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Re: [mythsoc] Mary Sue Goes To Mordor

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  • Trudy Shaw
    ... From: Margaret Dean To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 1:20 PM Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Mary Sue Goes To Mordor ... Margaret says
    Message 1 of 33 , Feb 28, 2002
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Margaret Dean
      To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 1:20 PM
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Mary Sue Goes To Mordor


      SusanPal@... wrote:

      >> Anyway, it's an interesting issue. Question for the list: when you read
      >> Tolkien, do you see yourself as one or several of the characters? Which
      >> ones? With whom do you identify, and why, and how do you think that's
      >> "inflected" your reading of Tolkien's work?

      >I don't think I see myself in characters so much as wanting to be
      >able to meet and talk to certain characters that I particularly
      >like.

      Margaret says exactly what I would respond. That would also be my reason for wanting to "go to" Middle-earth. Even when wanting to meet some of the characters, I don't think of doing that within the story, but sitting and having a "real good talk" someplace/time outside the setting/action of the story. If a character is real enough to me, I can't see myself *as* that character; it would seem like a contradiction.

      In response to the "movie in the mind" vs. "enjoying the words" question--The first time I read something (if it's an exciting story) I'll do the first, then the second on rereading. If a writer is both a good storyteller and a beautiful user of words, I find myself skimming through the story quickly to find out what happens (maybe through the entire book, or maybe just to the end of a chapter), then going back and rereading to savor the way it's told. I developed this habit long before I realized why I was doing it, and often felt guilty about "skipping ahead."

      Although I don't think of myself as one of the characters, there's one type of identification I seem to be quite good at, and I'm not sure why. In my own fiction writing and in the fiction writers' critique group I belong to, I seem to almost intuitively catch the smallest POV break because I somehow feel the "slip" from what the POV character would see or know. Even if I look back at my earliest attempts at fiction, before I even knew what POV *was*, I seem to have been pretty good at keeping it consistent without knowing consciously what I was doing. [We won't talk about my *other* writing skills at that point in my life. 8-)] Something of a mystery, but I won't complain about it--and I don't think the other members of the critique group would, either. If anyone else has had similar experiences, I'd love to hear about it. Interesting that my favorite fiction writer is JRRT, for whose omnicient POV I basically have to "turn off" the radar [what *is* with that fox, anyway? 8-)].

      --Trudy




      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Paul F. Labaki
      ... and David Bratman responded ... I ve never been able to understand that kind of attitude in a reader. One of the great joys of the written word is it
      Message 33 of 33 , Mar 5, 2002
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        >
        > Susan Palwick wrote"
        >
        >> I suspect that we always insert ourselves into texts, especially texts we
        >> love, whether we intend to or not; part of the process of becoming a good
        >> reader is becoming conscious of that process and controlling it
        >
        and David Bratman responded"

        > I don't think I do that. At any rate, while I prefer stories with
        > sympathetic protagonists whose actions I understand, I never require that
        > they resemble me, and I don't quite understand the common complaint of
        > readers that they have to have a character to identify with, preferably one
        > of their own sex/race/etc.

        I've never been able to understand that kind of attitude in a reader. One
        of the great joys of the written word is it allows the reader to experience
        thoughts and emotions experienced by the characters which the reader might
        otherwise never experience in the primary world. This differs from a
        viewer's experience with film because the viewer always remains external,
        whereas readers enjoy more of an internal perspective of characters'
        experience like the puppeteer in "Being John Malkovich" literally seeing
        through another's eyes.

        I've never wanted to insert myself in stories I'm reading.


        David also wrote:

        > I see the story through whomever is the viewpoint character at the
        > time. If by "see yourself as" you mean, "whom do you think you could
        > actually be?", that for me would be the same as "with whom do you
        > identify?", which I would interpret as "whom are you most like?"
        >
        > And the answer to that for me would be Merry. (The real one, not the one
        > in the movie.) We're both more captivated by maps and history than by
        > Elves, we're more than a little pedantic (see Merry at the ruins of
        > Isengard), and we're determined to carry on despite being stranded in Rohan.

        I'm abashed to say, I am most like Bilbo, except that I could never move
        silently like a hobbit. Somehow that seems a bit presumptuous to me, but I
        think it is true, and I must say I'm disappointed, because my favorite
        character has always been Gandalf.
        >
        >
        > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >
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