Continuing with Five on a Treasure Island, I’ve looked at chapters five and six. It appears that as the excitement and action starts in the story, the editor’s pen has started to fall more heavily. In chapters five and six, which deal with the children’s first visit to Kirrin Island, I found twenty seven alterations, which is three more than in the first four chapters put together! And that’s not including the majority of the hyphens that were removed in words like to-morrow as I’ve already covered that in my first and second posts.
CHAPTER FIVE: A VISIT TO THE ISLAND
The first change I truly approve of is where Mother and father becomes Mother and Father, which is grammatically correct, and we all know how much I approve of good grammar.
There were, once upon a time, six instances of queer in this chapter. There are now three uses of strange, one odd, one funny and one peculiar instead. I suppose six queers in a chapter is a little much, but then are we counting how many times strange is used now?
There are a few real head-scratching changes made, such as when the little girl hadn’t got quite the right stroke becomes simply, the right stroke. That changes the meaning, rather pointlessly I think. Anne doesn’t have the wrong stroke, just one that isn’t quite right, but is close.
Also, hie Tim! becomes hey Tim! What’s wrong with hie, I ask? Then, George’s I wonder why! is changed to I wonder why? It’s a statement, not a question, to me at least. I’m open to debate though, if anyone can give me an explanation as to why a question mark is more grammatically correct in this instance.
I commend their consistency at least as lighted becomes lit again, fire-place becomes fireplace and worth while becomes worthwhile, but bizarrely at one point good morning suddenly becomes good-morning!
And finally, a change I anticipated as soon as I saw the word spank. If you go after the rabbits I’ll spank you is now I’ll be furious. That’s George to Timmy by the way! Obviously the editors disapprove of corporal punishment used on pets as well as on children.
Interestingly, Master George has been left alone in this chapter, as Alf calls her that when she goes to collect Timmy, and it’s even said that the children find it queer/funny to hear her called that. I complained when it was removed from a previous chapter, so the fact it’s left in here makes the earlier removal all the more odd.
So, fifteen changes in all, making it the most-changed chapter so far.
CHAPTER SIX: WHAT THE STORM DID
Consistency fails a little in this chapter, as lighted becomes lit twice, and then a third time is left alone, the sun shone on [the wreck] and lighted it up. I don’t really see the need for it to be changed in the first place, as I said in my second post, they’re both correct, but if they were going to change it they should change every instance!
I know I said I wouldn’t include all the times they changed a hyphen or two words into one, but in this chapter near by becomes nearby, which to me sounds like near-bay or near-bee. But then I’m strange sometimes.
The rest of the changes are all queer. By that I meant the removal of the word queer. It was used nine times in the chapter (which I admit is rather a lot). The first time it becomes amazing, then we get five stranges in a row, and then almost as if the editor realised there were other alternatives, we get two odds and finally a peculiar.
The whole issue rather reminds me of an old childhood favourite (ok, I’m still rather fond of it now) book by Lois Lowry. Anastasia Krupnik, the eponymous character is constantly saying things are weird, and her poet father takes offence.
“Anastasia. This is a household of verbal, articulate, intelligent people. We have an entire room filled with bookcases. In those bookcases are dictionaries. Encyclopaedias. Roget’s Thesaurus. Anthologies of obscure Elizabethan poetry. There are a hundred words – at least a hundred words you could substitute for weird. ”
He got a beer from the refrigerator. “Strange,” he said. “Dreadful. Formidable. Ghastly. Unearthly. Demoniacal…”
Anastasia could tell, when he got to demoniacal, that he was going to go on for a while….
“PHANTASMAGORICAL,” said her father.
I suppose my point here, is, people complain queer is over-used in addition to being an inappropriate word nowadays. If the editors felt the need to add more variety to her language, why are they limiting us to strange, odd and peculiar? They could at least be inventive and throw in a few phantasmagoricals or demoniacals. (I’m being tongue-in-cheek here, before you get worried!)
So there you go, twelve more
queer ghastly changes in this chapter, bringing us up to fifty one so far (in six chapters or sixty odd pages.)