"I'm nobody! Who are you?"

The Perplexities of Characters and Why They Ruin Our Lives 
in Addition to Making them Worth Living

 Part I: People Who Think They are Characters

These posts are coming to you from a female perspective. I mean, it's not any different than usual, but it just might seem more glaringly obvious this time. Just keep that in mind when you feel the need to disagree, male bloggers. Keep that in mind.

Do you know why we love characters of books, movies and television shows? It's because we notice similarities between these characters and ourselves. We see visions of who we could be, and what we could amount to. We admire them. We can relate. We get the feeling that we aren't alone. That someone understands. We are always in search for connection. And definition. It's a component of the human condition.

I could sit here and tell you about all of the characters I think resemble myself (and there are a fair few), but I won't. Why? Because it would annoy the freaking hell out of you.

It irritates me to no end when someone compares themselves to a character because, essentially, this is what they are doing:

1) Stealing a bit of that character from you. 

2) Flattering themselves undeservedly.

3) Being pretentious.

Hmm let me address all of these separately so you don't think I'm unreasonable.

1) I don't want to share characters. That sounds ridiculous, because of course you have to share them. First, you have to share them with the actual writer who chose to share them with you. Second, you have to share them with the entire world. Fair enough. But here's the thing, I bet you don't want to share them either do you? Every one of us has a favorite book or movie that is special to us for a personal reason. We each have our own personalized version of characters we love and characters we hate. We make them our own. But then guess what? Something like this will happen.

Person: Hey you know that book called "[Blankety Blank]"?

You: DO I? That's my favorite!

Person: Yea well, [Blank], the main character and hero of the novel, is basically my clone. We are so alike, it's ridiculous.

You: Die.

It's especially awful when this person is someone you often feel like punching. How insulting to that poor character to be compared to this person?! There is no conceivable way this person is anything like that character. Not in your head, anyway. And now they have corrupted what you held dear. And it's heartbreaking.

2) It takes a lot of nerve to go around telling everyone how closely you can relate to well-known, famously appreciated characters. A lot of the time, these are characters that society looks up to, and they have admirable qualities. How incredibly conceited do you have to be to go around boasting about how you think you are just like that character everybody likes?

"Yea, you know Cool Hand Luke ? That's basically my life."

"I can totally relate to Rachel Bilson's character form the OC. Our lives are, like, the same. We're the same. For real."

"I just realized, I'm totally Chandler Bing."

"As I was reading, I couldn't help but notice just how similar Lizzy Bennet and I are. We are both dragged down with loads of bratty sisters, we both read constantly, and we are both really sensible. And strong-willed. And beautiful." 

Wow. How great for you.

I think it's perfectly fine to find similarities between you and characters. It's the whole point. But once you find it necessary to proclaim how "awesome" you are, well then we have a problem.

3) There was once a guy I knew who wore a red hunting hat similar to Holden Caulfield's hat, for like a month (even indoors), because he thought he was Holden Caulfield. HE THOUGHT HE WAS LIKE HOLDEN CAULFIELD, one of the most, relatable, real and well-known characters of all time. How original. Please. Save it. You aren't the only person who finds parts of themselves in a character. 

We can have discussions and rants and be consumed in all things WRITING. But let's not lose sight of what matters. If we should be lucky enough to find words that really speak to us…words that seem to just know… then of course we should soak it up or spread the word… But I think people often find themselves in the more shallow end of the "character appreciation spectrum". Of course I love finding characteristics of myself in characters I like, but I'm not going to croak to the world about it. Because, frankly, no one cares.

From reading this, you can probably guess that I spend a lot of my time around really obnoxious people. The things I complain about are trivial, but what else am I going to do with all this time on my hands? 

Whohoo! Four mintues to spare! Take that BEDA


  1. True. If one more tells me they're like Hermioine Granger I feel a bit like crying. Everyone IS like her in some way. COME ON.

  2. Well it is quite true. I can relate to some characters but I don't really get in people's faces about who I'm like. There is a point when it's too much. There's nothing wrong with relating to a character, that's what the author wants. Relating to characters helps draw you into the story and care about it more. But not everyone wants to know about it, and you're right, I don't want to share characters, especially with douches who sully the name of my beloved character.

  3. Agreed. I hate when people say they were the Hermione Granger in their school because I die a little inside. Everyone is going to relate to characters in one way or the other, just think about how many people compared themselves with Bella Swan lol!