Posted by R. Berg on May 14, 2003
In Reply to: Missed calling posted by Word Camel on May 13, 2003
: : : : : : 'With a bound he was free' or 'and with a bound he was free'?
: : : : : I remember reading a book dealing with the history of comics (not the stand-up variety, but the paper variety) which recounted a story that went something like this:
: : : : : A popular weekly comic a few decades ago gave its readers the usual fare of long episodic melodramatic tales where the hero was invariably put in a seemingly inescapable position with improbable regularity, the theory being that the suspense-filled cliffhanger ending would persuade more readers to buy the comic again next week - a tactic later adopted tongue-in-cheek by US TV serials such as Batman and anything produced by Irwin Allen Productions. This was in the days where comics were largely text-based, with illustrations being the exception, rather than the norm. Much panic set in at the offices of said comic one week when the writer of the most popular storyline didn't show up for work for a couple of days. The publishing deadline grew ever nearer, and the editor was at his wits' end, since neither he, nor any of the comic's other staff writers could come up with any credible way to extricate the hero from the impossible predicament that the absent writer had left him in. Disaster loomed, until the missing writer turned up with the deadline just hours away. He took a look at last week's storyline to remind himself of how he'd left things, and with no further thought wrote "With one bound, our hero was free".
: : : : : I'll try to track down some more details on this and post them if I can find them. It may be an apocryphal tale, but it was certainly quoted in whatever it was that I read.
: : : : A version associated with poorly planned adventure novels is "With a mighty leap, he sprang out of the pit."
: : : what does the expression mean? how to use it? example, pls.
: : I wonder if your confusion is caused by the word "bound", which in this sense means a leap or a jump. Here's an example, which also goes to show the ridiculous way in which this narrative device is considered to be used.
: : James Bond was shackled to a table, with a chainsaw being lowered towards his stomach and a cobra slithering up over his chest about to sink its fangs into his face. The villainous evil mastermind Blofeld cackled as he watched. Things looked bad indeed...
: : With one bound, Bond was free. He grabbed the chainsaw, killed the cobra, sliced Blofeld in half and saved the world.
: Clearly you might have had a career in pulp fiction. I don't think bound really works in the example however. A "bound" is a sort of leaping jump. Superman's tagline is a good example: "More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound. Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Superman!"
: I don't wish to be overly picky but Bond couldn't bound if he was shackled to the table, now could he?
: (who's just trying to keep you honest)
The point about "with one bound" and similar awful pulp-fiction cliches is that they are awful pulp-fiction cliches. A poor writer, like a poor liar, makes up an implausible story. He goes for the melodramatic and so throws his hero into some impossible predicament. When the story then requires that he extract said hero from said predicament in order that the hero may participate in the next chapter, he cheats by having the hero leap vertically out of the thirty-foot pit or break the five hundred pounds of chains binding him just by flexing his chest muscles. As a plot device, this is dishonest; but don't blame Fallen. He was only illustrating the technique.