Who?

Daughter and a friend are celebrating the end of their respective grad school semesters at a Hobbit Hole in the mountains around Tacoma. I gather this place is a resort built to look like the Hobbit Holes in Lord of the Rings.  How fun! Perhaps they will pretend they are hobbits.

What character in a book would you like to be?

49 thoughts on “Who?”

  1. When I was a kid, I always wanted to be Horatio Hornblower. These days . . . it’d be fun to be Jack Reacher for one book, but I don’t think I could handle that lifestyle for very long.

    C in O

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    1. But what if you could become a fictional character and change the outcome of the book? Maybe you could be Scarlett O’Hara, but instead of chasing after Ashley Wilkes you decided to free all your slaves and turn Tara into a stop on the underground railroad.

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        1. Fictional characters are not people. They are defined by their actions and their setting. Those are the only parts of them that manifest. Outside of that, they are another character.

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        2. I’m just curious here, but is the term “Scarlet Letter” derived from Gone with the Wind? If so, in referring to every single republican congressmen as wearing one for life has been misspelled!

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        3. They have a life outside the book…in my mind and in many other readers’ minds. But not yours. Which is okay. We can have different opinions.

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    2. you know other than pinocchio i can’t think of a puppet i am fond of
      charlie mccarthy and mortimer sneed no
      lamb chop no
      oh i forgot about kermit and animal and beaker
      i like all those guys
      kermit and pinocchio

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    3. You’ll find more than one author, Bill, who will tell you that sometimes fictional characters take over and determine the direction of the plot and their destiny.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, but not really. That’s just a writer’s way of saying that the character they’ve created is so well defined in their mind that their subconscious is activated in the same way it’s activated in dreams to supply details and plots that weren’t available to their conscious mind.
        Anyway, as a reader, I only know what the writer tells me or implies about a character and that’s necessarily fragmentary, in the same way that you may think you know something about a celebrity but you don’t, really. I can take the character as described and fill in the missing pieces from my own imagination but that’s such a long way from the character in the book that I would argue it’s not the same character at all.

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        1. That’s an interesting theory, Bill. That may explain why so many people interpret the same work differently. We each bring to a work of fiction our life experiences, and I suppose that defines, at least to some extent, how we see the world – whether real or fictional.

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  2. Sister Luke in The Nun’s Story, one of the books I reread from time to time (for whatever reason). I wonder what it would feel like to walk out of that convent at the end, leave sisterhood with all its rules and discipline behind, and strike out on her own.

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    1. We know at least one answer to your question, Barbara. Beryl Singleton Bissel was a nun who married a man who had been a priest. She lives near Clyde’s old home area, near Two Harbors. Her award-winning book about the experience is called Scent of God.

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  3. I’m conflicted! I’m torn between Huck Finn, Scout Finch and Mary Poppins. I think there’s a bit of all three of them in me, although I have to admit I’ve pretty much beaten Huck into submission by now.

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    1. I considered Huck Finn, too, PJ. He’s a kid with a good heart but has trouble following it because his thinking is too influenced by the culture of his time and place. The big example is that Huck’s heart tells him Jim is a human being but he feels that is unethical because it clashes with society’s low opinions of African Americans. I wouldn’t want to be Huck because I wouldn’t choose to live with so much ethical conflict.

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    2. When you say you would like to be those characters, do you mean for their whole fictional life, including the squalid and quotidian parts or just the exciting and heroic parts that happen in the story, and if the latter, isn’t your role preordained?
      Outside of the story, Mary Poppins’ life in particular seems ephemeral—sort of like Shane with an umbrella and a carpetbag.

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      1. If you were asking me, Bill (I think you’re addressing PJ, actually) – I consider this a fantasy exercise. I’m imagining stepping into a dream and seeing what this person/character’s life ls like. No doubt I will not want to stay there, and will realize that I’d keep my on life, thank you very much.

        Only tangentially related: I remember a Star Trek TNG episode where Jean-Luc Picard was in some alternate universe or something, and it gave you snippets of a life he lived there over several decades… had children, spouse died (if memory serves, this was a long time ago). It has stayed with me. Then he slipped back into his “regular” life that we view… very thought provoking.

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        1. The thing is, that wasn’t the original question and you can’t be another person, even a fictional one without being the whole person in the same way that you can’t experience the euphoria of being free of the rules and discipline of the convent in the Nun’s Story without first having to live through that crap. Otherwise, it doesn’t mean anything.

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  4. Seriously, Bill? Since when are our answers on this blog limited to a strict interpretation of the original question? Like, Barb, I took this question pretty much as a fantasy exercise. Sure glad I didn’t put forth another choice, Lisbeth Salander, on here for public scrutiny.

    It never occurred to me that I’d have to justify or defend the three choices I proffered above, and yet, two of them have been found wanting. Mary Poppins and Huck Finn, for god’s sake. It’s nice to have tools besides logic and rational thinking in the tool box.

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    1. I don’t think so, because pretending was implied in the question. My problem was more with what the question meant in terms of the fictional characters and their brief and selective appearance in a work of fiction as opposed to embodying a whole and complex person for their whole life. Real people have life-long histories and fictional characters don’t but even given the limited history that we know, when you say you would like to be, or pretend to be, that character are you saying you want to take on their whole background or just some specific episode, and what does that even mean without a context? I suspect that many of the respondents interpreted the question as, “What fictional characters have qualities or take actions you admire?” Or maybe “What fictional character do you especially identify with?”
      But that wasn’t the question and as someone who can’t recall ever wishing or imagining he were someone else, real or fictional, the question as posed didn’t resonate.

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  5. I’d like to be Tuesday Next from the Tuesday Next series by Jasper Fforde. The fact that she could jump into any book and then jump out again is fascinating to me.

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