I know, I know. I need ‘Pedants Anonymous’
I need a word. You’re encouraging my mum to do the thing that annoys me most, and it’s just not on. She is not a particularly forgiving person, and in her defence of grudge- bearing, she has been known to quote Jane Austen, by saying –
No, no, NO! Stop it right now, internet (and mum). Just because a character says something, does not mean the writer personally held it as a truth. The quote should only appear like this –
And I can also forgive this –
There are so many instances of memes made by people who cannot differentiate between the writer and the character, or at least portray the image that way, leading to contradictions.
and then –
-which just makes Charlie look like an indecisive ninny. There’s even quotes about the ‘chain I forged in life’ attributed to Dickens without any mention of Marley. With Dickens’ writing output being as large as it was, there was no way he had time to be smelting metal and hammering at an anvil.
I could moan about this all day, and bore you with countless stupid pictures, but I will control myself and end on this — Emily Brontë is probably the most mis-represented victim of meme culture. If you knew nothing about her, you’d think from the internet that she was a scary woman, and an old hand at tempestuous love affairs, as opposed her actual churchy, virginal, studious, quiet village existence.
Emily was not cruel! She was shy! She had a baking day! She was brave, strong, loved nature and nursed her addict brother! Anecdotes about Emily are like this-
With bird and beast [Emily] had the most intimate relations, and from her walks she often came with fledgling or young rabbit in hand, talking softly to it, quite sure, too, that it understood
Once she was bitten by a dog that she saw running by in great distress, and to which she offered water. The dog was mad. She said no word to any one, but herself burned the lacerated flesh to the bone with the red hot poker, and no one knew of it until the red scar was accidentally discovered some weeks after, and sympathetic questioning brought out this story
Luckily they put the book on this one –
This may seem like a small thing to get upset about, but we all know from essay writing that sources are important, and we need to make laws about this kind of thing. Don’t make me start a petition, because I will. I’m pedantic enough.