angry vessel

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minerv6

Member
French - Canada
Hello,

I stumbled upon this expression, angry vessel, in a book, and I was wondering what the sense of vessel was: vessel as in "a craft for traveling on water," "a utensil used for holding liquids," or something else entirely?

The sentence is: His words were cupped in an angry vessel that circled the indifference in his voice, betraying his emotions.

It's for translation purposes, so I need to understand the exact metaphor. The word cupped makes me see the vessel as a receptacle, while the circling movement makes me want to pick the other interpretation.

Thank you for your help.
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    What a strange sentence!

    I think I'd go for the "utensil" meaning, given that his words were 'cupped' in it; I suppose the words could also go round and round, like a liquid stirred with a spoon.

    I don't envy you, minerv6:eek:.


    PS. I take it you've got no more context? If you have more context, it might help....
     

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It is figurative language and I find it no easier and no harder to understand it than you do. Your reasoning is good.

    Is this for a new publication? Do you have an opportunity to consult with the author?
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Heaven only knows! Who wrote this?

    Logically, it should mean: His words were enclosed in an angry container that also enclosed the indifference in his voice, betraying his emotions.

    However, that is such an amassment of contradictions that I begin to doubt it. It's rare to talk of words in a container - we more often talk of emotions expressed in words. And what on earth is this vessel that circles indifference - his lips and tongue? And how, having encircled it (usually meaning fence it in) does it then betray it?
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    On the off chance I might unearth some context, I went googling and came across this:

    Ravensong—A Novel: - Page 42
    Lee Maracle - 2017
    ... her mother's response to her question some time back about the Depression. “Hardly would have noticed it , 'cept a lot of white boys had to live like we do. They hopped off the box cars and came round the village looking for work in trade for room and board. Granny never turned a single one out without feeding him.” Her words had come out tonelessly, cupped in an angry vessel which circled the tonelessness and betrayed her momma's rage.

    Could somebody have played with this to turn it into your translation text?
     
    Last edited:

    Chasint

    Senior Member
    English - England
    There are lots of other instances too, of “angry vessel”, which may have a biblical connection?
    Not biblical but...

    'Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.' Mark Twain
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hahaha, thank you, all, for your comments. I guess I'll rack my brain some more :)
    Good luck!

    Next time, please could you tell us something about the source and let us know if the original wording has been altered?
     
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