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 Qualms with quotations

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The Unoriginal
Shitgobbling pissdrinker
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Join date : 2009-06-17

PostSubject: Qualms with quotations   Sun Jul 17, 2011 5:57 pm

I like to use 'borrowed' titles for my chapters, and add quotes at the beginning, to set the mood or as a teaser of things to come. Those of you who have read Watership Down know what I'm talking about; those who haven't ought to read it, it's a helluva story.
My question is, what if I just use a couple of lines from a song that is about something else completely? Would that be confusing to those who know the entire referred work?

As an example, probably everyone knows Suzanne Vega's Luca is about an abused child, but if I quoted just these verses:

I live upstairs from you
Yes i think you've seen me before
If you hear something late at night
Some kind of trouble, some kind of fight
Just don't ask me what it was


and the story was about, say, a werewolf living in an apartment building who has a crush on the girl next door, what would you think? Amused that the verses fit in with the new setup, or offended that I can't come up with something more appropriate?
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Dixie
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Join date : 2009-06-12
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PostSubject: Re: Qualms with quotations   Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:31 am

In this particular example, the quote would be meaningless for me, other than its vague reference to events in the chapter that it prefaces. I don't listen to music radio, so have never knowingly heard anything by Suzanne Vega, and I didn't even know that Luca existed, let alone what it's about. You can't make the sweeping statement that "everybody knows" something - this is patently untrue.

My reaction to the quote would therefore be to ignore it.
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Sutremaine
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Join date : 2009-11-14
Age : 32
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PostSubject: Re: Qualms with quotations   Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:24 pm

It's kind of a 'meh' quote by itself. I'd say find something more evocative. I do know the song, but having it be about something totally unrelated would leave my scratching my head. Mostly it would be because of the vagueness of the quote. If a quote had lyrics that were coincidentally specific, I'd chuckle, but this doesn't do anything but leave me wondering if I've missed something.
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