a hot topic for broadcasters and the population, as a celebrity in town has been slain. They have like a 48 hours deadline to find the murderer, and cannot consider being distracted in any way. "this one" in the text is meant for "this case".

: What is the meaning of "we're under the glass" ?

: Thanks, have a nice day.

Well, i'm not a native speaker, so I can't be adamant(?) about it, but I would personally tendto think that there's a pun (jeu de mot) on glass. For me, when the author makes his detective say "glass", he means "magnifying glass" (loupe). This should be a way of indicating that they are under close scrutiny (= everybody is watching their moves), and at the same time it becomes a kind of joke, as in all caricatures,the magnifying glass is the tool (outil) of the detective. Usually the detective is the one holding the magnifying glass, not the one under it. In french I guess you must call it "une mise en abîme" . Sorry , I haven't found the English term for it. The best example, I guess, would be a TV: on the Tv you see a TV on which you see another Tv on which ...and so on and so on....
I hope this is not too farfetched ? (you have to know that when you study English literature at French universities you are trained to see things and interpret them in very weird ways sometimes)