How main is the main character?

Protagonist, the lead, central character, the hero. Whatever you call it, every book has one – the main character.

And don’t we all see a little bit of ourselves in him/her?

Association. Yes, we associate. We begin to feel. With the characters. Like the characters. We imagine. We think. We wonder.

Do you see what i am doing here? By using we instead of discussing it in an impersonal third person perspective. Something like – First person narrative has a psychological impact on the reader more often than not biasing his opinion towards the rest of the characters and towards the story in general. The usage of words “I” , “me”, “I feel”, “we think” tends the reader into thinking that the character’s thoughts are his own.

And this association with the main characters. That feeling of sympathy and empathy. That is what cheap authors thrive on. That is what makes twilight work. Bella says I, I , I and I am so smitten him, and he is so hot he makes me go weak in my knees, that the girl readers actually start going weak in their knees. Had twilight been written in third person narrative, it wouldn’t have sold like hot cakes.

And then EL James does it again with 50 shades of grey. First person narrative. Damn that bitch. No matter how ridiculous Mr. Grey looks, I developed a soft side for him and then i threw the book away.

Better authors realize(or do they know?) that it is not up to them to choose for their readers. The reader has a choice and that choice has to be respected. He could find the anti hero more interesting than the hero. So authors basically are story tellers. Well as long as you are telling a story and you want the audience to think for themselves and not sweep them off their feet and have them explode into a million suns and come floating back on earth, then you might as well them give them a damn good story and let them choose for themselves. I guess the Modernists would agree with me. The reader is as important as the story itself.

Salman Rushdie does it all the time. So many characters. Places teeming with people with such well rounded character sketches and across so many time lines, that you( yes yes i am doing it again) being the reader, when you are not panting to keep up with the legend, you do what any normal human being would do. You fragment your association. You learn to pay attention to the character flogging the lime light for their 15 minutes of fame. And then you move on to another time line and another hero. That is why reading a Rushdie is so exhausting. He demands that you pay attention and that you work your way through the book. He is not willing to do the work for you. It is like sex. You have to participate if you want to enjoy it.

A lot of authors do that. Third person narrative. And it works wonders.

First person narrative. I me mine i feel i explode i orgasm, that is sad. Plain sad.

Author: pecsbowen


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