jeter des rats morts au visage

publisherbeth

Member
English -- U.S.
Bonjour! I am translating a play in which the character is berating her companions for their color prejudice. She says that activist women have certain duties: "ne pas nous dérespecter, ne pas nous jeter des rats morts au visage pour des comparaisons de couleur de peau!" "Throwing rats in the face" is a powerful image, but I didn't now if the phrase might also be an idiom. How should this be translated in this context?
Merci beaucoup!
 
  • publisherbeth

    Member
    English -- U.S.
    It is a direct quote. She is a native French speaker and a decorated author. Perhaps it is an anglicization. Any thoughts on my original question?
     

    SteveRusso

    Senior Member
    Français de France
    [...]

    Throwing dead rats at one's face might be another idiomatic West Indies expression.
     
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    publisherbeth

    Member
    English -- U.S.
    Thank you both for your responses. I didn't want to miss the possibility that it was a common figure of speech in French. I'll run it by some friends in Guadeloupe to see if it is a common saying there or just an image painted by the author.
     

    Cath.S.

    Senior Member
    français de France
    Trouvé deux occurrences dont la première est justement une question posée par une traductrice italienne à l'auteure Suzanne Dracius :
    p. 187, « qui va encore… me jeter des rats morts dans la figure ! » : cette exclamation de Cidalise, c’est une expression qui a un signifié métaphorique ?

    — Oui, le sens d’insulter, de jeter des choses désagréables, horribles, à la figure de quelqu’un.


    et dans un autre contexte :
    ensuite il m' a jeté des rats morts au visage en crachant sur mon arbre généalogique.
    Bref, je dirais que l'expression n'est pas très commune mais imagée et compréhensible.
     

    JeanDeSponde

    Senior Member
    France, Français
    I fully agree with Cath. The author either invented it, or used a hardly-known local expression (or some family turn).
    But it is strong, evocative and immediate.
    Throwing dead rats in the face should be as evocative as the French - unless it happened to be close to some different-meaning English colloquialism.

    [...]
     
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    publisherbeth

    Member
    English -- U.S.
    Thank you so much Cath.S. and Jean Desponde. Since I was translating a play by Suzanne Dracius, it is interesting to see it is a term she has used before and seems to be fond of. I agree, it is a strong, and very colorful insult.
     
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