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View Diary: Bookflurries-Bookchat: What a Character! (170 comments)

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  •  Interesting poll choices (10+ / 0-)

    But why (in the Harper Lee) not Boo? There's a character the exact opposite of what others (at least little kids) think of him, in the end forced to do what is probably completely against his nature (take a life). Or the evil bigoted morphine addict who in dying still taught Jem that "courage is not a man with a gun." Too many great characters in that one.

    I also have to write-in a vote for Jane Eyre.

    A lot of Rowling and Tolkien. Frodo Baggins was IMO a revolutionary character that perhaps could only have come out of WWI: the antihero, a short homely dude of no skill in fighting, cleverness, or lore; who fails the ultimate test, but does enough to make success possible; whose reward is terminal PTSD. Or Turin, the hero of unmatched martial skill and commanding charisma, utterly destroyed by forces too great for him. Tolkien's most interesting character -- at least by the time he died -- might just be Galadriel, who had the foresight to know that banishing Morgoth was just the beginning; a commander and general who didn't like to rule others; the first environmentalist.

    Robin Hood taps into complex social, cultural, and historical divisions. But the characters themselves are more like stereotypes.

    •  Good points...thanks! (5+ / 0-)
      But the characters themselves are more like stereotypes.
      Do you think we made them into stereotypes?  When I was a child and read about them, they seemed very real and unusual characters.  Have copycats ruined them?

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      by cfk on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 06:28:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually I think it was intentional (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cfk, Emmet, Monsieur Georges, Brecht

        The little guy, the savvy, plucky, and resourceful against the rich, greedy conqueror who would impose their values on the native while extracting their wealth. Not a lot of complexity there, but stories like that never are because that's not the point. This, developed further, is the story of Ivanhoe.

        In fact I'm sympathetic: these are cultural  battles and are fought everywhere, including (to go off on a tangent) about the one sport I follow -- football. So I'm partial to Barcelona, can't stand Real Madrid; definitely favor the green side of the Celtic-Rangers split. This last is ironic as both are in the Scottish League (same city, even -- Glasgow) but one looks to Ireland, the other to England.

        Speaking of irony, no doubt the irony in the Robin Hood stories was unintentional: what the Normans were doing to them is what they did to Britons.

        That could lead down another tangent -- early Arthuriana and its modern versions (like the Mary Stewart). Only the natives won -- for a little while.  Or perhaps Y Goddodin, but that one's about heroic failure against the German invader.

        •  Stereotypes and Complexity: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cfk, alefnot

          You and cfk are both right, I think.

          Characters can evolve over time. They may get stuck, and become stereotypes, but then another author (or movie or TV director) will take that scarecrow and fill it with a new spark.

          Look at Batman - the original comic, then the camp TV series in the 60s, then the Dark Night comics in the 80s, and now taken further in the last 25 years of movies.

          Sherlock Holmes, who's been 50% of so many different fictional characters, and is now getting bent out of shop in various movies and TV shows.

          James Bond. Captain Kirk. Doctor Who. Half the characters in Lord of the Rings.

          Robin Hood has several centuries on all of these. He is a bit closer to myth than most of them. He's certainly evolved, become a stereotype, and then evolved further many times.

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 02:36:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Second Jane Eyre (9+ / 0-)

      Jim Hawkins and every damn one of the other characters in  Treasuer Island, including Captain Flint.

      Claudius in I, Claudius and every venomous villain (that would be everyone else) in the book.

      Barkis
      and Clara Pegotty in David Copperfield.

      Absolutely no one in Ivanhoe.  Ick! to all.

      Jack Aubrey, Stephen Maturin, and Diana Villiers, but not Sophie.  She's too gentle and sterotypically feminine.

      Oh dear, here I go again.

      Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

      by Limelite on Wed Jan 09, 2013 at 06:34:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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