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Informed Wrongness / Literature

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  • The Michael Crichton novel Timeline reveals that the Corrupt Corporate Executive who owns the Time Machine at the center of the novel is planning to market it to the rich and powerful, to host tour groups to the past. And That's Terrible, so much so that the heroes use the time machine strand him in the middle of the Bubonic Plague as punishment. Except, as the novel repeatedly reminds the reader, this form of time travel doesn't cause paradoxes because the past can't be changed: instead, it's more like traveling between identical Alternate Universes that are out of historical sync with one another (this is presented a little inconsistently, since the heroes first got involved via a letter from the past, but the book holds to that explanation regardless). So, apart from an assumed Alien Noninterference Clause towards those other timelines that doesn't actually exist in the book (since it takes place in today's world), there doesn't seem to be anything really wrong with his plan. It's just confirmed as wrong by the horrified reactions of the heroes. This apparently wasn't lost on the movie producers: The Film of the Book instead has the villain accidentally stranding himself in the past while trying to kill the heroes.
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  • In The Host, Wanderer is treated as saintly and righteous by most of the humans after a very short period of mistrust, while Kyle is shown as wrong for continuing to want her dead just because she's a deadly parasite that participated in the destruction of his entire culture, and is still protecting the regime that perpetrated that destruction. Needless to say, this has given a few readers pause.
  • Anyone who opposes, or even merely dislikes, Richard and/or Kahlan in The Sword of Truth is usually shown to be a jerkass or evil, but Chandalen is an exception in that he starts off hating Richard and Kahlan but eventually comes around. Before he does so, he states his reason for his hatred of Richard; Richard killed Chandalen's uncle. And yes, he really did. For some reason, Chandalen is consistently portrayed as wrong for hating the man who killed his uncle; he is routinely punished and/or made a fool of whenever he speaks against Richard or does something to get him to leave their village. One of his punishments is that he's sent to protect Kahlan on her mission to Aydindril to get Zedd's help to prevent the Keeper of the Underworld from entering the mortal plain. He is explicitly told that if any harm comes to her, he will be killed, meaning that he can't go back to his village unless she does. Along the way, Kahlan treats him with disdain, even doing dangerous things and taunting him about what will happen if she dies. We're supposed to be on her side when she does this. She eventually runs into the tattered remains of an army, and spends a majority of the rest of the book helping this army defeat an invading force...while Chandalen rightly reminds her that the fate of the entire world is at stake and they don't have time to worry about these two clashing armies. He's treated as a jerk for that.
  • Twilight has any character who is not agreeing with Bella's views as this.
    • Her father Charlie Swan gets a particularly heavy dose of this. He's repeatedly portrayed as being wrong and in the way of Edward and Bella's true love by grounding her, suggesting for her to live with her mother or seek help when she needs it. Given that Charlie wanted to ground her after she disappeared on him with barely any mention on where she was going and why while he was at a friend's funeral, the fact that he suggested she live with her mother in Phoenix after she becomes catatonic after Edward leaves her and to seek professional help from a therapist over her depression because of the same thing... it's difficult to not see that Charlie is merely acting as a well-reasoned, decent parent who is being blatantly ignored and belittled by his daughter.
    • Leah in regards of her pining after Sam because of the imprinting. The two of them used to be a couple, but then Sam imprinted on her cousin Emily, meaning that Sam instantly fell in love with her. The tribe keeps telling her that her hurt feelings are annoying and pointless, with imprinting portrayed as a wonderful thing, like finding one's soulmate. Leah and Sam were originally engaged and were very loving to each other, so being suddenly dropped and Leah turning out to be a female werewolf, meaning that she has unwanted access to every werewolves' thoughts, including Sam's, it just makes Leah appear even more sympathetic to the reader and to be fully justified in being hurt.
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    • Another Leah incident is when she tells Jacob that he needs to stop pining over Bella. One of the arguments she uses for this that the pack mind-link means that Jacob's pining is making the rest of the pack, including Leah, have sex dreams about Bella. Despite the fact that Leah is saying the exact same thing to Jacob that the rest of the pack keeps saying to her, the reader is clearly supposed to be angry at her for not being sympathetic to Jacob's feelings.
    • Leah gets another one when she eventually confronts Bella about her attitude towards Jacob, always asking him to remain by her side and playing with him, despite having made it more than clear that he has no chance with her, that Bella is in love and happily married with Edward and is choosing to become a vampire instead of living out her life with Jacob. Everyone, including Jacob, says how wrong it was of Leah to do that.
  • The Baby-Sitters Club had many examples of this trope.
    • In one book Claudia meets a new friend who shares her interest in art, leading Claudia to skip a couple of the club's meetings. The rest of the girls are furious at this, and go so far as to short-sheet her bed and leave nasty notes in her home for her to find — keep in mind that they are at this point still using Claudia's bedroom and phone for club meetings. Yet by the end of the book, Claudia is the one who has to apologise for her behaviour in jilting them for another friend.
    • In a much later book, Mary Anne goes to the mall with her father and gets herself a new short haircut and a range of new outfits. The rest of the club responds as though she's murdered one of them and are resentful and nasty over the fact that her new look has given her a boost in confidence. Once again, Mary Anne is the one apologising by the end. Dawn's reasoning behind her anger at Mary Anne is especially galling — she tells her step-sister that she felt left out by not being included in the father/daughter shopping spree. Because God forbid a teenage girl get to spend one-on-one time with her only living parent for a single afternoon.
    • Early in the series, when Lucy Newton is born, her parents decide to hire a new sitter for her as they feel that, no matter how mature the club members are, a 13-year-old may not be able to cope with a newborn. All the girls act like this is incredibly unfair and irrational and, even when they're finally allowed to sit for Lucy at the end of the book due to Protagonist-Centered Morality, they are still somewhat miffed that the Newtons continue to hire an older babysitter separately.
    • When Stacey gets a boyfriend and starts spending more time with him, the other girls get angry with her for daring to have a life outside the club, yelling at her for wanting to spend time with other people or for doing things other club members have done (such as forgetting a babysitting job.) Stacey quits the club and her decision is presented as justified, yet a few books later her new friends turn out to be delinquents. The story presents it that Stacey is legitimately incapable of choosing her own friends or having a life without the other girls, and she ends up crawling back and apologizing.
    • In one book, when a friend of David Michael's comes over whilst Kristy is babysitting, the friend's parents won't let him stay because Watson and Elizabeth aren't there. Kristy is furious that they don't think her a good enough babysitter, and the reader is supposed to sympathize with her, even though it's perfectly reasonable not to want to leave one's child with an unknown (and very young) babysitter.
    • Claudia's sister Janine is referred to as "Mean" Janine and portrayed as pushy and bossy, even though her requests are often reasonable and she's usually trying to take care of Claudia or make sure that she meets her study commitments.
    • In the spin-off California Diaries series, Dawn, Sunny and Maggie drift away from their friend Jill. Dawn finally ends her friendship with Jill over two incidents: first, Jill gives away her knowledge of Dawn's stepmother's pregnancy, which was supposed to be a secret. Dawn treats this as a huge betrayal even though she is the one who leaked the secret in the first place, and Jill was trying to help Dawn's stepmother, thinking it wasn't safe for her to carry a heavy object whilst pregnant. Then Jill deliberately snitches on the other girls for going to a high school party where they shouldn't have been. The reader is supposed to see this as unforgivable despite the fact that Jill's "friends" had been vile to her (sneaking out of a sleepover at her house because they found it boring) and refused to take steps to avoid implicating her, even after she lied to cover for them. It's often difficult to see Jill as the bad friend during this storyline.
  • Anya, narrator of The Darkest Kiss, condemns the Greek gods' treatment of her mother as cruel and hypocritical. However, Dysnomia didn't just sleep with a lot of men. She slept with a lot of married men, knowingly and repeatedly, and didn't care that she was damaging other people's relationships by doing so.note 
  • An early scene in Dune has the Reverend Mother making a flattering remark about eugenics in front of Paul, and Paul inwardly notes that the notion has offended his "instinct for rightness." The book never elaborates on this. Maybe Frank Herbert didn't think he had to?
  • In the Give Yourself Goosebumps book Hocus-Pocus Horror, "you" (the reader) want to save a dog that an evil stage magician is using in his act - but the dog has been turned invisible, so you are not sure where it is. You can either choose to steal the magician's bag of tricks (believing that the dog may be in there), or leave without it. If you decide that stealing is wrong and choose to leave the bag behind, you are punished with a bad ending by having the invisible dog attack and kill you - even though you were trying to do the right thing by not stealing, and couldn't be sure whether or not the dog was really in the bag.
    • In one storyline of Please Don't Feed the Vampire, you have been turned into a vampire and are desperate for blood. You are then offered the choice of whether or not to drink a glass of blood offered by another vampire. If you accept, the book stops the story there and chastises you for doing something so disgusting - even though in context of the story, it would be an entirely reasonable course of action (as a vampire, it's your only food source, and you're already becoming sick without it.)
  • Warrior Cats: Moth Flight as of Moth Flight's Vision. The first-ever medicine cat of the Clans makes the rules where medicine cats are forbidden from taking mates or having kits, and she (as well as the narrative) thinks that having kittens was a mistake and that no medicine cat should ever have them. The reason why, though? It's because she thinks she can't divide herself between her kits and her duties as medicine cat, and she thinks that the other medicine cats would get distracted too. Nothing bad really happens anyway because of her having kits other than her being stressed, her kits missing her, her Clanmates helping her with them, and one of her kits getting into an accident that any kitten gets into. But because she's stressed, she gives them away and declares that no medicine cat should ever have kittens.
  • Survivor Dogs: Mickey is portrayed as overly attached to his old owners. He also still cares for humans, which is wrong because he's a stray now. The other dogs, including the former street dog Lucky, think he has dual loyalty and is being unfaithful by caring about humans. However, Mickey was born and raised a pet and his humans were his family. He shouldn't stop grieving them and caring for them just because he lives as a stray now.
  • The Hand of Death by Margaret Yorke focuses on a middle-aged man who becomes a serial rapist due to his Sexless Marriage. One of his victims dies from internal bleeding because he punctured her liver while threatening her with a knife. The novel presents it that he's a truly evil, irredeemable person for not anonymously calling an ambulance to help her (which is apparently worse than rape) - even though he didn't realize he'd caused any more than a scratch, and on hearing about the death assumes she must have had a heart condition.

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