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I'm struggling to parse this sentence. In particular I don't understand which verb the を in bold is marking the object of.

We have: にわかに目をキラキラさせ始めた友蔵 "Tomozou whose eyes suddenly began to sparkle" is the object.

前に "in front of Tomozou..."

さすがのおかあさんも...珍しく口ごもった "Even mother (as she is) unusually, hesitated to say..."

Now I get confused. There is no と to mark what it is that she hesitated to say. Instead we have an adverbial phrase, which I think is:

物は必要ないとは言いにくいらしく "seemingly difficult to say that such a thing is unnecessary"

On second thoughts, perhaps this is the linking form 言いにくいらしく rather than adverbial.

So I get something like:

Even for (someone like) mother it seemed to be difficult to say in front of Tomozou that such a thing was unnecessary and, unusually, she hesitated to say it.

That seems to make sense but I still can't figure out the function of the を in bold. I fear I've messed something up here.

Please help me to parse this sentence correctly and understand the を in bold.

marked as duplicate by 永劫回帰, Dono, naruto, Amani Kilumanga, Community Mar 15 '16 at 19:29

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友蔵を前に is a shorthand for 友蔵を前にして

Xを前にする means "with X in front of [the subject]"

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