February 26, 2007

The "Real" Characters

"Through the novel's rhetoric we become aware of the meaning which the characters' experience has for a mind like that of the implied author, and we enter thus into his subjective world...that if we view him as a fictional persona, as another dramatized consciousness, rather than as an authoritative source of values, the implied author, too, enlarges our knowledge of experience" (Paris 221).

One of the first things I learned when I started to take an interest in studying literature (around high school) was that character anaylsis just doesn't cut it. Most readers can formulate some sort of idea about the characters in a story but never go beyond this surface to find a deeper analysis of the work. Why pay so much attention to characters anyway? It's not like they are real...

Or are they? As Paris states in "The Uses of Psychology" while fictional characters may not be actual living people, they are representative of the realistic fiction and are therefore, "real" in their own way. By creating plausible characters in a realistic work, the author can manipulate and draw in the reader, creating responses and feelings about the characters and, then the author's intent of the story. In order to convey the meaning or theme, the author first must draw in the reader through dynamic characters- without them, the meaning may be lost since the reader is not as actively engaged with the text. When we read, we inevitably look for things we understand or can relate to- especially the characters. We want to form a type of connection with them and in doing so, can understand the character's world (talking again as if they are real and have a world) and therefore, can understand the author's intent.

Paris, ''The Uses of Psychology'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Posted by VanessaKolberg at February 26, 2007 12:50 PM | TrackBack
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