Senior Member
With no other cars in sight, I made my way to the lifeless form [a cat] just as a jogger went by. The jogger grimaced at the sight of the immobile cat, blood dripping from his [the cat's] mouth. “How’d it happen?” he asked. I replied that I didn’t know; he probably got hit by some careless driver. I just wanted to get him off the road.

The above passage is taken from Bill Broderick's "Life over Death." My question is about the word "grimace." According to the dictionary definition, it means "a sharp contortion of the face expressive of pain, contempt, or disgust." So when the jogger grimaced at the sight of the apparently dead cat, does the jogger's facial expression indicate that he was disgusted by the sight? Or did he feel pain at the death of the cat? For me these two interpretations seem to contradict each other, showing two different reactions on the part of the jogger (if he was disgusted, he might not be a compassionate person; if he felt pain, then he might have love for animals). So I don't know how to make sense out of the word grimace here, because the context seems to offer no clue. Can anybody clue me in? Thanks.
  • icecreamsoldier

    Senior Member
    New Zealand English
    The jogger's expression just shows that he finds the sight shocking and unpleasant, and possibly upsetting. I don't think he lacks compassion, especially because he stops to ask how it happened; otherwise I would have expected him to cross to the other side of the road and carry on.


    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    I would assume that the jogger felt pain at the sight of the dead cat. There is not necessarily a contradiction between feeling sorry for the animal and feeling disgust at the sight of blood dripping from its mouth.

    Cross-posted. I agree with icecreamsoldier.
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