He drove me, screaming, to the fringes of my mind

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Agito a42

Senior Member
Please, help me to understand what the 'screaming' means in this phrase:
"He drove me, screaming, to the fringes of my mind."

I'll give you more context.

A man is telling his brother (who doesn't remember anything from his childhood) what their father did to them when they were children. He says their father was conducting experiments on them to make from them soldiers (or to be more exact, commanders) with psychic powers. So he says:
"Again and again, he tortured us... looking for his psychic commander. He drove me, screaming, to the fringes of my mind, but I was simply growing stronger... closer... to mother."

The mother was locked away from them, and she had the powers. So the man says about his psychic link with her, that it was growing stronger with every 'torture'. Though, he doesn't tell us what those tortures were like.

So, what does the 'screaming' tell us? That the father drove one of his own sons to the fringes of his mind, making him scream? Or perhaps he made him ready to scream?

The story above comes from the video game F3AR.
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    "He drove me to the fringes of my mind and, figuratively, I went towards the edges of sanity and, as I went, I was screaming in terror."
     

    Agito a42

    Senior Member
    Thank you PaulQ for your prompt reply. But I don't understand what makes that 'scream' figurative. I've never come across such a participle. If it is possible, can you give any more examples with similar use of present participles?
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    But I don't understand what makes that 'scream' figurative.
    OK... If you consider the whole sentence:
    He drove me, This is an extended use of "to drive" - "He" did not drive anyone in the way that one would drive cattle or drive a car.
    screaming,
    this is figurative - there is no actual sound. The activity is entirely mental. It means "in such a terror that it would cause a person to scream" It is not the same as when you say "The tiger came towards me and I was screaming." <- you really were screaming.
    to the fringes of
    , -> the fringes is figurative. A mind does not have "fringes". "Fringes" can mean "edges", but the mind does not have edges either.
    my mind -> this is a use in which means "sanity".

    I don't think you would have problems with "I was walking along the road talking." = "I was walking along the road and I was talking." or "I went to the shops thinking.
     

    Agito a42

    Senior Member
    OK, I'm starting to get this :).
    First off, "He drove me, screaming, to the fringes of my mind." - perfectly understood. There's no need to explain the main part.

    Next, I'm sorry, maybe I don't get it right, but do your explanations of the 'scream' from posts #2 and#4 agree?
    "He drove me to the fringes of my mind and, figuratively, I went towards the edges of sanity and, as I went, I was screaming in terror."
    screaming, this is figurative - there is no actual sound. The activity is entirely mental. It means "in such a terror that it would cause a person to scream"
    Anyway, I think you meant the first one, and I want to see where there's the line, so please, consider these variations:
    He drove me, laughing, to the fringes of my mind. (humorlessly, of course)
    He drove me, sobbing/crying, to the fringes of my mind.

    Also, how about whimpering, panting, groaning and moaning?

    If I were to translate any of these versions (including the one with 'screaming') into my language, they would all be expressed, I mean, there would be actual sound in any of the cases. And, to express otherwise, you would need to specify that the action is happening in one's head or mind, not out loud.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    He drove me, laughing, to the fringes of my mind. (humorlessly, of course) sobbing/crying, whimpering, panting, groaning and moaning.

    All are possible.
    And, to express otherwise, you would need to specify that the action is happening in one's head or mind, not out loud.
    The context tells you that this is "in one's head or mind," There is no need to state it as it is obvious. In fact, it would sound strange to state it. The speaker is describing the great mental anguish his father created.

    In literal terms, "to drive someone, screaming," would involve, for example, beating them with a whip with the intention that they travel in a certain direction and, as a result, they were screaming.
     

    Agito a42

    Senior Member
    ... and this is the part where I say "wow" :). The literal version can be translate word-for-word into Russian and I think most of the natives could understand it (the only tinny problem is that the phrase makes us think that it's the "driver" who is screaming, not the one who's being driven). But, the figurative version makes absolutely no sense, none of the natives would understand it. I mean, no one would understand what the 'scream' part is for (the rest can still be translate word-for-word). So, the translation would be either without 'screaming', or with a clumsy subordinate clause consisting of 3, 4 or more words. And that's just to say that someone is screaming in their mind, not out loud :D.
    Anyway, I'm very grateful for your help with this one. Thank you very much!
     
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