torn from his throat

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imchongjun

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Hello, teachers.
I have a question about a metaphorical expression in the following passage:

"My friend," Von Ragastein said at last, speaking with the air of a man who has spent much time in deliberation, "you speak to me of Germany, of my homeland. Perhaps you have guessed that it is not duty alone which has brought me here to these wild places. I, too, left behind me a tragedy."
Dominey's quick impulse of sympathy was smothered by the stern, almost harsh repression of the other's manner. The words seemed to have been torn from his throat. There was no spark of tenderness or regret in his set face.

I am not sure what "the words seemed to have been torn from his throat" means. I guess that this sentence refers to how Von Ragastein have just spoken, but what does the sentence suggest? Does it mean he have spoken harshly?
 

Horsa

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I have to say it is not at all clear. :-? However, my feeling is that it could refer not to Von Ragastein but to Dominey. The 'words' in question being words of sympathy he was about to speak but couldn't utter because of the other's manner.

I am by no means certain though, the use of pronouns here is confusing to say the least.
 

fromatto

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It's not altogether clear, so this is a guess: Von R has difficulty talking about his presence here and in particular about a tragedy in his past. His face registers how painful it is for him to talk about this, so much so, that his words seemed to have been torn from his throat. The image is one of horror in remembering his past. Dominey's feelings of sympathy were eradicated by the harshness of Von R's expression.

It's not great English, but.....
 

Horsa

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And on reflection I think I now agree with fromatto. :)
 

apex2000

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The words seemed to have been torn from his throat.
This definitely refers to the utterance by Von Ragastein.
It is 'author's licence', or what we know to be vivid description and not at all normal speech.
The author is attempting to paint a picture of a person having difficulty getting the words out, as if they are stuck in his throat, and they are spoken with difficulty, emotion. Rather overdone description.
 

imchongjun

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Thank you very much, everyone. Each comment is very, very helpfu.
 
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