and that we asserted, gave off

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jean-h

Member
Korean - South Korea
Hi, I'm quoting Nadine Gordimer's <Burger's Daughter>. The detainees' relations were waiting at the prison door.

We were aware of ourselves and the people belonging to us on the other side of the huge, thick, studded doors in a way that the passers-by
would not understand and that we asserted, gave off--Wallty Atkinson who had no one inside but had been in many times himself, ....


It is hard to explain for me the question itself clearly.:( I'd like to know whether the latter 'that' is connected to the former 'that'.
Is the text saying that we were aware of the people on the other side of the door in a way that we aseserted, gave off?
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It doesn't make sense to me either. I can't work out what the grammar is, or the intended meaning. What is the rest of the sentence - would that help if we knew that? And possibly a sentence before or after it. You're allowed to quote four complete sentences in total.
     

    jean-h

    Member
    Korean - South Korea
    Flora Donaldson and the others talked loudly in high voices the way another kind of woman will do in an expensive restaurant and, if in very different
    circumstances, for the same reason: to demonstrate self-confidence and a forece of personality naturally dominant of an environment calculated to
    impress or intimidate. I draw that analogy now, not then; It's impossible to filter free of what I have learnt, felt, thought, the subjective presence of
    the schoolgirl. She's a stranger about whom some intimate facts are known to me, that's all. We were aware of ourselves and the people belonging to us
    on the other side of the huge, thick, studded doors in a way that the passers-by would not understand and that we asserted, gave off--Wallty Atkinson who had no one inside but had been in many times himself, ....


     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Hmmm. Well, here's what I think it is. You can give off an air, an impression, or some quality such as self-confidence. You can also, I suppose, not just passively give them off but actively assert them. You can't give off or assert a way, but that word is a link in 'in a way'. They had awareness . . . in a way that passers-by would not understand . . . and they asserted or gave off this awareness. 'Asserted, gave off' are two verbs used in parallel with the same 'that':

    We were aware of ourselves . . . in a way . . . that we asserted, and
    we were aware of ourselves . . . in a way . . . that we gave off

    If anyone can offer a better explanation - which might be completely different - I'd be happy to hear it.
     
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