"inside trying to get out"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jun 17 13:41:40 UTC 2009

"Inside every fat man is a thin man trying to get out." Some website
attributes this to George Orwell, apparently on the usual basis of
prove otherwise.

Anyway, I heard it some time in the '70s, which doesn't matter because
Google Books takes it back to around 1963-64.

The point, however, is that a search reveals many exx., along with variants
and a large number of ad hoc expressions of the pattern "Inside every
X...trying to get out."

Possibly the most famous of derivative utterances is in Michael Herr &
Gustav Hasford's screenplay of _Full Metal Jacket_ (1987): "We are here to
help the Vietnamese because inside every gook there's an American trying to
get out."

It is not known who thought that one up, but as one familiar with the works
of both writers, my money is on Hasford.


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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