[LMB] Paladin discussion questions?

BlueRose stacey at xtra.co.nz
Thu May 10 10:14:23 BST 2012

On 10/05/2012 10:20 a.m., beatrice_otter at haugensgalleri.com wrote:
> *snip*Question for you. Why on earth would anybody read a story in 
> which they *don't* identify with at least one of the characters on 
> some level? What would be the point? Why not just read a piece of 
> nonfiction or a poem or something?

I can 'relate' to characters, absolutely.  Do I consider that I 
'identify' with them.  No, no I do not.
> Given that, an exploration of which characters you identify with and 
> why can help with two very important things. It can help you sort out 
> the ways in which your own identity may be adding to/subtracting from 
> the text, so that you can see more clearly what is happening in the 
> story, which is a good goal for any book discussion.

Nods, if there was a particular point or action that I struggled with, 
yes I could see how some robust discussion might help open the worldview 
a bit. One of my pet peeves is characters who do things that are 
completely implausible in the real world, or completely out of character 
for them in the book, or are forced to such a circumstance because of 
bad plot points or ridiculous story twists.
> It can also help you sort out your own internal life and self-image, 
> and how you react to things, by showing you someone similar in some 
> way, and how they deal with it, and how *you* react to them/their 
> situation and why, which may point out some things about your own 
> patterns of thought or behavior that you had not noticed before. Which 
> is a good goal for life in general.

This is where I am coming unstuck, while I agree that self learning is 
never a bad thing, to me this feels like "book club = group therapy".  I 
never analyse a book this way.  For a couple of reasons, first I don't 
feel the need to be that self involved.  I read for entertainment and 
escapism and magic.

Second, and more disturbing to me, the implication that you can learn 
positive self worth development from a book of fiction, a book that is 
made up out of somebody elses head.  From comparing your thoughts and 
opinions against those of made up characters, with a moral center 
dictated ultimately by the author who wrote it.

Forgive me if I am misconstruing your meaning, but the concept of 
judging your choices/thoughts/actions/opinions against those of 
fictional characters makes my brain want to melt.

I apologise if I sound judgemental or critical in my responses, I am 
trying not to be, but text is always hard to manage tone.  I am really 
struggling with the cognitive dissonance here, and genuinely curious as 
to why and to try and resolve that.  Hopefully my patience will be 
rewarded :)


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