Presentation on theme: "SYMPATHETIC CHARACTERS. 1. PHYSICAL DESCRIPTIONS We like beautiful people. Graceful. Striking. Attractive. These are the ones who tend to get more sympathy."— Presentation transcript:
1. PHYSICAL DESCRIPTIONS We like beautiful people. Graceful. Striking. Attractive. These are the ones who tend to get more sympathy. (How very shallow)
2. ALTRUISM. Orson Scott Card, in his classic Characters and Viewpoint, describes three levels of altruism, or the unselfish concern for the welfare of others.Characters and Viewpoint Victim Savior Sacrifice
2A: VICTIM A character who is the victim of suffering (jeopardy, pain, evil) will evoke sympathy, but also pity for his/her weakness and a touch of contempt for allowing him/herself to become a victim.jeopardy
2B: SAVIOR This character is admired because they take action against suffering of someone else; however, it could be conceived as a fool rushing into danger. Three things helps here: the savior is reluctant to intrude; the victim asks for help, indirectly or directly; and, the situation is urgent.
2C: SACRIFICE A character who is willing to give up something important (riches, power, position, freedom, life) for a moral cause will almost always get sympathy.
3. ACTIVE V. PASSIVE. How active is the character? Their plans, needs, dreams and hopes are important in developing sympathy. If the character just reacts to events, they will be considered weak. Instead, they should be pursuing some plan, need, dream or hope and that action is interrupted by the story’s events.
ACTIVE VS PASSIVE Plan. What is the immediate plan of action, plus long term plans? Needs. What are the ongoing needs of the character? Food, shelter, money, sleep, information, love, conversation? Dreams. Does the character daydream about the outcome of plans? Are we told about them? Hopes. What is the ultimate hope that draws the character onward and won’t let him/her stop?
4. MORALITY Courage, sense of fair play, noble causes–all the character issues relating to moral issues are extremely important. Courage: Will a character take physical, mental, emotional and financial risks for what is right?
MORALITY (CONT) Fair Play: They don’t gloat, cheat, do anything sneaky or underhanded. No cowards or cheats allowed. Noble causes: Characters who recognize a noble cause – the underlying morality of an event – will usually be considered sympathetic and worthy of our attention.
5. DRAFTED OR VOLUNTEER. Here the question is “What’s in it for me?” If the character volunteers to do a nasty task because it’s the right thing to do, we will praise him. If, however, the character is asked to do something that will give him a worldwide reputation, we are less likely to feel sympathy. For that kind of task, one that will give him great rewards in return, he must be drafted, or risk our disdain.
6. PROMISE KEEPER This is a crucial one: once s/he gives her/his word, will s/he keep it? Sympathetic characters would rather die than go back on a promise. Literally die.
7. INTELLIGENCE Geeks, geniuses who speak in big words, and know-it-alls can be very annoying. Instead, sympathetic characters are usually more like Indiana Jones who is just smart enough to figure his way out of trouble, but not so smart to stay out of trouble to begin with.
8. FLAWS Flaws are crucial in characters. In From The Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the brother, Jamie, cheats at cards. Yes, in a kid’s book, we love this sympathetic secondary character and part of the reason we love him is that he cheats at cards. Strange, but it’s true: we like him. When we can relate to them, we have more sympathy for them.From The Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
9. LOVED BY SOMEONE ELSE Ever wonder why so many stories have sidekicks? If someone is loved by someone else, it establishes the character as someone worthy of love. Therefore, they receive sympathy!