Re: [mythsoc] Jackson/Contamination
- In a message dated 3/6/2002 5:18:41 AM Pacific Standard Time,
> One of them isAh, okay -- the confusion probably came from the "Mary Sue" references (which
> the sense which you mean, Susan, when one experiences the emotions and
> thought processes of a character when one reads a story. The other is when
> reader demands that there be a character like themself in the story and
> finds it impossible to enjoy stories that don't have any such character.
> This sort of reader is more likely to want to write a piece of fan fiction
> in which they have inserted themself as a character.
> We assumed that you meant this second sense when you began talking about
I wasn't the first to make, I'll hasten to point out). I'd also observe that
Mary Sue's a figure of considerable, often vicious, derision among fan
writers themselves. A Tolkien fan writer whose work I follow recently wrote
a withering parody of Mary Sue stories in which a female character who's
fluent in all known languages of Middle Earth, braver than Aragorn, better
with a bow than Legolas, more beautiful than Arwen and more magical than
Gandalf (and, presumably, has hairier toes than Frodo) is roundly scorned by
everyone in the Fellowship, who -- understandably -- want nothing to do with
her. Mary Sue's are never really the author: they're a totally idealized
fantasy versions of the author; and, one suspects, the more idealized the
Mary Sue, the less stunning are the author's accomplishments in real life.
Most of the fan writing I've seen, though -- and ALL of the good stuff --
uses writing (rather than reading) as a way of further exploring characters
who *aren't* necessarily like the author. I'd be cautious about making
statements like "This sort of reader is more likely to want to write a piece
of fan fiction in which they have inserted themself as a character." My
classroom experience *strongly* suggests that the type of very unskilled
reader you're describing isn't likely to want to WRITE anything -- let alone
write fan-fiction, of any sort, just for the love of it.
But I also think that the issue of narrative sympathy isn't one we can simply
dismiss as "fannish naivete" (which is often, in my experience, a phrase
invoked by people who are pretty naive about fandom). Don't most of us
require *some* entry point into the text, some ability to sympathize or
empathize or at least be interested in some aspect of the narrative?
Question to those of you who pride yourselves on never inserting yourself
into the text: have you never put down a book, lost interest in it, because
the author gave you nothing you could care about?
Tolkien has given a great many people a great deal to care about. That's why
we're all here, no?
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- In a message dated 3/7/02 6:26:11 PM Pacific Standard Time, Stolzi@...
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