Tag Archives: why are parents dead in fiction

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.

September Ketchup

30 Sep

September’s Ketchup

September’s Ketchup is here! For those of you just now checking in this month, Ketchup actually means “catch up.” At the end of every month, I write these posts describing my big moments, top blog post, the post I wish received more views, my top referrer, and more in order to show what goes on behind the scenes here at ShannonAThompson.com. I hope these insights help fellow bloggers see what was popular, but I also hope it entertains the readers who want “extras” for this website.

Thank you for being a part of my life this September!

Big Moments:

#1 Clicked Item was Take Me Tomorrow on Amazon

#1 Clicked Item was Take Me Tomorrow on Amazon

On the 25th, I had my two-year anniversary of blogging right here on ShannonAThompson.com. Hitting these moments remind me of how much time I spend on here because I love sharing my thoughts and discussing your thoughts in the comments. What can I say? You keep me coming back! And now there are 18,000 readers here.

That’s right. ShannonAThompson.com hit 18,000 followers this month. As I’m writing this we have 18,201 club members. I only mention that because I wanted to clarify that I write my Ketchup posts a few days in advance. That’s because these posts take me a long time to collaborate. But I just wanted to thank everyone for joining me on this little website of mine.

Other big moments included the release of Take Me Tomorrow’s book trailer and the Author Extension Community’s services. (Prices have now been added, and I think there are very affordable for the Indie community. But that’s just me.)

Who knows? Maybe next month I’ll have more news about Death Before Daylight.

Top Three Blog Posts:

1. 10 Things Authors Worry About: I’m glad I’m not alone in these worries, but it looks like we all have to stop worrying so much. :] That’s my way of telling everyone how awesome they are.

2. When Reading is a “Fad”: What’s “in” doesn’t matter – what matters is how we’re all reading.

3. Coffee & Cats: Episode 5: I’m both shocked and very happy that you all are enjoying my interactive poetry series! My stats boomed that day, so I’m definitely continuing this, and I cannot wait to continue hearing from you about my latest poems. Thank you for supporting my latest project.

seotermsetpThe Post I Wish Got More Views:

My Love Story: Poetry Edition: This isn’t the usual type of post that I share here on my website, but I wanted to explain why I was starting my interactive poetry series by describing how I fell in love with reading and writing poems. That being said, it was also a very personal story, and it was a very difficult story to share here. A lot of it has to do with my college roommate’s death in 2012, and the anniversary of her death is approaching this October. I find that poetry has been the main way I’ve coped with it over the past two years, and this poetry series is very much reminding me of how and why I love poetry so much as well as my college years.

Guest Post:

Authors Don’t Read by T.B. Markinson: A fascinating discussion from author, T.B. Markinson, that I believe many writers and readers can relate to. Meeting an idol can be strange, but it can also cause questions to arise about our own goals and life. A shout out to T.B. Markinson for writing this wonderful piece!

Other Blog Posts Organized By Topic:

Writing:

#1 Referrer was TheShelf.com (I have no idea why, but that happened.)

#1 Referrer was TheShelf.com (I have no idea why, but that happened.)

Reading:

Author Life:

At the end of the month, I also like to take a moment to thank all of the websites who supported me by posting reviews, interviews, and features. If you would like to review my novels or interview me, please send me an email at shannonathompson@aol.com. I always love speaking with new bloggers, writers, and readers! And I will share your post on all of my websites.

Reviewers:

(Take Me Tomorrow) The Examiner, Eat Books for Breakfast, The Random Book Blogger, Star-crossed Book Blog, Tranquil Dreams, Read Watch and Think, Into the Written Word, The Bookie Monster.

(Seconds Before Sunrise) The Other Side of Paradise, Read Watch and Think

(Minutes Before Sunset) Written Art, Bonnie Brown’s Book Reviews, Read Watch and Think

Interviews: The Examiner, P.S. Bartlett, The Random Book Blogger, Bonnie Brown’s Book Reviews, Into the Written World

Features: Two Books Are Better Than One, Underrated Books

Awarders: The Opinionated Woman’s Musings, Books for Fun, Deby Fredericks 

Since fall arrived this month, I thought I would pick out a picture to represent this Ketchup post. Original picture by wallpaperswa.com

Since fall arrived this month, I thought I would pick out a picture to represent this Ketchup post. Original picture by wallpaperswa.com

 

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