Are your novels as violent as nursery rhymes?
June 17, 2015
THERE ARE TIMES when it’s been mentioned that my novels can, at times, be a little violent.
I won’t even try to defend myself. It’s just that I generally write about violent times inhabited by violent people. Mysteries and, in particular, thrillers have a tendency to present hard-boiled situations where the good, as well as the bad, choose to shoot their way out of their problems.
The best man may not win as often as the best-armed man does. Then again, I’m always hopeful that they are one and the same.
But don’t be too harsh on me. Don’t criticize me too badly.
I could really a harbinger of wild and unbridles violence.
I could write nursery rhymes.
Back in 1952, Geoffrey Handley Taylor worked his way through two hundred traditional nursery rhymes.
About half, he said, were “glorious and ideal for the child.”
The other half, however, contained:
- 8 allusions to murder (unclassified)
- 2 cases of choking to death
- 1 case of death by devouring
- 1 case of cutting a human being in half
- 1 case of decapitation
- 1 case of death by squeezing
- 1 case of death by shriveling
- 1 case of death by starvation
- 1 case of boiling to death
- 1 case of death by hanging
- 3 cases of death by drowning
- 4 cases of killing domestic animals
- 1 case of body snatching
- 21 cases of death (unclassified)
- 7 cases relating to the severing of limbs
- 1 case of the desire to have a limb severed
- 4 cases relating to the breaking of limbs
- 1 allusion to a bleeding heart
- 1 case of devouring human flesh
- 9 threats of death
- 1 case of kidnapping
- 12 cases of torment and cruelty to human beings and animals
- 8 cases of whipping and lashing
- 3 allusions to blood
- 14 cases of stealing and general dishonesty
- 15 allusions to maimed human beings and animals
- 2 allusions to graves
- 23 cases of physical violence (unclassified)
- 1 case of lunacy
- 16 allusions to misery and sorrow
- 1 case of drunkenness
- 4 cases of cursing
- 1 allusion to marriage as a form of death
- 1 case of scorning the blind
- 1 case of scorning prayer
- 9 cases of children being lost or abandoned
- 2 cases of a house burning
- 9 allusions to poverty and want
- 5 allusions to quarreling
- 2 cases of unlawful imprisonment
Obviously, if you want to witness the trials and tribulations of the bad side of life, there’s no reason to bother with soap operas, and you can forget the R-rated movies where violence is running rampant.
All you have to do is pick up a copy of Mother Goose.
Her stories just may possess the worst that life has to offer.
I feel better about my novels already.
Caleb Pirtle III is author of Secrets of the Dead, which is almost as violent as Mother Goose.