Help with my reading comprehenshion...

Dear Teachers:

I read this paragraph from Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire and have a question about the last sentence:

“He felt her looking, and turned and waved. It was that alone that kept the workers at their task. They would have preferred him on the bank supervising (instead of working with them). But a man who would pause to wave at his daughter – well, that was a gesture they could read. All together now, and lift. Lift.”

“All together now, and lift. Lift” seems very fragmental to me and I don’t understand what it’s talking about? The workers’ movement after seeing their boss waving at his daughter??

Hi all potted out

It sounds to me as though the boss and his workers are working in a river (in the water) and are trying to lift something out of the water. I understand the literal meaning of the quote “All together now, and lift. Lift.” to be a command from the boss to the workers. The boss is telling the workers what to do.

Without knowing any more of the story (context), it’s a little hard to interpret anything else. But in view of the sentences just before it, it seems like the author wanted to indicate that the boss’s wave to his daughter made him more human and more like one of the workers and also part of the team and that encouraged them to accomplish the task at hand (i.e., lifting something).