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Thread: Literary characters

  1. #1
    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Literary characters

    Sometimes, well, maybe all the times, I feel as though the characters I'm reading about in books really exist. In a way, that's not such a crazy idea since characters are often inspired in real people.

    Has there ever been a character you related to a lot? Have you ever come across a character you'd love to meet and have a conversation with? What would you say to them? Have you ever found a character to be attractive? Have you ever cried when a character died? Have you ever out-grown a favorite character?
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

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    Senior Member skip's Avatar
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    I would like to hang out with Seymour Glass. Walt and Waker, too.

    Most of the characters in my beloved Austen novels would probably annoy me in real life.
    Yes, I smell like a horse. No, I don't consider that a problem.

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    dormant jigglypuff's Avatar
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    i had a crush on ponyboy from the outsiders. i assumed he was the biggest head on the cover illustration and i thought he was kinda hawt. don't laugh at me.

    for a while i saw enid coleslaw and rebecca doppelmeyer from ghost world as representations of two sides of myself in conflict. enid was kinda how i felt inside at the time, questioning the future and adult bullshit and wanting so badly to escape, while rebecca just kinda got her shit together and entered the adult world... that's how i saw it, anyway.* i think i'll always identify with them.

    thankfully i've "outgrown" holden caulfield and franny glass ("i'm just sick of ego, ego, ego!"). it's like you can only feel that way until life forces you to grow up and basically go to work. i'm pretty sure that if i could somehow meet and spend time with any of salinger's characters, i'd think they were pretentious and hate them all.

    * thinking about this more, i still feel that i'm a lot like enid, but she lost her opportunity to go to art school on a scholarship, and that's what i did. the friendship between enid and rebecca reminds me a lot of my relationship with my high school best friend. our friendship dynamic and drifting apart story was similar, down to the sharing crushes and she being the one to "get" those. it was the kind of friendship where i cheered her on instead of feeling bitter. she's the only person i've ever jokingly called a cunt. those friendships don't happen anymore once you're grown up.
    Last edited by jigglypuff; 01-12-2014 at 09:11 PM.

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    Hasta Siempre Madrigal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skip View Post
    Most of the characters in my beloved Austen novels would probably annoy me in real life.
    Oh God. Mine was Charlotte Bronte, as a young teen. I basically thought I was Lucy Snowe's reincarnation from the novel "Villette".

    "Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars--a cage, so peril, loneliness, an uncertain future, are not oppressive evils, so long as the frame is healthy and the faculties are employed; so long, especially, as Liberty lends us her wings, and Hope guides us by her star."
    "The negation of severe suffering was the nearest approach to happiness I expected to know. Besides, I seemed to hold two lives - the life of thought, and that of reality."
    I especially related to the way she analyzed her love life. The platonic thing, and who she eventually wants in the end.

    Actually, that was something of a continuation from my pre-teen crush on Gilbert Bligh from Anne of Green Gables (oh God). I think it captured my conflictive relationship with the opposite sex. I never actually paid attention to boys until they were pissing me off on their own initiative. I did have a special thing with Anne too. Her name is part of my real name, and I wished I had red hair (even though she hates it in the novels). I also liked to fantasize that I was adopted, because I didn't really look like anyone in the family. Except for a grandfather, according to my parents. The pictures are unclear and I never got to meet him.
    Last edited by Madrigal; 01-12-2014 at 08:50 PM.
    Everything under heaven is in utter chaos; the situation is excellent. - Mao

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    a fool on a journey pensive_pilgrim's Avatar
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    Goldmund from Narcissus and Goldmund. He was what I wanted to be, the ideal version of myself. Actually I kinda had a thing for all of Hesse's characters, which seems kinda silly but whatever. They seemed like people I could easily fall in love with.

    For a couple years I was down with Bukowski. Never saw myself in him really, he reminded me of my best friend at the time(when I was a drunk) who was an ISFP. I think I saw more of myself in Burroughs.

    Oh and the kid in Where the Red Fern Grows. I loved that book when I was a little kid, must have read it a dozen times.

    And some of the characters in Houellebecq's books, probably Bruno in The Elementary Particles or the main character of The Possibility of an Island.

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    dormant jigglypuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pathogenetic_peripatetic View Post
    Oh and the kid in Where the Red Fern Grows. I loved that book when I was a little kid, must have read it a dozen times.
    that was the first favorite book i ever had.

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    FWIW, I think the source fiction itself is detestable, but the character of Howard Roark is one that I strongly relate to.

    edit: Edmond Dantès, as well. Actually, cross the traits and stories of those two, and you've got someone I have a lot in common with, in a sense.

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    schlemiel Faust's Avatar
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    I'd like to drink with the Karamazovs. And Lucifer.

    Honestly I find it remarkably easy to relate to characters, but never in an all-encompassing manner. Add to that, sometimes the character in a novel most closely resembling myself is the most boring one, or they're such a blank-slate "observer" that I just project myself easily (protagonists from Murakami's novels are like this)

    FWIW, I think the source fiction itself is detestable, but the character of Howard Roark is one that I strongly relate to.
    I like Roark. I find it interesting that Lucifer as portrayed in the Sandman universe reminds me of him in particular, a sort of ubermensch. Other times Satan is a conniving, angry trickster. But always interesting.

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    dormant jigglypuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faust View Post
    Add to that, sometimes the character in a novel most closely resembling myself is the most boring one, or they're such a blank-slate "observer" that I just project myself easily (protagonists from Murakami's novels are like this)
    oh yeah, that's too easy. i saw a bit of myself in midori and naoko from norwegian wood. i'm currently in the middle of kafka on the shore though and for reason it's kinda boring my brains out. ??? (well not really but i'm having trouble finishing this one)

    i thought of another one: dr. manhattan from watchmen. even though it was all pretty fantastical, when i read it i found myself identifying heavily with his "voice" and thought process and to his complex relationship with time. the chapter when he's on the moon narrating his past was my favorite part.
    Last edited by jigglypuff; 01-13-2014 at 01:54 AM.

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    schlemiel Faust's Avatar
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    Definitely the most boring out of the few I finished.

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