Monday, October 17, 2011

Where's the Middle?

With the lively strains of "The Tinker's Wedding" tinkling in the background, I tap my fingers impatiently against the keys and think of which topic milling about my head I should harass and ask to make itself into a post.
Oh. You want me to harass you and make a post? Are you sure? You are not exactly a Well-Formed thought....What's that? Oh, fine. Here goes nothing!
Despite what things are important in real life, we must all admit that one's physical appearance in some minute way affects our impression of a person. I am sorry, but that is so. In saying that, I begin to think of beloved friends in literature and how they look. There is one thing that is consistent throughout literature:
The most famous, beloved heroes and heroines are good-looking. And if not, they are ugly. There is no middle ground. What on earth is this fascination with beauty? I wonder, and yet I succumb to the same temptations as other writers through the ages and bestow on all my characters whatever physical appearances I wish. I vex myself thinking that I am weak enough to give in to letting my gals be lovely and my guys dashing. And yet, I think L.M. Montgomery's Story Girl said it well when she admitted something akin to:
"If you are going to all the trouble to make up a character, why not make them beautiful? It's just as easy as making them ugly, so why not let them be pretty?"
I think that's what it is. We writers create alternate worlds, sometimes, amongst our characters, and those of us who do not possess over-much outward beauty wish to fix that "flaw" by living vicariously through one of our fictional women. It's human nature, lasses, and we've got to acknowledge that.
However, there is a time and a place for flawed appearances too. Some characters just would not come to life if they were blessed with exceptional beauty or physical stature. There is beauty to be found in every face, and the faces with character are often ones that have irregular features...things about them that would not be considered lovely.
But strange to say you seldom see anyone in literature who is merely plain. Well, excepting Ann Shirley. But it seems that in books with those people, they are only self-proclaimed as plain. I mean, Gilbert and I certainly thought her lovely and she grew up to be so. I think it's all a matter of opinion, personally. :)
I guess I just wrote this Unformed Thought down to get your thoughts on the matter and to point out that foible of always having to give our characters one extreme or the other. It's silly, isn't it, to make everyone so extraordinary. What a queer world of people we writers have made, where a gal like me would never exist: Not beautiful, not ugly, just ordinary. Now that's something to think about! :) ~Rachel

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