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Literary counterparts could use a little advice

Analise Lipari | Friday, March 23, 2007

A Note to a Select Group of Literary Figures:

Greetings, my dears. My name is Analise, and I have been a faithful reader of your respective works for quite some time. I’m writing to you not as a critic, but as a friend. We’ve had some great times together – lazy summer afternoons in the sun, indoor recesses of yore, even whole rainy days spent in each other’s company. I love you all for various reasons, but I’m of the opinion that in every good, loving relationship, one needs honest and open communication to keep things running smoothly. In that light, I have to tell you guys the truth.

It’s not me – it’s you.

As awesome as you are, each in your own way, you have some issues that need to be addressed. Therefore, I’ve taken it upon myself to enlighten you as to how you’ve been frustrating me and other readers with bad decisions and general naiveté.

Call them instructions, tips or nuggets of wizened advice, but I suggest that you pay close attention. Your future fans will thank me.

I have to say, Jane Eyre, that I do love your novel. That, however, doesn’t excuse your general lack of a personality. Yes, you’re a vivid personification of Victorian morality, and you’re a nice person, sure, but even those strengths don’t excuse the fact that you almost married your cousin because you couldn’t speak up for yourself. Also, I suggest investing in some fireproof belongings – you and your Byronic-Hero-of-a-husband will thank me later.

To Elizabeth Bennett of “Pride and Prejudice,” I only have one suggestion. Nip the Mr. Collins issue in the bud as quickly as possible. Nothing says “romance-killer” like a nervous clergyman with a penchant for accidentally insulting people.

And to Mr. Collins himself, “no” actually does mean “no,” especially in the case of a proposal of marriage. Save yourself the humiliation, man. It’s for your own good. Now shoo.

A general point of advice to Dostoevsky’s Raskolnikov, Shakepeare’s Hamlet and other loquacious leading men – stop talking. Or at least cut back a bit on the excessive speeches that you all feel compelled to make. To Raskolnikov, especially, I suggest a little less introspection. You should get out more.

The same goes for you, Emily Dickinson. The sun is a good thing. As is proper punctuation, but we can deal with that later.

Disney’s Thumper got it right the first time, Emma Woodhouse – if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

And Beowulf. Fighting beasts at your age? Shame on you. I understand that you have ego issues that even Freud didn’t see coming. But the Geats need you. Or, at least, they need you to stay alive for another few months without being fatally scorched by dragon breath.

Also, just because Moby Dick emasculated you so cruelly by taking your leg, Captain Ahab, doesn’t mean you have the right to risk the lives of everyone else you know by rabidly following the Great White Whale. I suggest some sort of grief counseling or anger management seminar.

Lastly, as a general announcement to Gilbert Blythe of “Anne of Green Gables” – what do you think of jumping off of the page and into the three-dimensional world? You’d be surprised at what science can accomplish these days.

I hope that these tips can help you all deal with your issues, and I wish you the best in your future literary endeavors. Just no badly-written sequels or prequels, please. I don’t need to see “The Scarlet B” in my local bookstore anytime soon.

Faithfully yours in reading,

Analise Lipari

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Analise Lipari at alipari@nd.edu