Sorry for the absence of discussion posts in awhile! They are one of my favourite posts and, along with reviews, the most rewarding, but like reviews, they take FOREVER to write and with schoolwork and stuff, it is hard to find the motivation: but I am doing it. I have a few ideas that I have compiled over some time, but today I am going to be talking about identifying with characters in books and whether it is a good or a bad thing.
I actually came up with this idea whilst in the bathroom at school whilst I was thinking of some reviews. People so often talk about identifying with the characters in a book in a positive way, but nobody ever seemed to look at the potential negatives, so that is how this idea was born. Without further ado, let’s begin with the positives of identifying with characters.
Obviously, if people talk about identifying with characters positively, there are going to be some positives: we aren’t all crazy. In fact, there are many positives.
Firstly, identifying with a character can make you more easily share their emotions and can make you feel the impact of the events in the story more deeply because you understand how the character is feeling and can sympathise.
Secondly, identifying with a character can help you immerse yourself in the world of the book, because you can more easily slip yourself into that character and experience the world how they are experiencing it.
Thirdly, identifying with a character makes all of the problems that that character has seem more real, more believable (if they aren’t downright ludicrous in the first place, that is), simply because the chances are that if you identify with the character some part of that character’s problems you will also be able to identify with, even if it is only the internal struggle between two things in a similar way to yourself. We don’t all fight dragons or wield swords, after all.
Finally, identifying with characters can help you learn more things about yourself. It can help you realise where you make mistakes, recognise your strengths and even make you feel a little less alone in your problems.
In conclusion, there are plenty of positive things about identifying with characters, so it definitely isn’t bad, but is it good either?
So, we’ve talked about the good parts of identifying with characters, now for what makes this discussion so important: the negatives.
First of all, do we not read to learn about people other than ourselves, in different situations with different issues and different outlooks on life. At least for me, reading is not only about pleasure, relaxation or entertainment, it is about the acquisition of knowledge, of an insight into the lives and struggles of other people, about becoming more open-minded and learning to see the world form different perspectives. This is why diversity in books is so important (oh look, another discussion idea!).
If we are just reading about characters like us whom we relate to and can see ourselves in, how are we opening doors to learning about those completely different from ourselves?
That is pretty much the only negative I could think of (and is the negative I thought of in the bathroom that day).
Identifying with characters definitely isn’t bad but it isn’t entirely good either: a good balance is needed in this situation, I think.
Let me know what you think about this in the comments and we can discuss it!!!! If you have any discussion posts you would like to see, please feel free to let me know!!!
P.S. I am pre-writing this blog post, so I might already be in Moscow, depending on when I decide to post this!
P.P.S. This blog post only took me twenty minutes to write. That’s really short for a discussion post!!!!!