*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the musical Fiddler On The Roof. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie or any of the stage adaptations.
There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.
In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Fiddler On The Roof to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.
Revolutions are usually not started by the elder generation who are sometimes content to rest on their laurels and let life go on. Revolutions are usually started by young people who are idealistic, angry and willing to use their voice to fight against what they feel is an injustice. These young people are also the ones who are trying to shake the dust of off their elders and show them that the world is changing.
In Fiddler On The Roof, the idea of revolution is represented by the character of Perchik. Perchik is a young man who has come to Anatevka to shake the denizens out of their doldrums. Idealistic, modern and outspoken, Perchik does not exactly get along with his new neighbors, but Tevye is willing to give Perchik a chance. Perchik starts tutoring Tevye’s youngest daughters and starts on a Beatrice and Benedick relationship with Hodel, Tevye’s second eldest daughter.
Eventually Perchik gets up the courage to propose to Hodel, even though is not the most conventional of proposals. But before they can wed, Perchik is caught up in trouble and is sent to Siberia.
To sum it up: one way to see change in a character or a narrative is to introduce the idea of revolution, whether it is social, cultural or financial. The writers wisely used Perchik to represent the wider revolution that would engulf the world in Fiddler On The Roof as a whole. For a writer, it is more about how he or she uses change rather than just the act of the change itself. The change will happen, it is just a matter of how the writer enacts the change that affects the outcome of the whole story, not just the character who represents the change.