Skip to main content

Full text of "Expression Of The Emotions In Man And Animals"

See other formats

CHAP. XI.      SHRUGGING THE SHOULDERS.             269

panied in some cases by the other proper movements, is
a gesture natural to mankind.

This gesture implies an unintentional or unavoidable
action on our own part, or one that we cannot perform;
or an action performed by another person which we
!                  cannot prevent.   It accompanies such speeches as, " It

f                 was not my fault;" " It is impossible for me to grant

j                  this favour; " cc He must follow his own course, I can-

i                  not stop him."    Shrugging the shoulders likewise ex-

presses patience, or the absence of any intention to re-
l                  sist.   Hence the muscles which raise the shoulders are

)                  sometimes called, as I have been informed by an artist,

\                  " the patience muscles."   Shylock the Jew, says,

" Sig-nor Antonio, many a time and oft
In the Rialto have yo'u rated me
About my monies and usances;
Still have I borne it with a patient shrug."

Merchant of Venice, act i. sc. 3.

Sir C. Bell has given 14 a life-like figure of a man,
y                  who is shrinking back from some terrible danger, and is

;                  on the point of screaming out in abject terror.   He is

f                 represented with his shoulders lifted up almost to his

i                  ears; and this at once declares that there is no thought

'                  of resistance.

j                       As shrugging the shoulders generally implies "I

1                  cannot do this or that," so by a slight change, it some-

times implies " I won't do it."   The movement then ex-
\                  presses a dogged determination not to act.    Olmsted

describes15 an Indian in Texas as giving a great shrug
^                  to his shoulders, when he was informed that a party of

men were Germans and not Americans, thus expressing
that he would have nothing to do with them.   Sulky and

14 * Anatomy of Expression,' p. 166.
18 * Journey through Texas,' p. 352.