Wu Ting
How would you interpret the phrase “in your own words” in the context? MR. WOOD (the president of the hearing): Mr. Shepherd, I will put to you then a different question. Could this so-called artwork also be called Communist propaganda? MR. SHEPHERD (the defendant): In my opinion, sir? Art takes its meaning in the eye of the beholder. MR. RAVENNER (the counsel): Could you state an answer in plain English? What was the purpose of the concealed objects you transported into this country? MR. SHEPHERD: May I answer freely? MR. RAVENNER: In your own words, yes. All right. MR. SHEPHERD: The purpose of art is to elevate the spirit, or pay a surgeon’s bill. Or both, really. It can help a person remember or forget. If your house doesn’t have many windows in it, you can hang up a painting and have a view. Of a whole different country, if you want. If your spouse is homely, you can gaze at a lovely face and not get in trouble for it. (Laughter in the gallery.)How would you interpret the phrase “in your own words” in the line: MR. RAVENNER: In your own words, yes. All right. Thanks. And this excerpt is taken from The Lacuna by Kingsolver.
Jul 12, 2015 4:37 AM
Answers · 1
"In your own words' means exactly that - you are free to give your answer in any way (using whatever word you choose). From reading previous extracts, it seems that Ravenner has previously put constraints on Shepherd's answers, at one stage insisting he must just answer 'yes' or 'no', so Shepherd is sensitive to the fact that he may be reprimanded if he starts talking in a way the questionner doesn't like - he has already been told to use 'plain English', so is perhaps concerned that if he starts talking about art in the way he wants to Ravenner may object that he is not speaking plainly, or avoiding answering the question in a straightforward manner - like all lawyers, Ravenner prefers yes no answers and doesn't like it when the witness goes off on a tangent!
July 12, 2015
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Wu Ting
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, French
Learning Language
English