Friday, 4 March 2011
Option 2 (I may edit with a better title if I come up with one)
Ernest Hemingway once said that “when writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature,” and I think this is a really important distinction to make. Living people are flawed, every single one of them, and so I think it’s crucial that, to make characters believable, they have to be flawed in some way. Perfection is boring. So, considering the statement “A protagonist that embodies the flaws and weaknesses of the writer distracts the reader from the narrative itself,” I’d have to say that I disagree. It’s not enough in my opinion for a character to be simply flawed, that aspect of their personality has to be as believable as any other part, and I think it probably is easier to write convincingly about a flaw that you have, a trait that you possess. Therefore, if the character embodies the flaws of the writer, they might end up being a better character for it. Then, I suppose, you have to consider the awareness of the reader. If I didn’t know that John Cheever was an alcoholic, would that change the way I read his work? I don’t think it would, but I try not to let knowledge of the author affect the way I read things. I’m a firm believer that the words are far more important than the context, so what I’m really saying here is that a protagonist with the same flaws as the writer can only be distracting if you’re aware of the connection. And I prefer not to be aware.