Monday, April 15, 2013

An intentional and humorous mixed metaphor (2)

The British humorist P.G. Wodehouse (pictured) was a master of the intentional mixed metaphor. I’ve discussed examples in two posts (1, 2). Here’s another example:

The well-to-do bachelor and boulevardier Bertie Wooster has grown a mustache while his valet, Jeeves, was away on vacation. Bertie knows that Jeeves, who is more conservative than his employer, will disapprove of the mustache as soon as he sees it, and will immediately try to persuade Bertie to shave it off. Bertie explains to the reader:

“You know how it is when two strong men live in close juxtaposition, if juxtaposition is the word I want. Differences arise. Wills clash. Bones of contention pop up and start turning handsprings. No one was more keenly alive than I to the fact that one such bone was scheduled to make its debut the instant I swam into his ken....” (Source)

The Takeaway: For readers of the novels and short stories of P.G. Wodehouse, a mixed metaphor is a delight; the sillier the better. For readers of what you and I write, a mixed metaphor is at best a distraction, at worst an irritation. If possible, have someone edit your copy, because it is difficult to spot your own mixed metaphors.

See disclaimer.

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