Words Used Right — No. 5: An Accurate Quote Can Be a Misquote | Nara

Shakespeare did not need to kill all of the legal professionals, and Robert Frost did not suppose that good fences make good neighbors. Generally, folks use well-known strains by well-known folks to help their arguments. And, too usually, the phrases they quote not solely weren’t supposed to help what they’re saying, they really imply the alternative. Quoting out of context is little doubt as previous as talking out of flip. Which is ok so long as the quoter is utilizing the quote to imply what it did initially. In any other case, when somebody says, “As Shakespeare stated, first we should kill all of the legal professionals,” there’s at all times the hazard of getting somebody like me say, “However Shakespeare did not say that.” Then, if I am fortunate, there is a dispute that lets me clarify that Shakespeare wrote the road in Henry VI Half 2 (Act IV, Scene II), however he by no means stated anybody ought to kill legal professionals. It wasn’t his opinion. The truth is, he put the road, “The very first thing we do, let’s kill all of the legal professionals,” into the mouth of Dick the Butcher who was a part of a mob of rioters who knew what they deliberate was unlawful and figured if there have been no legal professionals they would not get prosecuted. Apart from being inaccurate, it isn’t honest to Shakespeare-or some other speaker-to twist the which means of his phrases.

It is the identical with the fence factor. More often than not, “Good fences make good neighbors,” is used to help an argument in favor of fences by somebody who by no means learn the poem it is taken from. In Mending Fences, the individual making the assertion is a neighbor with whom Frost disagrees. A number of strains later, Frost wrote, “One thing there’s that doesn’t love a fence.” Frost, in his personal voice, says he would not like fences until they’re wanted to maintain livestock penned. He wrote:

“Earlier than I constructed a wall I would ask to know

What I used to be walling in or walling out.”

That is why we’ve got to watch out once we pull a quote out of the air and stick it in one thing we’re writing. We mustn’t confuse what an creator wrote with what she or he believed. It is really easy to try this when the quote is taken out of its context as a result of it is usually essential to have a personality say one thing that’s completely reverse what the author believes so as to create dramatic battle. Then, somebody (once more, who most likely by no means learn the unique) will quote the character and declare that the creator held the opinion. Good writing will get a nasty rap as a result of folks quote, out of context, a personality whom the author supposed as a nasty instance. Mark Twain’s Huck Finn has been known as a racist guide due to racist remarks by Huck’s father, Pap. Within the context of the guide, Twain paints Pap because the worst form of bigot and all-around despicable individual. Twain wasn’t racist, neither is the guide. The character is, and it is how Twain confirmed his opposition to racism.

Was Rudyard Kipling a racist or xenophobic as a result of he wrote, “East is East and West is West and by no means the twain shall meet?” (Truly, Kipling did meet Twain in 1889, however that is one other story.) The primary and final strains of “The Ballad of East and West” definitely appear to say that. What’s missed by the less-than-knowledgeable quoter is that the entire remainder of the poem, and it is a lengthy one, tells of an Englishman and a Arab who turn out to be blood-brothers, which they may do, as Kipling wrote, as a result of, “there’s neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Start, When two sturdy males stand nose to nose, tho’ they arrive from the ends of the earth!” If something, Kipling would have us perceive that individuals needs to be judged as people fairly than by their race. It is an instance of, if I’ll quote Kipling, “listening to your phrases twisted by knaves to make traps for fools.” What do you suppose he meant by that?

Source by Bill Moore

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