Tuesday, 1 January 2013

character looks and likeability and orwell and bradbury

Guy Montag is really an honestly likeable character.
The first time i read Fahrenheit 451 i didn’t like him at all, but i think it was for the same partial reason i didn’t like Winston in 1984 - they were reportedly ugly, or i imagined them ugly, and human beings are drawn to beautiful things and in the midst of such an ugly world i needed some kind of light. is that superficial? i think it’s human to go after lovely things. the flaw in that is that sometimes the loveliness isn’t immediate and we can dismiss a search after the initial disappointment.
anyway once i put faces - faces i can relate to, that don’t blend in with the grey setting - on characters, they get a lot nicer and i can see them for who they actually are. Montag torched a guy with a flamethrower and burns things for a living and has killed lots of people. yes. but he’s also genuinely loving towards this woman who he feels nothing for. He gets worked up and treats her badly once in a while. That is a conflict in his character and great characters have those. But he just acts in a way, no matter what his words are, that says he cared a great deal for her at one time, and that is still there somewhere.
he is very lost and rediscovering the world outside his grey entertainment. He tastes the rain when no one else will. He wants to yell at the world blasting him with noise to shut up. he is frustrated and flawed and just doing his best. He’s observant. He has fears. Somehow, to me, Winston from 1984 represented the worst of humanity, covered in indignity, fighting but losing - and Montag is rising from indignity and winning against the odds.
I guess maybe what separates a hero from another is the outcome of their character battle, in literature. I guess we want to be, need to be told that humanity will conquer and beauty exists. montag represents that. He searches for books, which are beloved to me. He quits his job burning things. he’s intimidated by people and runs but eventually finds a way out and survives. Winston just sinks into his human waste more and more and after a moment of struggle is crushed inevitably. You can’t blame him for that, for being ugly in an ugly situation, you can’t blame him for circumstance. But the message he carries is so full of despair that I think shying away from him is not a wrong response.
I have no idea what the point of this post was.
And if you read it i love you to bits. come let me embrace you.