Wherein Julie Is Heavily Influenced By Speech Patterns of Turn-of-the-Century Novels, and Asks A Question of Her Audience

At some point in late elementary school, I read Gene Stratton-Porter’s A Girl of the Limberlost. (After seeing the WonderWorks movie, I’ll admit.*) Every chapter title in the book starts with the word “Wherein…” For example: “WHEREIN ELNORA GOES TO HIGH SCHOOL AND LEARNS MANY LESSONS NOT FOUND IN HER BOOKS” and “WHEREIN ELNORA DISCOVERS A VIOLIN, AND BILLY DISCIPLINES MARGARET.”  My educated guess is that the book was first published in a serial format and the chapter titles served as teasers for that week’s content.

A side effect of this titling quirk is my habit of internally narrating my life in a similar matter. Such as, “Wherein Julie goes to the fridge and realizes she should have gone grocery shopping yesterday after all.” I remember starting to do this as a fourth-or-so grader because I thought Stratton-Porter’s titles were funny. And I guess the habit stuck. Give it a try, it’s pretty fun.

I know I’m not the only person who unconsciously incorporates key quotes from children’s literature into her daily speech. The other day a friend informed me that she often quotes the heroine of Tanith Lee’s Black Unicorn. Any time she sees a gross mess she can’t help but think: “Nasty pancake!”

So, my question for you, Reader, is this: What book or series do you quote or think of without meaning to?


*What’s this? The movie was filmed in Southern Oregon, not Indiana, where the book is set? Oh, IMDB, you teach me so much.



Filed under Audience Participation, Youth Literature in the Wild

5 responses to “Wherein Julie Is Heavily Influenced By Speech Patterns of Turn-of-the-Century Novels, and Asks A Question of Her Audience

  1. It’s not a book or series, but I find myself referencing Wayne’s World *all the time*. Also Judy Blume’s Superfudge, wherein Fudge’s new friend answers any question with, “You wanna make something of it?”

  2. For me it’s been the Harry Potter books. I find myself saying something is “off putting”, and when something pleases me, it’s “brilliant”. Basically I’m sounding a bit more British. Every once in a while it makes it’s way into my writing and someone has to remind me we don’t call an apartment a flat here in America. I figure as long as I don’t start speaking in a British accent, I’ll be okay.

  3. JK

    Wherein Jen realizes how much she adores Julie all over again. Awesome. I’m sure I’ve done this, though nothing automatically springs to mind. I do often think in phrasing of very distinct authorial voices right after I finish a book. In any case, I plan to inject a few chapter titles into my life now.

  4. Similar to “wherein,” I’ve noticed that my sister tends to precede a number of statements with the phrase “in which” ala Winnie-the-Pooh. Also, I can’t be the only person to refer to people with whom I instantly connect as “kindred spirits” which is directly from Anne of Green Gables.

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