A tale of two halves
Words reveal a lot
Occasionally, a piece in the news grabs my attention and begs to be analysed. Here’s a story about a woman who handed her broken phone in to a repair shop and returned to find the man in the store scrolling through her pictures.
Is she telling the truth?
Let’s break it down
Her word fall into two halves for me. Here’s the first part:
As soon as I walked in, I saw him lock my phone and put it to the side, but I saw my wallpaper so I knew it was mine.
I asked whether my phone was ready, and he told me it would be another hour as someone had to come and finish repairing the frame
But I knew he'd been on my phone, so I asked for it back, swiped up to see my most recent tabs and saw that he was looking through all my photographs from years ago. Some of them were personal to me.
There were pictures of me in bikinis and in underwear which were quite intimate. They were pictures I had sent to a boyfriend and no one else. I could see that he'd been looking at them.
In this section, she is very direct and straight with what she says. There are few needless words, just a direct telling of events. When someone is telling the truth, they tend to be factual. They don’t feel the need to convince you by overstating things or using more descriptive language to paint a more vivid picture. When you’re being truthful, you just say what happened, it doesn’t cross your mind to dress it up.
That is what is happening here, I find her to be truthful. Up to this point. The change in style after this is very pronounced. Look at the words used to heighten the story.
I felt disgusted and was in total shock, I could not believe what was happening.
I snatched the phone off the counter but he grabbed my arm and scratched me really hard.
I felt completely violated. It's creepy and perverted to go through someone else's most private pictures without their permission.
Not just shock, but “total shock”. He didn’t just scratch, but “scratched me really hard”. Not just violated, but completely “violated”. Not just private pictures, but “most private pictures”.
That is not to say these events and feelings didn’t happen, but the use of the words to increase their impact is at odds with the style of the first half of what she says. They suggest that, for some reason, she is keen to heighten this part of the story.
My overall impression is that she isn’t as emotionally impacted by the events as the headline implies. There are three words that helped me get that conclusion:
It's creepy and perverted to go through someone else's most private pictures without their permission
Why are the words “without their permission” said here? “It’s creepy and perverted to go through someone else’s most private pictures” is fine on its own. The addition of “without their permission” suggests that she would be fine with people looking at these photos if she gave prior permission.
In other words, it is not the fact he saw the photos, it’s the fact he did it without her knowing that appears to be the issue here.
Are there any other words you’d like to look at? Drop them in the comments below, or get in touch using the contact details on the about tab.