Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Lines of Literature Paraphrase Challenge

"Bravo! An excellent satire on modern language." ~Henry Tilney, Northanger Abbey

 When we are told to be creative, we usually try to be clever or original, do we not? Well, for this challenge, being creative will mean quite the opposite.


The Lines of Literature Paraphrase Challenge
What?
Lines of Literature: Quotes from classic literature - it could be a sentence or even a paragraph - and preferably well-known ones (anything Jane Austen is well-known in my book, just to let you know).
Paraphrasing: To take the original line and, well, dumb it down. Make it dull. Uninteresting. But very understandable. Something easy to read, something that today's society would understand. So, basically reading it and rewording it as if you were trying to explain it to a child or just a non-wordy person. Making it sound modern is also acceptable as well as amusing. The meaning of the line must remain the same, however.

Why?
Why the challenge? Because the purposefully uninteresting can, in fact, be quite amusing. And it is fun to satire modern language.

Here is my example.
Original line: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." (Famous opening line of Pride and Prejudice)
My paraphrase: "Everyone knows that a single rich guy needs a wife."

Well, I do hope that made you giggle. Because that is the general idea. (Right, Miss Dashwood?)
"It is a truth universally acknowledged" shortened simply to "Everyone knows"; "in possession of a good fortune" changes to "rich"; "in want of" would be something like "needs" in today's language, and I changed "man" to "guy" just for the fun of it.

Where is all this going? Well, that depends on you, my dear readers. If I get enough entries, I might have people vote for the best and have the top five winners or something like that; if I get more than enough, I'll enlist some help from various sources to select a number of entries and have the contest-type thing I just mentioned. If I don't get that many, I will simply have another post displaying the fine work of those who participate and congratulate them on their excellent satire of modern language. If nobody takes on the challenge... well then, I shall be rather sad, and will have to satisfy myself by continuing to giggle at my own jokes.

How?
The rules: Up to five quotes per challenge-taker. Leave your entries in a comment with the original quote, book it's from, and the book's author. I won't publish your comments, so that way no one can copy you. ;-)

When?
Well, it begins the moment I publish this post, and I will continue to accept entries until Wednesday, March 7th, 2012.

Now.
Do you like this idea? Plan to participate? You could always spread the word a little... *hint hint*

I'm looking forward to finding out what will come of this!  

23 comments:

Miss Dashwood said...

Ooh! Ooh! Am I a various source? 'Cause I would LOVE to help you collect entries...
Of course, that would mean I couldn't enter. Pretend I didn't say that. :)
This did indeed MMG, Tween. I'm so glad you decided to hold this contest!

Now I'm off to rack my brain for some ideas...

Maria Elisabeth said...

Oooh, you're making me think! Right now I'm wondering how I could best murder one of dear Henry Tilney's remarks and which of Mr. Dickens' brilliantly complicated sentences I could be properly dumbed-down. :D
I'll probably comment with my entries in a day or two.

Anne-girl said...

Lovely! I think it sounds awesome. I will help spread the word!

Miss Dashwood said...

Original quote:
"Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her."
~Emma by Jane Austen (like you didn't already know that, haha)

My version:
"Emma Woodhouse, gorgeous, smart and loaded with cash, with a great house and a happy-go-lucky attitude, had basically everything anybody could want and had gotten through almost 21 years without having any reason for a temper tantrum."
~Miss Dashwood

I'll probably be back again with other entries!

Melody said...

Miss Dashwood,
My Various Sources are Not to Be Revealed. ;-) Besides, I don't even know who they are yet. haha
Hehe, when I said "Right, Miss Dashwood?" I was actually referring to the fact that I said "That's the general idea"...again. But I'm glad it MYG. ;-)
Your first entry made me laugh A Great Amount. But I already told you that. Well, I'm telling you once more. haha

Maria Elisabeth,
Heehee! I'm looking forward to those! =)

Anne-girl,
Thanks! I'm happy you like the idea.

Stephanie said...

OOh yes! Thank you I've been thinking about this kind of thing for a while but I'm glad you are doing so I can enter it :)

Queen Nellie said...

i have three:

I have not the pleasure of understanding you.
- Pride and prejudice, Jane Austen

I ain’t got no idea what you’re going on about.


There certainly are not so many men of large fortune as there are pretty women to deserve them.
- Mansfield Park, Jane Austen

There aren’t enough rich guys to go around


A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.
- Pride and prejudice, Jane Austen

You say to one girl that another girl is pretty, and instantly she starts planning your wedding.

Melody said...

Stephanie,
Hehe! "Great minds think alike" again, eh? ;)
I'm looking forward to your entry/entries!

Lauren said...

Hi Melody

I just finished watching 'Young Victoria' a movie about Queen Victoria, and I really enjoyed it, and thought it was a well-done historical film. I was wondering if you've seen it and had any thoughts about it.

Sorry, my comment has nothing to do with the post. I am just curious about the movie, because I was thinking what you'd rate the movie while I as watching it.

~Lauren

Charity U said...

I will do this, provided I remember! Got your emails, will be getting back to you ASAP.

No need to publish this...but I voted for your letter in the Period Drama Advice Tournament. :) Loved Lydia's response!

Miss Dashwood said...

Okay, here's another entry.

Original quote:
"And, as Tiny Tim observed, 'God bless us, every one!'"
~A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

My version:
"So, to quote Tiny Tim, 'Let's all have a great and politically correct day, okay?'"
~Miss Dashwood's Shamelessly Spoofed Great Lines Of Literature

Because seriously, if ACC had been published today, that's probably how the book would've ended. :P

Alexandra said...

OOOOOH! This would be a BLAST! I'll have to be thinking on it...

Charity U said...

I do still mean to do this...hopefully tomorrow. :)

Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

This is a very interesting challenge! I had fun writing my entries which I'll be posting soon! :)

Charity U said...

Melody, here are my entries! First the quote, then the book/author, then my renditions. :)

Although a skillful flatterer is a most delightful companion if you have him all to yourself, his taste becomes very doubtful when he takes to complimenting other people. – Charles Dickens “A flatterer’s taste is only good when you have him all to yourself – once he speaks of others, he’s not so great.”

The power of doing any thing with quickness is always much prized by the possessor, and often without any attention to the imperfection of the performance. – P&P “If you can do it fast, you’re proud of it – despite the awful job you’re doing.”

A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment. – P&P “Ladies have big imaginations – they are sure that if you think a girl is cute, you love her; if you love her, you want to marry her. And all this imagining in only a second!”

It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt. Mark Twain. “Shut up and let people think you’re foolish –it’s better than opening your mouth and making them right.”

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. P&P “Anyone who doesn’t love a good book is stupid. “

Thanks for this delightful contest!

Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

Okay, I've written a few entries and some of them I'm still not quite sure about. But figure I should just enter them before I rework them too much! :)

I'm sending my entries in parts.

Entry 1 -
“The person, whether a guy or gal, who doesn’t have fun reading a good book, must be amazingly dumb.”

Original: "The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." - Henry Tilney, Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen


Entry 2 -
“But when a girl is destined to be a star, the lack of guys in the neighborhood can’t stop her. Something has to take place to bring a cute guy into her life.”

Original: "But when a young lady is to be a heroine, the perverseness of forty surrounding families cannot prevent her. Something must and will happen to throw a hero in her way." - Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

Okay, a few more entries!

Entry 3 -
“Even if he has all the good points in the world, I think it shouldn’t be assumed that a guy will be loved by every girl he might decide he likes.”

Original: "Let him have all the perfections in the world, I think it ought not to be set down as certain that a man must be be acceptable to every woman he may happen to like himself." - Fanny Price, Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Entry 4 -
“It was the most awesome of times, it was the most awful of times, it was the age of cleverness, it was the age of stupidity, it was the time of faith, it was the time of doubt...”

Original: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity..." - A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

And my last entry. This was the most fun! :)

Entry 5 -
“I can’t listen any more without speaking up. I have to talk to you using the resources at hand. You stab my very soul. I am half despairing, half wishing. Don’t tell me I’m too late, that the cherished feelings we had are gone forever. I give myself to you again with a heart more devoted to you then when you almost broke it eight-and-a-half years ago. Don’t you dare say that guys forget sooner than girls do or that their love dies sooner. I have loved no one but you. I may have been unfair, rotten and bitter, but never unfaithful. I came to Bath because of you. You’re the only one I think about and plan for. Haven’t you seen this? Haven’t you been able to figure out my wishes? I wouldn’t have waited the last ten days if I had been able to detect what you were feeling, as you seem to have detected my feelings. I can barely write. Every moment I’m hearing you say something that astounds me! Now you’ve lowered your voice but I can still hear your sweet words even if no one else can. You are too good and too awesome dear! You do understand us, your verdicts are good. You do understand that guys can be just as equally in love and just as faithful as girls can. Please believe me to be your loving and faithful
F.W.
I have to go now without knowing what the future holds but I will be back and follow you. A comment or a glance from you will be enough for me to understand whether I should go to your father’s house tonight or never see you again.”

Original: "I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice when they would be lost on others. Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice, indeed. You do believe that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in
F. W."
"I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look will be enough to decide whether I enter your father's house this evening or never." - Captain Wentworth, Persuasion by Jane Austen

And that's it I think! I tried doing Mary Bennet's pride vs. vanity speech but it didn't go very well. hehe This was so much fun! :)

Stephanie said...

http://my-eccentricitee.blogspot.com/2012/03/my-paraphrase.html

My entry is rather long so I don't know if you'll want me to do another! But here you go, I hope I amuse you all!

Maria Elisabeth said...

Unfortunately I cannot speak well enough to be unintelligible, but good authors can and it is almost painful to rip them of their delightfulness. Anyways, here are my entries:

Original quote: The person, be it gentleman or lady, who does not take pleasure in a good novel must be intolerably stupid.
My paraphrase: A guy or girl who does not like reading a novel is dumb.
Book: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Original quote:The said company being now relieved from further attendance, and the chief Barnacles being rather hurried (for they had it in hand just then to send a mail or two which was in danger of going straight to its destination, beating about the seas like the Flying Dutchman, and to arrange with complexity for the stoppage of a good deal of important business otherwise in peril of being done), went their several ways.
My paraphrase:Then the guests could go, and since the important Barnacles were in a rush (because they had to send the mail that was going to its address to somewhere else and stop business that was getting done) they left.
Book: Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

Original quote: Human nature is so well disposed towards those who are in interesting situations, that a young person, who either marries or dies, is sure of being kindly spoken of
My paraphrase: People like people who are interesting, so people will speak kindly of young people who die or get married.
Book: Emma by Jane Austen

Original quote: when she heard him declare that of music and dancing he was passionately fond, she gave him such a look of approbation as secured the largest share of his discourse to herself for the rest of his stay.
My paraphrase: When he said he liked music and dancing, she smiled so much that he talked to her till he left.
Novel: Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Miss Elizabeth Bennet said...

Sorry I'm entering this late. I've put some entries together.

Entry 1:
Original Quote: "You will think my question an odd one, I dare say," said Lucy to her one day, as they were walking together from the park to the cottage—"but pray, are you personally acquainted with your sister-in-law's mother, Mrs. Ferrars?" (Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen)
Paraphrased: “Hey, completely random question here: you know your brother’s wife’s mother?”

Entry 2:
Original Quote: "I am very much astonished, Mr. Elton. This to me! you forget yourself—you take me for my friend—any message to Miss Smith I shall be happy to deliver; but no more of this to me, if you please." (Emma, Jane Austen)
Paraphrased: "Hello, Harriet cannot come to the phone right now. Please leave your name, number, and a brief message and Harriet will be with your shortly."

Miss Dashwood said...

Original line:
"Reader, I married him."
~Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

My version:
"Dude, we got hitched."
~Miss Dashwood's Irreverent Hashings and Smashings of Famous Bits of Literature

(Just for the record, I do not like the use of the word "dude" to refer to all and sundry, but I thought it rather amusing in this context. After all the point is to dumb it down, yes? :))

Melody said...

Okay, folks, Closed for Entries. Thank you to everyone who entered, and I hope the rest of you will be here to vote! I am working on a post presently.

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