Most people who write their own fiction will probably have noticed that whether they intend on it or not, a little bit of themselves sneaks into the personalities of the characters they create. I have often wondered if it is kind of similar for reading, in as much as, we interpret the characters in such a way that we perceive a little bit of ourselves in them. At the very least, you want to be able to empathise with the characters to truly enjoy a story, even if they are polar opposite of you as a person.
But when I think about today’s challenge, nothing really is leaping out at me. I mean, I could say I’m like Zaphod Beeblebrox from the Hitchhiker’s series of books by Douglas Adams, because I am awesome and I know it (joking…), like he does, and I have 2 heads…and….3 arms…and….okay maybe not Zaphod. Hmmm, maybe Yossarian from Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, because I like to rebel against the lunacy of war…and…I’m a bombardier…hmm. Ooh I know, Aslan from the Narnia books, because I’m a freaking lion.
So, it turns out this is quite difficult. It’s quite hard to feel like I relate to characters when I read books where the characters find themselves in situations that I am unlikely to ever find myself. Sure I can empathise with them, and relate to them in some ways, but I don’t think a single character is jumping out at me that I think I can relate to a lot, or more than this even. I mean, in books by Carlos Ruiz Zafón such as The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game, he often has protagonists who are writers, but they are also writers in gothic settings in Barcelona, so I can only relate so far. In some cases there are entire genres where I feel this way – sure, I can relate to some characters from fantasy books to an extent, but I don’t go around riding dragons, talking to elves and swinging swords.
I know for many people they find themselves relating to certain characters in books, but for me I often stand back with awe and curiosity about these characters who are so different to me. I think it is often the difference that draws me in.
So I guess I ask the same question of you – do you feel you relate to any characters in books, and if so, who?