Your ass belongs to me.

Mostafa Bayoumi

New Member
Arabic
The warden of The Shawshank prison said the text below to the new prisoners:

I believe in two things. Discipline and the Bible. Here you'll receive both. Put your trust in the Lord. Your ass belongs to me.
Welcome to Shawshank.
 
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  • grassy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I watched that fragment. The warden seems to be suggesting that he will have absolute control over the prisoners' lives.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thank you for the context. I agree with Grassy. God will look after their spiritual well- being but the warden has control over their physical welfare.
     

    luigii

    New Member
    Hungarian
    Where does the phrase come from? Is this a known prison slang? A few years before the movie came out I'd heard it in a Megadeth song (also prison themed)
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    If 'ass' is to be taken literally then it might refer to sexual practices, among other allusions. I'm no expert on prison slang but it's the sort of thing that goes back a long time.
     
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    Besides that, it's synecdoche: M-W online:

    synecdoche​

    noun

    syn·ec·do·che sə-ˈnek-də-(ˌ)kē

    : a figure of speech by which a part is put for the whole (such as fifty sail for fifty ships), the whole for a part (such as society for high society), the species for the genus (such as cutthroat for assassin), the genus for the species (such as a creature for a man), or the name of the material for the thing made (such as boards for stage)

    The 'ass' is the person, the whole person. Instead of "I killed him."=> "I smoked his ass."
    Example. "You are done for, defeated" = "Your ass is grass." "The Principal will punish you." => "The Principal will have your ass for this!" It is, after all, an important, even central, part of your physical being!
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Yes, it's not to be taken too literally in this kind of use. It's just a vulgar way of saying "you".

    The warden is warning them that he has control over them and he can make them suffer if they do something to displease him.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    Slang "ass" is the physical person, not the person's mind. If you told a person to think something, you could not use "ass". But if you told a person to do something with their body ("Get your ass over here!"), you could use "ass".

    I believe in two things. Discipline and the Bible. Here you'll receive both. Put your trust in the Lord. Your ass belongs to me.
    Your thoughts should be religious. I control your physical body.
     
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