Average does not Equal Interesting

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"Sameness doesn't present us with metaphorical possibilities, whereas difference - from the average, the typical, the expected - is always rich with possibility." (Foster, Chapter 21;page 194) 

I chose to take a look at this quote because not only did it strike me as very true in terms of the literary world, but also in terms of the real world. I know we are always cautioned when comparing the literary world to the real world, but we are obsessed with anomalies in both realms. I immediately thought of the success of reality TV. Most of these shows feature unusual circumstances: Jon and Kate plus Eight, The 1,000 Pound Man, Little People: Big World. We are also captivated by individuals who are exceptionally talented, whether it be in learning, sports, or the arts. Society is fascinated by the abnormal. One of my friends who is an avid viewer of Jon and Kate plus eight reveals that part of the reason she enjoys watching the show is to see how the parents approach ordinary activities with eight children, which is considered a high number today. Perhaps, people even look to this show for encouragement: if they can manage eight children, I can handle three. So part of the popularity is also being able to identify with the abnormal. Any case that is atypical is appealing in some manner; in other words, no one wants to read a story about average characters with no mystery, exitement, or drama; nothing that sets them apart. Even if a character merely has a scar, the reader is immediately drawn in by the curiosity of wanting to know where it came from, and why it is significant. Other than reality TV, can you think of other instances where anomalies or differences are all the rage???



While it is different, I agree with your take on this quote as well. Characters living in a literary world that's pretty similar to our own could be boring if they're just average and fit in with everyone else. If they live in a topsy-turvy world, their norm can be much more interesting than our norm. When you mentioned that a scar can set a character apart, my mind immediately went to Harry Potter. The fictional world of those books, though, is definitely very different from our world. Do you think that that book would still be interesting if Harry was just an average guy who fit in with the rest of the wizarding world? You'd still have the excitement and fantasy of all the magic. After all, Sabrina the teenage witch didn't really have any special destiny or anything like that, but her fantastical circumstances were still enough to make a whole ongoing series about her. I certainly think Harry Potter would be a very different book series if it were just a normal teenage wizard trying to get through high school.

Alicia Campbell said:

I agree with you. Harry Potter and Sabrina the Teenage Witch are both interesting because their lives are so different from ours. So even if Harry Potter was a typical teenage wizard, the story would probably be no less interesting, since we are not wizards. But I'm sure we all wished we could use a little magic from time to time, which also adds to the appeal.

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