8 Legendary Works of Literature (with Ridiculous Mistakes Most 4th-Graders Wouldn’t Make)

    July 18, 2012 at 6:30 am

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    Often, new writers will review their self-penned novels ad infinitum, painstakingly searching out every minute error. But the value of a work of literature lies not in its flawlessness but in its substance. After all, some of the greatest tomes in history contain ridiculous, glaring errors, yet have touched millions with simple tales. To prove our point, we found eight best-selling books with hilarious mistakes in them:

    1. Robinson Crusoe

    This one is as funny as it is well known. Robinson Crusoe is the centuries-old tale of a shipwrecked man living off the wild. It helped set the framework upon which nearly every modern novel is created. Plus, it occurred in the times when books and plays didn’t have to be atrociously long-winded: The time before Dickens but after Shakespeare. But because this book is so easy to read, it’s shocking that the following passage made the final edition:

    “I pulled off my clothes and took to the water… I found that all the ship’s provisions were dry and untouched by the water, and being very well disposed to eat, I went to the bread room and filled my pockets with biscuit.”

    So, either Robinson Crusoe is using his colon as a bread box, or something’s not right, here.

    2. Carrie

    Stephen King’s opening foray into the world of horror novels saw a teenage girl get beat by her mom and have blood dumped on her. Perhaps her life would have gone better had she had a father, but her dad died in February, 1963, seven months before Carrie was born. Or did he? Stephen King goes on to write:

    “Margaret had gone into her bedroom not four weeks after Gram’s funeral and there her girl-child had lain in her crib, laughing and gurgling, watching a bottle that was danglingin thin air over her head. Margaret had almost killed her then. Ralph had stopped her. She should not have let him stop her”

    So, are we to assume that the ghost of Carrie’s dad showed up and protected Carrie? He should have been her prom date, then.

    3. The Man with the Twisted Lip

    Something about writing while horking large amounts of cocaine made Arthur Conan Doyle rather… inconsistent. This classic Sherlock Holmes tale does not feature as much male-on-male romping as others, for it includes Watson’s wife. Watson’s wife doesn’t seem too interested in her man, though, as she calls him “James” when his first name had been established as “John.” This slip-up convinces us that she was totally Watson’s beard.

    4. Hamlet

    The Godfather of all plays, Hamlet is a tightly interwoven, action packed romp with ghosts and murder. But, Shakespeare had to cut a few corners while penning this masterpiece, apparently.

    One of the most famous scenes in the play is when Hamlet talks to the ghost of his dead father (also named Hamlet, don’t get confused). Hamlet’s father meets Hamlet promptly at midnight. They freestyle rap for a couple of verses, but then Hamlet’s dad has to bail because morning has arrived. Which would place morning just a few minutes after midnight. Denmark isn’t that close to the North Pole.


    5. Frankenstein

    Stephen King pointed out this plot hole in his book, Danse Macabre. In the classic Mary Shelley novel, Doctor Frankenstein creates his iconic zombified man monster (called Adam for you trivia buffs). Then, he creates a woman for lonely Frankenstein. However, soon after creating the Frankenhooker, Doctor Frankenstein realizes that his creations could reproduce to create a monster-filled world. So, he destroys the female monster, which doesn’t help Adam’s already-delicate psyche.

    Notable errors with this plot point are numerous, including:

    – A reanimated, stitched-together corpse would not have a functioning reproductive system

    – Doctor Frankenstein could have simply rendered the female monster sterile

    – Even if they could reproduce, the offspring of the children would not inherit their stitched-together, monstrous characteristics, and would probably be normal children

    – Doctor Frankenstein could have thought of this “problem” long before going to all the effort of creating a female

    – The Transylvanian medical board needs to revoke his license, already.


    6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

    Harry Potter is the best-selling book series, ever, and delayed the maturation of millions of grown adults by ten years. It’s too bad J.K. Rowling can’t send some of her billions back through a time machine to hire a better editor, as there are many silly inaccuracies. Perhaps the most hilarious is when characters Ron and Lavender are described as being in a “prominent corner” of the Common room, which had up until that point been described as a circular room. Maybe Hogwarts should stop spending so many millions on wizard defense classes, and start teaching some basic geometry.


    7. Bridget Jones’ Diary

    Bridget Jones’s Diary has sold 2 million copies and spawned a successful film series. All this for pretty much the equivalent of a Cathy comic strip, in diary format. It turns out that Bridget Jones isn’t the only one who can’t keep her mind on her work, as author Helen Fielding makes a weird slip-up in the very first chapter.

    The books opening section details Bridget driving to a buffet. Afterward, she is offered a ride by some man (we assume he is a character in the book). Instead, she declines and takes the train. What the hell, Bridget Jones? We know you’re absent-minded, but misplacing your car is just over the top.


    8. Philosopher’s stone

    Another thing about Harry Potter that sticks in our craw is the whole broomsticks-over-the-castle-walls thing. In this Harry Potter, Charles Weasley’s friends arrive at the school via flying broomstick. However, later on it is mentioned that there are enchantments around the castle to prevent people from flying broomsticks over its walls. So, where exactly did Weasley’s friends fly their broomsticks that they ended up inside the castle?

    All of these books sold millions of copies, despite these glaring errors. So, next time you’re into a gripping book when the plot suddenly takes an inconsistent turn… Realize that you’re pretty much going to have to accept it.

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