题目 Contest Sentence:
“The people filed peacefully into the room and, one by one, seated themselves on the floor, each person assuming the fatalistic posture reminiscent of every non-violent protester who ever challenged authority.”
正确解答 Answer: We believe the best revision is… “The people filed peacefully into the room and, one by one, seated themselves on the floor, each person assuming the fatalistic posture reminiscent of Mohandas Gandhi.”
我们相信最佳写法应为 “The people filed peacefully into the room and, one by one, seated themselves on the floor, each person assuming the fatalistic posture reminiscent of Mohandas Gandhi.”
This sentence reduces the word count to 26 from 31 by letting one individual—Gandhi—personify a host of people. As a legendary champion of peaceful resistance and an advocate of human rights, Gandhi's influence extended worldwide in the middle of the 20th century. The name of this citizen of India became a shorthand reference to global acts of protest that were characterized by non-violence, civil disobedience, and peaceful resistance.
There is nothing especially wrong with the wording of the original sentence, which refers generically to the world's history of non-violent resistance. It does so by invoking an image of peaceful demonstrators being civilly disobedient and submitting themselves to the reaction of authorities. This general allusion also enlarges the conversation by resorting to imagery. However, the image is not as sharp as a Gandhi reference, and sharpness and specificity nearly always spark understanding.
The reference to Gandhi is an arbitrary choice. Non-violent protest is a universal principle that has been expressed in the writings of nearly all major religions and philosophies, including Buddhism, Christianity and Taoism. An allusion to any advocate would have accomplished the same so long as the name of the selected person was familiar to the reader. The consequence of such an allusive reference is a shortened sentence, a sharpened image, and quickened understanding.