Jan 24, 2010

The Sunday Salon - On Judging Characters

The Sunday Salon.com Judging characters - yay or nay?
After publishing my post on Conan Doyle's The Sign of Four this past week, I started wondering if I'd come across as a moralistic or judgemental reader. Specifically, I commented on Holmes' drug use in the book's opening scene, and though I meant my comment to be neutral, I later started worrying I had sounded disapproving. Before I go any further, let me start by reassuring my fellow readers, especially Jeanne, Frances and Gavin, with whom I discussed this in the comments, that it's absolutely not anything you said. It's just that worrying about miscommunication is something I constantly do. And I can't tell you how much I truly appreciated your comments, as I always do any comments that make me think.

The discussion that followed did make me think: it made me think about the different ways in which books can be read; the different ways in which we can engage with characters, ideas, and ideologies that are different from our own. It also reminded me of a conversation I had with my Irish Studies professor last year. She expressed some frustration over the fact that she felt that some of her students, even graduate students, often had trouble seeing beyond their immediate ethical objections to the reading material they were meant to be discussing. I think we were reading a play that featured domestic violence at the time (but not a play that condoned domestic violence), and she felt that part of the class resisted engaging with it at all because they objected to the subject matter.

I don't want to use the word she used, which was "sophisticated", to describe forms of reading that go beyond immediate ethical reactions. If I did, I might sound like I was belittling what, while perhaps not appropriate in a classroom context, is as valid a personal reaction to one's reading experience as any other. All the same, quick judgement is something I try to avoid when I'm reading - and sometimes fail to, as humans always do. But I don't remember the last time I disliked a book because the characters lied, stole, kicked kittens, failed to stand up for themselves, took candy from children, made unwise choices, or did or said anything I disapproved of.

Of course, I'd be a hypocrite if I said I've never rejected a book for ideological reasons. But the thing is, for me that's not really the same as judging the characters. I have disliked books for being sexist or racist, for example, and I know this will continue to happen. But that's not necessarily the same as said books having racist or sexist characters. What determines my reaction is the overall tone of the book - how different points of view are framed, the presence or absence of alternative voices, the way the book leaves or doesn't leave room for other modes of thought, beliefs or courses of action. It's something that can be difficult to pinpoint, but that I think I recognise if I see. Most of all, it's whether the book leaves room for questions, or seems to assume our allegiance will naturally be with one of the sides of the matter, namely the one it presents. Does this make sense?

Thinking back on my reading over the past few months, I remembered The Screwed-Up Live of Charlie the Second, a book in which the main character's stance on certain matters (for example, there was a comment that try as I might I couldn't interpret as anything other than extremely dismissive of feminism) was very off-putting for me. I didn't hate the book because of this - there were other things about it that I definitely did like - but it did affect my overall feelings about it. I think that what complicated matters was the fact that this was a first person narration. When I read a book like this, I have to spend a lot of time in the head of someone I dislike, which can be tricky. How do you draw the line between the character's voice and the book's tone in such cases? It certainly can be done (Kazuo Ishiguro, for example, is brilliant at this), but it's probably not easy even for the author, and it demands more of the reader. The risk for miscommunication is certainly higher. It also doesn't help that, regardless of point of view, sometimes books have both characters who behave objectionably and overall ideological stances I find problematic.

I guess that my overall point is that deciding how I want to read and finding a balance can be difficult. While I don't think that an ideological disconnect with a book is the same as taking a moralistic stance or a crying for a bonfire, when the former happens I worry that people will assume I mean the latter. On the other hand, I hope that refraining from judging characters whose actions I'd certainly not give the thumbs up to in real live will not make me sound unaware, undiscerning, or indifferent to matters I actually do very much care about.

Just to be completely clear, I do find that both are perfectly valid personal reactions to reading. I also think this can be a fascinating topic to discuss, but sadly I've had a few frustrating experiences in the past that ended with one of the parties slipping into self-righteousness ('I care more than you do because I have Higher Moral Standards'). And that's neither useful nor fun.

One final thought: a few months ago I was lucky enough to be able to attend a conference in which a philosophy professor discussed this very topic - reading and ethics. The whole thing was fascinating, and one of the points he made was that reading is often exactly about getting us to engage with alternative ethical universes. I absolutely agree. Books open me up to ideas, both good and bad, that I might shy away from in real life, and I hope that regardless of my own stance, this will help me deepen my understanding of Life, The Universe, and Everything. This is actually one of the things that makes reading so rich and rewarding an experience for me.

What do you think? Do you see a difference between disliking a book because you have a problem with its overall ideological stance and simply passing judgement on its characters? Do you do either? How do you prefer to read, and why? Do you think any of this even matters?


Something else: if you're interested in diversifying your reading or helping POC authors gain more visibility in the book blogging world, make sure you read Teresa's Sunday Salon post today. She has created what could become an amazing resource, but for it to be as good as it can be she needs your help.

37 comments:

  1. Nice post. I'm sitting here and doing some quick soul-searching. I can still love a book even though I don't necessarily like or agree with the morals of the character. I'm pretty open-minded. There is an exception for me though, and that is when there is some cruelty to animals. I'm not really judging anyone, it just makes me uncomfortable and I cease to be having fun.

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  2. Some of my favorite books have lead characters that I can't stand (Edith Wharton's Custom of the Country comes to mind.) A lot of it comes down to what the author seems to be saying about the character. Are we being asked to condone something that we find offensive? Or are the flaws a way of making the character three-dimensional? Or a relic of the time in which the book was written? I don't want to be asked to condone something that I consider wrong, but otherwise, I can usually get past character flaws and enjoy a book.

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  3. I know I can be quite judgemental and moralistic over certain books. I have real issues with certain style of relationships ( as in How I Live Now) as well as the moral conduct of certain characters. I sat and thought about why I think like that and realised that it hadn't always been my way of thinking. I have definitely changed the way I look at characters since my girls were born. I think I look at how I would react if my girls acted in the way and my maternal instinct kicks in.

    I have never thought of you as being judgemental over the characters in the books you read. I would say that were more open minded that most and definitely give each character a chance.

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  4. "Do you see a difference between disliking a book because you have a problem with its overall ideological stance and simply passing judgement on its characters?" Absolutely! And honestly, I think my reading overall would tend to be far less satisfactory, and far less thought-provoking, if I threw out the books that had major characters I disliked. I'm not saying that I never let my disgust with a character tarnish the overall reading experience...I'm sure I do from time to time (I admit that I am an extremely fallible, and often overly-emotional person, both when it comes to reading and in life in general). But I like to think that I'm able to go beyond that in most cases. But as with the Sherlock Holmes book you just read...you said the whole premise of the book relied on you buying into racist ideas (well, you said it far better than that, of course)...and that's a whole different thing than a book containing a racist character. Honestly, that's like apples and oranges.

    Anyway, Ana, as usual, you've written a fabulous post. Another that will keep me thinking about my own reading response.

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  5. Sandy, I completely understand. There's nothing that makes me as uncomfortable as that. It doesn't necessarily mean that I won't enjoy the book (I'm thinking of Murakami's Kafka on the Shore, for example, which I loved regardless), but those are NEVER scenes I enjoy reading.

    Teresa: That's pretty much how I feel about it too. I can deal with despicable characters just fine as long as I don't feel that the author means them to go unexamined.

    Vivienne: I've had conversations with friends who are parents in the past in which they have told me the exact same: that having children has definitely changed how they react to certain scenes in books/movies/TV series/etc. In fact, I think Nick Hornby even wrote about that in one of his Believer essays. You're in good company! :P

    Debi, thank you! And yes, reading wouldn't be as rich an experience as it is if I were to throw out anything I object to on ethical grounds. But when the whole plot depends on a premise I reject, it most likely won't work for me - not that I can't find other things that make the reading experience worthwhile, as I did in this case. Or in the case of Dear Enemy (though there the eugenics were not central to the story).

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  6. I think part of the reason I enjoy reading so much is to explore characters who are different from me and have different ideas from me. No, I don't always agree with, or even like them, but I sure do love it when they make me think!

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  7. One of the big themes in library school is how much the meaning of a text depends on what the reader brings to it. I think that's why there is room for so many blogs - because each of us will have individual and distinct reactions and thereby in essence *create* a new text out of what we are reading. And so it makes it fun (for me anyway) to see all the different meanings that emerge from any single book.

    What's also interesting to me is how the author relates to the character that is morally or in other ways abhorrent. Is it a reflection of some part of the author? Does the author worry that the reader will equate him or her with the behavior (Indeed, this is apparently a problem in Hollywood, if an actor or actress takes on too many roles of a certain ilk.)

    I think if a reviewer states the biases from which he or she is proceeding, that helps the reader understand the new meaning to be imparted to the text, and the reader of the review can then integrate the two. I don't think it is "illegitimate" to have such biases unless they go unstated.

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  8. I don't think that I should reject a book completely if the characters fail to fit into my ideals. The main reason you read a book is to discover the thoughts and views of many different characters. Some of them may be totally abhorrent to me, and I wouldn't agree with a word the author said about them, but that wouldn't stop me from reading it if I liked the writing and the story. But what does make me angry is when the author tries to propagate his ideas by disguising them as the characters. For example, if the author was a male chauvinist racist with a male chauvinist racist as his lead character, and you can make out when he thinly disguises his views as the characters, then I lose interest (and get furious). I'm not very sure if this answers your question, though.

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  9. You raise some very interesting points here. I remember reading a review recently wherein the reviewer explained her objections to a certain character's behavior and to the fact that the character was never held to account for that behavoir. I took her to mean that she objected to the book because bad behavoir was not punished.

    It's always a bit dangerous to judge a book from a moral standpoint, because what is moral is always changing. And can an immoral book still be a good book?

    If we want books to address the serious moral issues we face today, we have to be prepared to find books we object to, sometimes strongly. We have to be prepared to be offended by them. But I do think we all have some line that cannot be crossed, some point beyond which we are not willing to go or to read. I imagine even your Irish Studies Professor has a line she is reluctant to cross.

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  10. I really dislike Humbert Humbert from Lolita (who wouldn't?), but I love the book and think it's brilliant. Judging a character to me is completely separate from judging a book. There are times when one influences the other, of course. For instance, in my recent read of Suite Scarlett, I despised all the characters because they couldn't stop lying to each other and everyone around them. But it wasn't because of the characters I disliked the book - it was because the book seemed to say that all this lying was okay. Or that it was a valid thing to do in many cases.

    Honestly, I don't often think too hard about why I make judgements against books and characters. Sometimes I reason it out in the process of reviewing a book, and sometimes I just say I don't really know but it rubbed me wrong. Sometimes it's the characters, sometimes it's the book. But I never say that I think something is a bad book, only that I didn't like it, and I think that's what makes the difference. I work really hard to make sure that when I write about books, I don't push my judgement of them, good or bad but particularly bad, on other people - it's always just my opinion.

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  11. "The whole thing was fascinating, and one of the points he made was that reading is often exactly about getting us to engage with alternative ethical universes." Yes, yes, yes! I find many "unlikable characters" fascinating. The voyeuristic side of reading. They may be morally reprehensible but many unsavory people and things exist in life that we might not choose to engage or approve of personally but can still benefit from a knowledge of. We read to expand our own horizons. To delve into worlds that we might never witness personally or that don't even exist. If we are indeed the sum total of our experiences then reading is a grand opportunity to multiply those experiences from a detached and low risk stance. Reading about the morally objectionable does not mean that we condone the morally objectionable (as we individually define it).

    That being said, there are some things I choose not to read because they have a negative emotional effect on my sensitive self. Extreme violence and domestic abuse being two of those things.

    Fantastic, thoughtful post, Nymeth. Sorry to ramble but there is so much here.

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  12. What a great post! So introspective.

    I think there is a huge difference between judging a book and judging its characters. I have done both, but I am more likely to give up on a book in which I am judgmental about the subject than one in which I judge the characters.

    For example, one of the books I most vividly recall not being able to finish because I couldn't STOMACH it was 1,000 White Women. It was completely racist- not just in that it was about America taking over the land of native Americans, but because the way the author presented Native Americans was, to me, very very racist. He had one character saying that all natives had sexual relations "like animals" because that was the only way they had learned and understood. UGH. I stopped reading right there because, in my opinion, that makes the AUTHOR seem racist, not the character. And so then I seriously was judging the book (regardless of how much I might have liked or disliked the characters) and couldn't continue.

    I read books in which I dislike characters all the time!

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  13. Miscommunication can be devastating. Miscommunication happens so easily in the faceless world of social networking we have come to relay on in our borderless world. I like you am very aware of how the printed word may be misconstrued by others, particularly in the blog forums. I worry about readers' perceptions especially when ideology and point of view are opposing. As Rhapsody mentions, in our world of education, the Text to Self, Text to World and Text to Text comparisons are celebrated in order to create meaning and understanding.
    I do find my own bias and judgement will often rule as I read, but I think that is so normal for everyone. I like to think I keep an open mind, but racial inequality, racial hatred, child abuse are issues that will cause my prejudice to surface. Having been in an interracial marriage, I have endured many harse realities in my life. Reading about racial hatred and racial prejudice of any kind gets my back up.
    I still try to be as open minded as possible, considering the setting, climate, and social aspects surrounding the book. After all, it would be a pretty dull world if we only read what is in our comfort zone. How do you grow and learn about yourself and others?

    I think that many book bloggers are unique in that they share their opinions, are open to others mindsets and willing to talk about books to gain understanding.

    Thanks for this fabulous thought provoking post.
    I read most of the comments.

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  14. Most of what I had to say has already been said, so I'll keep this short. I tend to have very few problems with the ideologies of books, and yet I can't bring myself to read the Left Behind series because I disagree so completely.

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  15. What a great post!

    I do not have problems with the ideologies behind books. In my opinion, it allows me to put myself into other people's shoes, thereby helping me become more empathetic a person in general. I can experience what it is like through books and can bring that knowledge with me wherever I go.

    I may not agree with the ideology, but who ever says we have to agree with everything we read? When we disagree, it forces us to take a step back and examine why we disagree. Being forced to rethink our own opinions is also extremely beneficial a practice.

    One of the things I try to always consider is the context within which the book was written. Who was the audience? What was the time period? An audience from Victorian England is very different from an audience in the U.S. today. I try not to force my own social morals and values onto characters or books written in the past because the values and morals of that era are vastly different from what they are today. This attitude helps me read about situations or characters whose opinions I truly dislike but can still allow me to relate to them in some way.

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  16. I think it's important to try to engage with books despite their unsympathetic characters, but it's hard for me - disorienting - when ALL the characters are unsympathetic. Nabokov manages fine in Lolita, but there are times when a completely unsympathetic protagonist will put me off a book; I'm thinking of Light in August and Native Son right now.

    One thing I've noticed - usually (may I generalize?) in books by men with themes of violence against women - is that a book will nominally be against the actions of its characters and still seem, to me, rather voyeuristic about the whole thing. It gives me the shivers, and not in a good way. I read a book by Paul Auster once that fell into this category, and haven't revisited him since.

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  17. Beware of the man of one book.
    ~ Thomas Aquinas ~

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  18. I am super duper liberal. I don't mean politics :D I am non judgmental. I am a humanitarian and I take these traits into reading. If the characters are different from me, have different views and morals then I feel I have learned from them. I don't spend my time reading upset that my world views aren't applying. I think it is hard for those who feel really strongly about their morals and beliefs.

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  19. Characterisation is really important for me when I'm reading. I can go with no plot, but I can't go with being unable to relate to characters. Having said that, I find that it's easier for me to say why I didn't like a character in the book, rather than why I didn't like the book itself.

    When I dislike the book, it just feels like the book doesn't quite agree with me, or that there is no connection. But if I don't like a character, it's usually very obvious to me why I didn't like him/her/it. Sometimes that influences whether or not I liked the book in general, but most of the time, I manage to keep them separate from each other.

    I see you've done a great job at getting people to think with this post. =)

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  20. It's intriguing to me that you mention your professors in this post (which is awesome, by the way!) I think professors could be a really good analogy for books. There are the ones you find physically unappealing, or creepy, or biased, or sadistic, or just insanely irritating, and yet you learn something from them (or in spite of them). And there are the ones you adore and learn tons from. And the boring ones you learn tons from. And the charismatic ones you find in retrospect you haven't learned much at all from, except how to deliver bonzer lectures.

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  21. Oh, and I forgot the most important. There are the ones whose classes you have to drop!

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  22. I think one of the hardest times to keep from judging is when reading a book written in another time period by a writer who condones the attitudes I find distasteful.

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  23. What a fascinating discussion of ethics and literary taste. I sometimes encounter similar reactions from my students....

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  24. Interesting topic... one of my favorite parts about reading books is that I can dabble in many things which I never would in real life (drugs, murder, etc.)... I can feel revulsion or exhilaration or whatever, but in the end, I'm still me; I've just learned a little something different and can go forward with those lessons intact. I certainly have disliked characters, or not really theoretically 'approved' of their actions, but frankly I feel like it's not for me to judge -- something just IS or ISN'T, if you know what I mean. They aren't REAL.

    Which brings me to my second point -- in the case of autobiographies or, more to the point, blogs-turned-nonfiction -- I do sometimes judge and dislike, based on someone's actions and whether or not I "approve." But I think that's different, since these are real people putting their real actions out there. Maybe I'm wrong, but for some reason it feels different.

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  25. Would not want to befriend the main character of The Stone Angel at all....yet, is there a more truthful portrayal of a human being? Loved the book...hated the character.

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  26. Interesting subject and what a great post, Nymeth!

    While I don't really judge the characters (though they can be infuriating at times!), I think the subject and what the story is trying to portray is what most matters to me.

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  27. Thank you, Nymeth. What a wonderful insightful post. As usual you've made us all stop and think. I have had very visceral reactions to some books and had to force my self to finish them. "American Psycho" comes to mind.

    I try and remain open-minded to characters and to a book's ideological stance but this is not always easy. I think it really does depend on what a reader brings to a book, and what they wish to take away. I read to expand my world and sometimes that can be uncomfortable.

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  28. I didn't read all the comments but I saw Teresa's at the top and I think that's a great point. I don't want to be expected to condone questionable acts. But morally ambiguous characters make for interesting reading...

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  29. This is one of my biggest pet peeves,when someone bases their judgment of a book solely on their "opinion" of the characters' choices. I agree with you that this IS still valid; however, it doesn't allow for a range of well rounded character types. For instance, in the novel The Stranger, by Albert Camus, we might really hate the book because the main character feels so reprehensible with his inability to feel or react to anything. Although, when we look at the book as a whole, and its message, this strange and complex character really helps us to look within ourselves and question why. I have definitely had pretty visceral responses to characters, but try really hard not to write off a book or story because of that character. In fact, I now give kudos to writers who can get me to react in a strong way!

    Great question to consider!

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  30. Sorry, one last point. I think this happens with fields of study though too. When we don't like something, or can't understand it, we often will brush it off and say it's stupid. The reason I bring this up, is because my students at school are reading poetry, and I've heard students say, "Poetry is stupid. Who cares? It can mean a million things, so what does it matter?"

    Maybe we brush off things that challenge what we know, or strong-held beliefs because they cause us discomfort otherwise? Just a thought... :)

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  31. Satire is a special problem with relation to this topic because if it's not well-written, the author can be castigated for supporting something he/she is trying to rake over the coals. I wrote an almost 600-page dissertation on how this happened in the 18th century, when you could be jailed if your satire was not well-written (without, for example, enough markers for the kind of irony that means the opposite of what you actually appear to be saying).

    I'm thinking maybe this is part of what Wisteria is saying about miscommunication.

    Also I have 1,000 White Women on my TBR list and have been told that it satirizes ignorant attitudes towards Indians, so I'll be thinking about what Aarti says.

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  32. Jeanne- I didn't know 1,000 White Women was a satire. It didn't seem satirical to me, but maybe I was just sensitive to the topic at the time. It is one thing if a character SAYS something without seeing any proof of it, to show ignorance. It's another thing if an author SHOWS a scene, knowing full well it is incorrect, but doesn't seem to have his characters realize it at all. Maybe I should have persevered with that one; I don't know. I'll be interested in seeing your thoughts.

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  33. I feel awful that I haven't had time to reply to these yet - I *loved* reading your thoughts and will try to do so today!

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  34. Kathy: I like being challenged in my reading as well :)

    Jill: I remember talking about that in lit classes as well, but I look forward to exploring it more in-depth when I start library school! The way the author frames the character is definitely important to me too. I don't want any explicit or Victorian-like tut-tutting, but I don't want to feel that my sympathy is being forced in one direction or another.

    Hazra: Yeah - propaganda, thinly veiled allegories or overtly didactic books just don't work for me. But more than whether I agree with the ideas behind them, the problem is that they tend to be extremely weak as pieces of storytelling. These days, a piece of fiction where the underlying ideology tramples everything else strikes us as a failure as art.

    C.B. James: The thing about that situation is - wouldn't a punishment make the story little more than a moral fable? I definitely don't need any instance of behaviour that I disagree with to go punishment. Sometimes a story that lets consequences speak for themselves is so much more powerful. Also, I agree that we ALL have our no go areas, which was why I wasn't comfortable framing it in terms of sophistication. Though in a classroom context, I do understand her frustration as a teacher. But it's not as simple as that.

    Amanda: Lolita is definitely a pertinent example for this discussion. I adore Lolita, but of course that doesn't mean I give paedophilia the thumbs up. Anyway, I definitely see a BIG difference between saying "this rubbed me the wrong way" or "this made me uncomfortable", which is acknowledging the personal biases we ALL have, and declaring a book "immoral" (which begs the question - by whose compass?).

    Frances: I love what you said about reading being a way to live more lives! That's one of the things I love the most about books - that they give me the opportunity to experience SO much more! :) And no apologies - I love long and thoughtful comments like yours.

    Aarti: I think you and Jeanne definitely have a point about satire going wrong, like it seems it did in that case. I also think it's okay to walk away from something that's just not working for us, whatever the intentions of the author are!

    Wisteria: It's definitely normal - and it's also a part of what makes each individual's perspective so unique. In that sense, I think it's a very good thing. We don't all see the world the same way, so of course we'll read differently too.

    Trisha: I'm going to have to look that one up!

    Michelle: I find that I'm of two minds about that. On the one hand, even when it comes to stances I abhor - sexism or homophobia, for example - I want to understand that the people who hold them are actually human beings too. I mean, I know they are, but I don't want to ever forget it, and books can help with that. On the other hand, I find that books that take those stances (not characters, but the books themselves) make me hugely uncomfortable. I want to walk away from them, because I deal with that enough in my life to be unwilling to also spend time struggling with it when I read, you know? This doesn't mean I won't read ABOUT these topics - I do all the time - but I'm hesitant to pick up books that will unquestioningly expose me to the kind of prejudice that bothers me in real life. I try to take context into account as well - as a feminist who loves Victorian lit, I've had to swallow many a frog. But I do find the literature from that time period very rewarding in many other ways.

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  35. Jenny: Yes! I know exactly what you mean. For example, I kind of don't want to read that Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy because I've read reviews that say it's like that. The chapters are prefaced by stats about violence against women, and the books present themselves as taking a feminist stance, and yet I hear that there are rape/torture scenes described in extreme detail. What's the deal with that? I mean, it's not that I don't want these themes to be addressed in books - I VERY much do - but there are sensitive and insensitive ways to do it. And also ways that I find simply troubling. This is one of the reasons why I loved Tender Morsels so much - it wasn't voyeuristic in the least.

    Baby Indie: A pertinent quote :)

    Pam, I think that's a good way to approach reading :) I try to do that as well, but have more trouble with some topics than others.

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  36. Michelle: I'm definitely a character-oriented reader as well. I don't have to like the character, but they need to seem real. And yeah, characterisation problems are often easier to pinpoint than others.

    Trapunto: lol, I love your analogy :D

    Jodie: That can be difficult, yes. And as I love older literature, it's something I struggle with a lot.

    Pour of Tor: I bet this is something that comes up in classroom discussions a lot!

    Daphne: I do love the fact that books are a safe way to see more of the world. And I find that I'm quicker to reject people in memoirs than I am characters in fiction too.

    Readerbuzz: I haven't read that one yet.

    Melody: Yeah - it's more the book's overall stance. But even then I try to be patient.

    Gavin: It can be difficult and uncomfortable, yes. But maybe that's part of what makes reading so rewarding?

    Rebecca: I love morally ambiguous characters too. They always seem more real, somehow - nobody is entirely good or bad, after all.

    Becky: Yeah, I think that in the case of The Stranger I'd venture to say that's missing the point, rather :P And rejecting what we don't understand is definitely a widespread human trait...but if we do that, how can we ever learn?

    Jeanne and Aarti: Yes, satire IS especially tricky. I'm not curious about that book, but I don't know if I'm brave enough to try it!

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  37. I just finished a book filled with very objectionable characters who were filled with terribly objectionable thoughts and beliefs. Despite the fact that I didn't agree with their behavior, I really enjoyed the book and thought that some of the social commentary in the book was brilliant. So, yes, I think that I can definitely like a book without judging the character's inside. I don't think that I would feel this way if the message or stance of the book was objectionable...that I might not like, but I can definitely enjoy a book filled with objectionable characters. Great thoughts in this post, you really had some wonderful insights to share.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.