After reading and appreciating a string of flawed characters recently: Audra, Nora, Kate, Isabel and Crazy Amy to name just a few, I was thinking about how I would perceive such characters in real life and shamefully concluded that I probably wouldn’t find their individual flaws quite as charming in real life. The irony of this isn’t lost on me.
It seems to be much more palatable to read about characters with a dangerous edge than to accept those around us in real life live with flaws we find unforgivable. No doubt the self-preservation reflex to avoid unpredictability and danger is the root of how we react to aberrant characters in real life, but I really wish I was laid back enough to appreciate the beauty of not quite moral decisions people make in real life.
With the advent of social media it is much more prevalent to make damning judgments of our fellow man vociferously and vocally, but isn’t this just diversionary tactics to diminish and camouflage our own flaws? When we are criticising others we boost our own moral values and attain a superior position from which to look down on others. It mitigates our insecurity to highlight and emphasis our moral security. Is this why we like reading flawed characters in fiction? Are we all looking to be better than the next person?
What is behind our need to find villains and vilify them, when we find a flaws and all character in a book so gratifying to read? Today I ask more questions than I can satisfactorily answer, so please do share your thoughts on flawed literary characters and our aversion to real life flaws. I am genuinely intrigued.