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Facepalm / Literature

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Facepalm — when your toddler has a meltdown in the grocery store
Facepalming in literature.

  • At the end of Jules Verne's Around the Moon, the leader of the rescue team realizes that the crashed spaceship they are looking for can actually float, so they searched it in vain for many days with bathyspheres on the ocean floor. He then performs a facepalm, forgetting about his Hook Hand, and knocks himself out.
  • In Bad Kitty: Kitten Trouble, Kitty facepalms at the idea of bringing a group of kittens into the house to temporarily shelter them during a neighborhood conflict.
  • The Bible: Depending on your translation, one that's Older Than Feudalism: Ezekiel 36:31: "Then you will remember your evil ways and wicked deeds, and you will loathe yourselves for your sins and detestable practices." However, the literal Hebrew can be understood to read: "...and you will grab your faces for your sins...".
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  • The Canterville Ghost: When Virginia hears how sad Sir Simon really is, that he cannot sleep and longs for peace in death, her eyes grow dim with tears and she hides her face in her hands.
  • Captive Prince: Nikandros, Damen's childhood friend and trusted advisor, usually expresses his frustration with his King's foibles in this manner. For Laurent, whom he doesn't like or trust, Nikandros gives the Disapproving Look instead.
    Nikandros held his gaze, then let out a breath and passed his hand over his face, massaging it briefly.
  • The eponymous protagonist and Only Sane Man of The Chronicles of Steve Stollberg facepalms whenever someone says something stupid.
  • Discworld: Near the end of Men at Arms, Sam Vimes does this when he is told that Captain Carrot has come to the tradesman's entrance of his house.
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  • The Duumvirate and a few other Illuminati do this in response to abject stupidity.
  • Earth (The Book) has this reaction after the author's answer an FAQ regarding the competing theory for Evolution — namely, creationism.
    Q: Six days? Six days?!?
    A: [Covers eyes, shakes head.]
  • Emma: Emma is ashamed of her meddling and her tricks when Harriet shows her her old treasure, a keepsake from her infatuation with Mr Elton. Emma puts her hand before her face and jumps up from her seat.
  • In the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! book Harold & Hog PRETEND FOR REAL!, Hog double facepalms after Harold says that he is going to be careful while smiling and dancing and flying, pointing out that Gerald would never smile and dance and fly all at the same time.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: In The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Zaphod Beeblebrox slaps both of his foreheads when he realizes he's in Milliways.
  • In the Honor Harrington novel The Honor of the Queen, Ambassador Langtry does this when Mr. Houseman reveals his idiocy and upgrades to a double when things go From Bad to Worse.
  • In The LawDog Files this is described as the Migraine Salute.
  • The father of Little Critter is seen doing this on the cover of Just Helping My Dad as Little Critter stands holding a shovel in a puddle of water created from a hose he left running.
  • The Lost Fleet: Captain "Black Jack" Geary is frequently driven to this trope by the modern (i.e. a hundred years after his time) faith that "fighting spirit" makes up for a total lack of tactics.
  • In Naptastrophe, a children's picture book by Jarrett J. Krosoczka about a little bunny who wouldn't take her nap, the father facepalms after the bunny has a meltdown at the store because she's tired and the bright lights are bothering her.
  • In Persuasion, Captain Wentworth "passes his hand across his eyes" when he talks to Anne before the concert. They talk about Louisa's fall from the steps and he remembers that he failed to catch her.
  • In Star Wars: Jedi Academy: The Phantom Bully, the Padawan Roan Novachez resorts to this after hundreds of voorpak clones run riot at a talent show where he and his friend Gaiana were supposed to perform an act with a trained voorpak. His notoriously strict Jedi Master Mr. Garfield asks him what's going on and he tells him while facepalming that he doesn't want to know.
  • Tomcat Blue Eyes' Diaries: It has a cat variant — Face Paw. White Whiskers Rusty runs his paw over his face when Blue Eyes says cat's whiskers are for looking beautiful and being all dolled up.
  • Wuthering Heights: Heathcliff "struck his forehead with rage" when Mr Lockwood told him about his nightmares.
  • Averted in The Night's Dawn Trilogy when it's mentioned that one character would have put his head in his hands if it weren't for the fact that he was pulling a high-G maneuver in a spacecraft at the time.


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