Tag Archives: Frankenstein

When the Protagonist Dies

12 Oct

Announcements:

Zoe Mortez, an avid reader, reviewed Take Me Tomorrow on her blog, “When I’m about to flip over to the next page, my mind kept saying things that really determined me to read more and more and more until the last page of this story. I’ll be rating 5/5 for this book and it’s highly recommended for those who love Young Adult Dystopian Genre novels!” You can read the entire review by clicking here or check out Take Me Tomorrow by clicking here. Thank you, Zoe!

When the Protagonist Dies Introduction:

Shannon, here, but only for a minute. Today is a guest post, and as many of you know, I pick out guest bloggers by your activity right here on ShannonAThompson.com. This particular guest blogger commented on my post, Why Are Parents Dead in Fiction, and her comment struck me so much so that I just HAD to have her elaborate today. Cogpunk Steamscribe wrote about how death in fiction continues onto a whole new level during a protagonist’s death, and everything Lynne wrote can be found below. I hope you enjoy this discussion as much as I have!

When the Protagonist Dies … a response to ‘Why are Parents Dead in Fiction’ 

Spoiler & Trigger Alert! This is a post about books that have a main character who dies. As well, I’m avoiding John Green and his body of work in this discussion. I really don’t want to give away any spoilers. Most of the books in this discussion have been around for a while.

Shannon mentioned in her blog on that she wrote about absent parents or orphans because that was her experience growing up. Other writers want to throw their protagonists into situations where parents can’t interfere with the unfolding of the story. Disney really likes to take parents out of the situation so that the protagonist – or protagonists – is/are isolated, and this creates more drama and suspense and creates sympathy for the orphaned characters (think ‘Frozen’). When you want to ramp up an emotional response, kill off a parent or two.

But why stop there? Let’s take this one step further. Why not kill off the protagonist? Of course, there is a real risk when you kill off a protagonist that you will alienate the audience. But sometimes, in real life, people you love die. Why should literature ignore this?

The most famous examples of one of the protagonists dying in a Young Adult book is ‘The Bridge to Terabithia”, by Katherine Paterson. The author has openly admitted the book was inspired by the death of one the friends of her own child; she was writing from experience and from her heart. The book created a controversy when it first came out, as the topic of death was considered unsuitable for the target Young Adult audience. I don’t know why, when ‘Frankenstein’ by Mary Shelley is studied in schools, and the main protagonist dies in that book, so it isn’t like Katherine Paterson was reinventing the wheel.

Movie still provided by Cogpunk Steamscribe

Movie still provided by Cogpunk Steamscribe

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. The death of a protagonist or a main character has become a part of the tropes used in Young Adult Fiction.

The main character, Tris, dies in the final book in the Divergent series, ‘Allegiant’, by Veronica Roth. Both Bruno and Smuel die in the gas chambers in John Boyle’s ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’. In Morris Gleitzman’s ‘Then’, Felix has to watch his best friend Zelda die at the hands of the Nazis. As well, though the ending is ambiguous, ‘The Giver’ by Lois Lowry should be mentioned; I was certain Jonas and Gabriel were most certainly dying after finishing that book. All of these books are Young Adult, and none of them flinch away from the death of a main character or characters.

All of these books treated the deaths with honesty and respect. All of these books cover serious topics that are part of the human history, or analogies of the failings of human nature, and use death to highlight the points they are trying to make. The authors are trying to make people think. This is why all of these books have been banned at some point or another.

Not all books let death be the end of a character. Harry Potter, in ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’, dies as a major plot point, but then lives again. His death and rebirth made perfect sense as part of the plot, and wasn’t just used for dramatic effect. In ‘The Lovely Bones’ by Alice Sebold, the protagonist Susie narrates her own story even after her murder, as an entity from heaven. But these are more the exception than the rule, and aren’t the same kind of books as the others I have mentioned. As well, coming back from the dead is rather Hollywood’s set piece these days.

In the end, I don’t believe a writer should flinch away from the death of a protagonist or a main character, if that death is meaningful. Death is ugly, but like a shadow, it throws everything else into sharp relief. If you only ever paint with sunny and light colours, a painting is rather boring. If you only ever write about happy events, your writing will be bland. I’m not saying kill off your protagonist just for the hell of it, but don’t close yourself off to the possibility.

Bio: Lynne Lumsden Green has an addiction to learning that has seen her collect a B.A. in Creative Writing and a B.Sc. in Zoology. She runs Steampunk Sunday, Queensland Australia on Facebook, and writes the Cogpunk Steamscribe blog on WordPress. She has too many toys on her desk, but her excuse is they help ‘inspire’ her.

February’s Entertainment Reviews

26 Feb

When The Eye-Dancers interviewed me one year ago, I didn’t even have a publishing contract for The Timely Death Trilogy. Now, they have emailed again, and you can see how much my life has changed in just 365 days. Read the full interview here to find out how I define myself as a writer and person.

I know. I know. On my last post, I said this would be February’s Website Wonders, but I am switching it up mainly because it would conflict with the Oscars. (What?) Yes, the Oscars. Since I posted about the Oscars last year, I decided I will post about it again this year. So, the next few posts will be a lot of fun!

Here’s the schedule:

2/28: February Ketchup (or Catch-Up – haven’t decided yet) This will be dedicated to showing everyone a list of February’s postings as well as the most popular post according to my stats.

3/2: The Oscars: Who I Want to Win – I think the title is pretty obvious as to what this post will be.

3/4: Website Wonders – See? I told you I would share them. They will just be shared a few days late.

Thanks for understanding!

Onto the entertainment reviews:

Movies – I’m starting out with these, because I watched so many of these that I couldn’t decide which ones to share…so I’m sharing pretty much all of them. It’s safe to say that I really, REALLY enjoy watching movies.

  • The Wolf of Wall Street: I hope Leonardo gets an Oscar. Seriously. Other than the fact that he already deserves one, he shows some crazy acting skills in this movie. From drugs to sex to sociopathic Wallstreeters – he covers a wide range of emotion in this movie.
  • 12 Years a Slave – It might win film of the year. But it was really depressing for me, which is the point, so it’s successful. That being said, I thought some of the long pauses were overdone and actually took me out of it instead of the intended effect, which – I’m assuming – is to give the viewer a moment to breathe and/or seriously think about what is happening. I still enjoyed this film.
  • The Lego Movie – I can admit I was laughing. If I wasn’t so tired, I probably would’ve enjoyed the flick a lot more.
  • I, Frankenstein: cheese graphics, definitely not the traditional tale (which I wasn’t expecting anyway.) If you’re okay with predictable action, go for it. I did think the gargoyles were cool, but that’s because I grew up watching Gargoyles, so I have a soft heart for them.
  • Last Vegas: This movie is definitely not directed for my age group, but I watched it with my father, and I was laughing along with him. He was laughing harder, but this cast was amazing. The storyline is predictable, but – come on – we’re talking about a comedy, so I had no problem with that. It was a great laugh.
  •  My Neighbor Totoro: As much as this is debatably the most popular and influential anime movie, I was slightly disappointed. Not saying I didn’t like it. I enjoyed it. But I would definitely put Grave of the Fireflies, Howl’s Moving Castle, and Spirited Away above this one. (P.S. anyone else hoping Hayao Miyazaki isn’t actually retiring? If he truly does, I am heartbroken.)
  • 24 Short Films of Famous Directors You Can Watch on Youtube: very interesting! Tim Burton’s was my favorite, but he’s also one of my favorite directors so this wasn’t a surprise to me. (I also loved Guillermo del Toro’s.)

1796519_2251975777559_1704430684_nCooking: Because I have to share this recipe. I made it for Valentine’s Day – because I needed an excuse to make something with this much chocolate in it – and I will probably make it again.

  • Oreo Lasagna: Yep. I made it, and – no shame – it was beyond delicious.

Books: Since February is the month of love, I wanted to share love books that I love.

  • Delirium by Lauren Oliver: Love is a disease. Do you need to know anymore? It’s an amazing trilogy – one of my favorites.
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: I couldn’t do this blog post without mentioning this tale. You must read it, especially if you’re going to see the movie in theaters this year.
  • One Day: This is probably one of my favorite novels. The tale takes place on one day over forty years. It shows how love can grow and die over a lifetime.
  • The Sad Love Story: For manga fans, this might be my favorite. I don’t want to spoil the story by describing it, but the title isn’t lying.
  • The World’s Greatest Love Letters: “for evil nor good shall never make me go from it.” This collection is beautiful and heartbreaking and everything in-between.

Music: One is technology, but the last three are playlists from 8tracks.com.

cat

My “Party Animal”

  • Party Animals: it’s a dancing cat. What could be better than that? I hook it up to my iPod or computer, and my cat dances to the music. I love it. Not going to lie.
  • Violin and Cie: a violin playlist
  • As One: if you like foreign music – in this case, Korean – then check this out.
  • Something Else: This is described as chill step, but I thought it was just mellow and wonderful.

Hope you check some of these things out! If you have already, be sure to let me know what you think below in the comments. If you have any suggestions, I’m always open, too.

~SAT

%d bloggers like this: