A Capone associate, the Bowtie Man, shakes down a restaurant owner who has chosen to buy from one of Capone's competitors.

By this sentence, we can tell the Bowtie man is stronger than the restaurant owner.

Next sentence:

The owner refuses to be intimidated, and the Bowtie Man appears to back off.

If he is strong, why does he back off before the restaurant owner?

How to understand these two sentences ?

  • 3
    The BowTie man tries to scare the restaurant owner. If he would just go around killing everyone, it wouldn't be good for business. However, the restaurant owner doesn't get scared, so the Bowtie Man seems to go away (for now). It doesn't mean one is physically stronger than the other, it doesn't mean in a fight always the same person would win. What if one of them brings a weapon to the fight? Also, why would every fight always be physical? He wants the restaurant owner to by Capone's stuff, how is he physically going to do that?
    – oerkelens
    Jul 29, 2016 at 12:15
  • It looks like the Bowtie Man's strength is intimidation, and the owner does not care about it, so the Bowtie Man is weak.
    – NibblyPig
    Jul 29, 2016 at 12:18
  • Does the OP understand that "a Capone associate" is a mobster?
    – TimR
    Jul 29, 2016 at 12:57
  • There is a huge difference between "acting stronger" (or "thinking oneself is stronger than others") and "being stronger". Jul 29, 2016 at 15:10

1 Answer 1


In your example, since Bowtie Man is sent to


a business owner, we assume he is scary, maybe stronger than the business owner, and is probably carrying a gun when he does this. In the story, Bowtie was only a driver, so the gang was probably trying to figure out if the restaurant owner had some "protection" from another gang.


The restaurant owner fights back and does not back down, however we are given a hint that something will happen later since

the Bowtie Man appears to back off

where the writer is saying it only "looks like" Bowtie Man backs off. Later we find out that a bomb was placed in the restaurant.

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