<a> victim of my own fear

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VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
On TV: For my entire life, I was a victim of my own fear. I was feeding fear with food. And finally, I looked in the mirror. Not just in the mirror. I looked through the mirror. In that image, I saw my ego reflection.
Donnie Darko, film

The phrase sounds like there were other victims of her fear, she was one fo them.

But what she really means is she was a person who is the victim of their own fear.

Am I correct?
Thanks.
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    It doesn't sound that way to me, Vic.

    I'd see the logic as:
    I was a victim.
    A victim of what?
    A victim of my own fear.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Yes but please look at what's confusing me:

    I was a victim.
    A victim of what?

    A victim of Dr. Death:thumbsup:
    A victim of schizophrenia:thumbsup:
    A victim of drug dealers:thumbsup:
    A victim of my own fear:(
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Other people would be the victims of my actions caused by my fear rather than of the fear itself:)

    It's an advert of some company called "Controlling Fear" providing some sort of psychological help. That's why I thought it should mean the underlined part in the OP.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I'm sorry, I still don't understand what's troubling you, Vic.

    Let's take a similar - and very common - expression: to be a victim of one's own success. You could say that with "the" instead of "a":
    A. He was a victim of his own success.:tick:
    B. He was the victim of his own success.:tick:

    But I suspect A is found more often than B. It's certainly the version that I'd be more likely to use.

    There's no suggestion in A there were other victims.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    [...]
    A. He was a victim of his own success.:tick:

    [...]
    There's no suggestion in A there were other victims.
    I.e., you would agree that this would be a proper rephrasing: "he was a person who is the victim of his/her own success", right?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I.e., you would agree that this would be a proper rephrasing: "he was a person who is the victim of his/her own success", right?
    No, I wouldn't agree. The idea really isn't "He was a person who was the victim"; it is, straightforwardly "he was a victim".

    It's a metaphor, of course: he wasn't actually victimised by his success, and she wasn't actually victimised by her fear. It means that bad things happened to him/her as a result of his success/her fear.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Let me reformulate it like this:

    1. A victim is a person who is a victim.

    2. A victim of fear is a person who is a victim of fear.

    3a. A victim of one's own fear is a person who is the victim of their own fear:tick:
    3b. A victim of one's own fear is a person who is a victim of their own fear:cross:

    Why I don't like 3b is because "someone's own fear" is too specific to keep using the article "a", because one's own fear may only have one victim — the person who feels it.

    Does it make sense?:)
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Have it your own way, Vic.

    All I can say is that your expansion feels wrong to me.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    I don't want to have it my way, but the right way:D

    Just one question:
    A. He was a victim of his own success.:tick:
    B. He was the victim of his own success.:tick:
    These two mean the same (it's not like A implies more than one victim while B mplies only one), right?..
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Yes, the meaning is the same.

    (A) really doesn't suggest that there were other victims.
     
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