Beyond the Pale

Meanings of “Beyond the Pale”

The phrase “beyond the pale” means an unacceptable action or behavior. It is also used for the situation when a person breaks the rules of ethics and morality and does something disgraceful or uncivilized in public.

Origin of “Beyond the Pale”

The phrase “beyond the pale” appeared in print in early 1657 in a poem History of Polindor and Flostella by John Harington. He has used it thus: “Both Dove-like roved forth beyond the pale to planted Myrtle-walk.” Since then, it has become popular almost in the same meanings.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Beyond the Pale by Abrar Ajaz Wani

The sun too felt pity-cold,
Of emotions and connections,
Nothing to say or going beyond?
He has lost every clue of his way,
Straying in the nights of winter,
Alas! For the lover of your shade,
Find nothing to shelter here,
But beyond your soft veil of speech.
Raising are the misfortunes,
Here, heading are the calamities,
From everywhere, now and then,
He is being hit with trauma.
The matter has now gone,
And I say ‘beyond the pale’.
Oh For the heaven’s sake,
How can ye see fading spring?
And a punishment to the mad?
You can do anything un-natural,
So do what you can do to behold it,
Olove, stop the approaching autumn,
I once loved dawn of moon, here.
Or Be-here with me, to be-hold it,
Then least I can cherish,
The thoughts of previous night
And of ‘Beyond the pale’.

This Kashmiri poet has beautifully expressed his feelings of suppression. The phrase is used as the title of his poem. Personifying the sun, he has painted the picture of a desolate area where the matter has now crossed the boundaries, which is unacceptable. The wait for someone felt like punishment to the poet. He also refuses the entrance of the new season and compares his sad night as ‘beyond the pale’.

Example #2

Beyond the Pale by John Kipling Lewis

If i go pale beyond the pale
will my family follow?

I can only wish
for the feelings of love,
fleeting as they seem,
to hold fast to my skin
and the adhesion to
the homunculus and

to keep my slipping past
their hold into the pale.
Way beyond the pale.

John Kipling Lewis used this phrase to show his imaginary deformation to check his family for their love for him. He questions if his family will continue to love him if he does something terrible and unethical; hence using the phrase ‘beyond the pale’ He compares his feelings and desire to hold on to demons from the past. He also recalls the past to feel and realize a love should be there. His indirect answer is that nobody would extend this love to him.

Example #3

Beyond the Pale by Rudyard Kipling

This story shows Christopher Trejago’s love with Bisea, a Hindu widow, combined with jealousy and miscommunication. However, Trejago returns to the rendezvous to see that her hands have been cut. He, too, faces an attack. The story shows the true meanings of this phrase through their failed love story. According to the Indian ethical framework, no British or a non-Hindu man can associate with an Indian girl. Hence Trejago is attacked, and Bisea is punished.

Example #4

Beyond the Pale: White Women, Racism, and History by Vron Ware

This book traces feminism, its rise, and its political leanings. It examines and gives different semantics of feminism. The book also details political links between whites and blacks, femininity, racism, and antislavery. The author contributes to anti-racism to some extent. The book looks in the areas of feminism that are considered taboos. The phrase beyond the pale applies here as the feminism crossed the existing boundaries.

Examples in Sentences

Example #1: “He is often acting beyond the pale, despite knowing that there are consequences if he crosses the country’s border without permission.”

Example #2: “James is an introvert and always obeys the rules. I saw him once going beyond the pale to help someone get to the hospital.

Example #3: “Irene decided that she does not want to go beyond the pale even if she is not finding a new job anytime sooner.”

Example #4: “Sometimes the businesses go beyond the pale and charge a high price for basic needs during difficult times like epidemic and pandemic.”

Example #5: “Justin was a good police officer. However, he always went beyond the pale to catch the criminals.”