Community Web Version Now Available
Wu Ting
How would you interpret this sentence? “It sickens me to think you and your old haggard wife might raise another America-hating child. I hope she is barren.” “Go back to your own filthy country. When we need Mexican’s opinion of America we’ll ask.” “I’m proud to say I don’t own your book, if I did it would go in the fireplace.” Well, naturally I felt a twinge at that one. After our newspaper-burning party. But Mrs. Brown said fiddlesticks, it’s usual to start the fire with a newspaper when it’s no longer of any use. “This is something different. It’s not civilized. Imagine saying any such things to a human person.” “No, you’re right. They’re an angry bunch.” How would you interpret this sentence “Imagine saying any such things to a human person”? According to the reply “no”, I guess it means “would you say any such things to a human person”? PS: the narrator was a novelist who receiving several hateful letters. The first three passages were part of those letters.
Jun 11, 2015 1:20 AM
Answers · 2
Wow, you have some difficult questions, haha. I'll try my best. The speaker is describing the terrible treatment he has received from the people in this community. He is overwhelmed by the cruelty of their words, and he says the phrase "Imagine saying any such things to a human person." This sentence sounds like a request or command as if the speaker is telling his friend to actually imagine it, but really it's just a more forceful and emotional way of saying "Can you imagine saying any such things to a human person?" So you are correct that the speaker is basically asking “Would you say any such things to a human person”? The response to that question is "No." Because the listener agrees with the speaker's point which is: It's unimaginable that one human being would speak to another human being in this way! By saying "No, you're right", the listener is literally saying "Yes, I agree with you. These people are doing the unimaginable by speaking to us like this"
June 11, 2015
Nice effort
June 11, 2015
Wu Ting
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, French
Learning Language