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  1. #1
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Default Identifying with fictional characters

    How often and how strongly do you identify with characters in the books you read, or the movies you see? Are these characters usually similar to you, different from you, or an example of what you would like to be/wish you were? What does it mean to identify with a fictional character - what do you see as the nature of the identification? Is the process useful in any way?
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    Senior Member Viridian's Avatar
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    It's a funny thing, you know - I dunno if it's Elfboy's influence or anything, but, when I read a story, especially one with a large cast, I keep asking myself, "which character do I identify with more?" or "which one of these characters most resembles me?". Kind of an odd thought process.

    Sometimes, though, there's some particular scene in a movie or sentence in a book that resonates a lot with me... It's a nice feeling, knowing I'm not that alien.

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    I can identify with the characters in books I read, I can read a book if a character differs from me in some respects, I'll give it a chance, but if those differences are too great then I'll lose interest and stop reading.

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    Senior Member King sns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    How often and how strongly do you identify with characters in the books you read, or the movies you see? Are these characters usually similar to you, different from you, or an example of what you would like to be/wish you were? What does it mean to identify with a fictional character - what do you see as the nature of the identification? Is the process useful in any way?
    I've only really identified with a few characters in the past. And usually only on a few levels. When I relate a character to myself, I normally have an inkling that the author has an aspect of themselves or someone they know very well that also has those same resonating qualities- or some great insight into human nature- to be able to reach out to the audience well enough to resonate with them. I find it hard to believe that a character would really and truly hit home unless the author had some kind of deep understanding of the trait or set of traits he was talking about, to be able to recombine them into a new person. It's not useful as much as just confirming that we're all connected somehow.
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    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    I identify with Mickey Rourke's character in the movie Barfly, although I am not a poet, I do not have long stringy hair, I don't cavort with harlots, I'm not an alcoholic, and I don't live in the big city. And I have a job.

    Perhaps Mickey Rourke's character represents my inner poet, my inner slob, my inner harlot-lover, my inner alcoholic, my inner big city-dweller, and my inner unemployable person.
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    Certified Sausage Smoker Elfboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Viridian View Post
    It's a funny thing, you know - I dunno if it's Elfboy's influence or anything, but, when I read a story, especially one with a large cast, I keep asking myself, "which character do I identify with more?" or "which one of these characters most resembles me?". Kind of an odd thought process.

    Sometimes, though, there's some particular scene in a movie or sentence in a book that resonates a lot with me... It's a nice feeling, knowing I'm not that alien.
    I influenced you to think like that? guess I did something right
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    Senior Member Viridian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfboy View Post
    I influenced you to think like that? guess I did something right
    Well, with all those threads concerning fictional characters and whatnot, it was inevitable.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Little_Sticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    How often and how strongly do you identify with characters in the books you read, or the movies you see?
    Pretty frequently.

    Are these characters usually similar to you, different from you, or an example of what you would like to be/wish you were?
    Usually they experience a situation in a similar manner to the way I have experienced something that no one in my external world cares about. At other times, these characters can take bad situations and make them better or into good situations; it helps see how things can be solved or entertain the faith that all problems can be solved.

    At other times, it's nice to know I'm not the only one who makes mistakes, can be narrow-minded, but can also be brilliant in ways that others won't appreciate. Empathy is another one - a lot of times fiction helps show how things can be solved more efficiently with empathy. It's that strange desire to care to some extent that can't be rationalized...it is nice to see that instinct not being ignored or looked down upon, especially when empathy is not just about the self, but others as well. Its essence is the opposite of selfish.

    What does it mean to identify with a fictional character - what do you see as the nature of the identification? Is the process useful in any way?
    Yeah, so it validates my perceptions, reminds me more of what I am, what I care about, and why, whereas the real world doesn't really care, ends up seeing someone trying to be an individual as pretentious in itself or self-indulgent. But that's the real pretentious.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Turtledove's Avatar
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    Hm...I say that a fictional character a person can relate to means that the author, script writers, artists, etc. has a good grasp on human nature and can develop characters that are relatable and may reflect themselves. I know that's off topic, but whatever...
    Maybe not as much in books. I relate more to characters from shows, movies, and video games than anything. Many of them are people that I identify physically or personality wise. I think it means that there are people out there that makes me feel better about myself.
    Now there are male characters that makes me want to glomp because they are like ideal type I would like in a mate because I'm weird like that...
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    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    There's usually a character I identify with in any story.. some only because of small traits that I might focus on. Some moreso. Never really physically though (Although some kids made fun of me when I was young and said I looked like Ichabod Crane. So that sucked).

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