Category Archives: Character Review

Star Wars Character Review: Poe Dameron

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the new characters that were introduced to audiences for the episodes seven and eight in the Star Wars franchise. Read at your own risk if you have not seen The Force Awakens Or The Last Jedi.

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 Star Wars to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Becoming a hero is a wish that many have. Saving the day and receiving everything that comes with saving the day is a fantasy that has been the backbone of storytelling since the beginning of storytelling. But there is an unspoken reality of becoming a hero. Besides the danger that is involved, there may also be an ego trip and the inevitable fall that comes after the ego trip.

In the newest Star Wars films, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is a hero of the rebellion. The spiritual son of General Leia Organa (the late Carrie Fisher), he is not only one of the best pilots within the rebellion, but he is also being groomed as General Organa’s future second in command. In The Force Awakens, Poe is one of the core characters that is front and center in the war against The First Order.

Brash, passionate, emotional and a little reckless, Poe is everything the rebellion needs to prevent The First Order from taking over the entire galaxy.

In The Last Jedi, Poe is still the hero, but his recklessness becomes a negative attribute instead of a positive one. Disobeying orders, he leads a strike against the First Order that costs the lives of many and is promptly demoted. But even his demotion is not enough  when he disagrees with the choices of his replacement, Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern). When he is working with Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) and Finn (John Boyega) to help the rebellion survive, his actions bring out the opposite result.

In the end, Poe redeems himself as a hero in the battle on the planet Crait, but not before having a few bumps and bruises along the way.

To sum it up: Being a hero and saving the day is not all fun and games. There is a reality to being a hero that is often not explored. When creating a character who wants to be a hero, making that character earn that hero title is in my opinion, necessary. It not only creates a realistic character arc, but it also keeps the audience or reader in their place, questioning when the character will become the hero they want to be.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Movies, Star Wars

Star Wars Character Review: Finn

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the new characters that were introduced to audiences for the episodes seven and eight in the Star Wars franchise. Read at your own risk if you have not seen The Force Awakens Or The Last Jedi.

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 Star Wars to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

We all have pasts, it’s part of being human. Part of that past are mistakes that even years later, we regret making. In The Force Awakens (aka Episode 7 of in the Star Wars series), Finn (John Boyega) is introduced as a storm trooper whose inner Jiminy Cricket has kicked in. After refusing to kill innocent villagers on the planet Jakku and helping Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) escape from the First Order, Finn joins the resistance, in spite of his past.

In The Last Jedi (aka Episode 8), Finn wakes up from the coma to discover that the resistance is slowly being destroyed by the First Order. He again tries to run away, but is caught by Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran). They eventually form plan is to sneak onto a First Order ship and destroy the signal that is tracking the resistance ships through light speed. What starts out a simple plan quickly goes awry, but in the end, there is a faint glimmer of hope that Finn’s actions has helped the rebels to fight another day.

To sum it up: The fight or flight response is built into us as human beings. The question is, as a character, does one run from their past or they face up to it? In Star Wars, Finn eventually faces his past, making him a better man than he was if he had chosen to run away. As writers and human beings, we know that actions, both good and bad have consequences.

When it comes to creating a character who must choose the fight or flight response, the writer must follow the path that is true to the character. For if the character’s action feel untrue to the reader or viewer, it is unlikely that he or she will want to continue to follow both the story and the character.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Movies, Star Wars

Star Wars Character Review: Rey

The new group of characters I will be discussing is…. the new characters from the Star Wars franchise. 

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the new characters that were introduced to audiences for the episodes seven and eight in the Star Wars franchise. Read at your own risk if you have not seen The Force Awakens Or The Last Jedi.

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 Star Wars to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

If we are lucky, we are raised in a loving family by parents who do everything in their power to ensure that we grow up to be successful and happy adults. But that is not always the case. In episode seven of Star Wars, entitled The Force Awakens, the audience is introduced to a new heroine, Rey (Daisy Ridley). Rey is a woman alone, living as best she can on the desert planet of Jakku. Her parentage is unknown. She is a scavenger, who earns her bread by selling whatever she can scavenge. The fate introduced her to Finn (John Boyega) and BB-8 and she discovers that not only does have to makeshift family but she also is very strong in the force.

While training with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), in episode eight, otherwise known as The Last Jedi, Rey must not only learn what it is to become a Jedi, but also confront her past and her relationship (if you want to call it that) with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).

To sum it up: Family is not always blood. For some, the lack of blood relations creates an emotional hole that is never truly filled. But for others, they find within themselves the ability to create a family.  While the fact remains that her parents are still a mystery, Rey not only finds a family within the members of the rebellion, but also finds a father figure/mentor in Luke. Family is sometimes not born, it is made. The question is, can a character built a family or will they always mourn the loss of the blood relations they have never known?

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Feminism, Movies, Star Wars

Little Women Character Review: Aunt March

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Read at your own risk if you have not read the book or have seen any of the 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 Little Women to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

If we are lucky, we have older relations who love us and want the best for us.  But that doesn’t mean that they are always right. In Little Women, that older relation is Aunt March. Aunt March is the wealthy and widowed Aunt by marriage of Mr. March. She is also very opinionated and not afraid to share her opinions.  The reader is introduced to Aunt March when we follow Jo to her job as her aunt’s companion. They get along like oil and water.

It is Aunt March who continually harps on what she believes to be her nephew’s poor decision-making abilities. She also nearly breaks up the engagement of Meg to John Brooke. John is just poor tutor without connections or a large fortune and according to Aunt March, an unwise choice of a spouse.

Though she is critical and not afraid to speak her mind, Aunt March is not heartless. She takes a shining to Amy and encourages her to develop her artistic abilities. She also leaves her home, Plumfield to Jo after her death.

To sum it up: Aunt March maybe a cantankerous and stubborn old woman, but that does not mean that she puts money above family.  I think when writers create characters like Aunt March, there has to be a balance between the smart-mouthed old biddy who thinks she knows everything and the woman who really does care, but it doesn’t come out in a direct fashion. It’s just a matter of knowing when to reveal which part of the character’s personality.

 

This will be the last character review post for Little Women. The next group of characters who will receive a character review in two weeks is…….I’m not telling you. You have to wait and see. 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Character Review, History

Little Women Character Review: John Brooke

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Read at your own risk if you have not read the book or have seen any of the 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 Little Women to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Romance is wonderful. It is a magic, it is light, it is hearts and flowers, etc. But behind that romance is commitment and more often than not the commitment is harder than the romance. The commitment requires patience, compromise and the willingness to work on the relationship with your spouse or partner.

In Little Women, Meg March, the eldest of the March daughters is the first to marry. In her time, a young lady in her position was often advised to marry up. A rich man to call husband was the goal. But Meg, despite her quiet and compliant nature, follows her heart. She marries John Brooke, who is introduced to Meg and the audience early in the novel. At this point, he is earning his bread as a tutor. His pupil is Teddy Laurence, the boy who lives next door to the March family.

At first glance, John does not appear to offer much to Meg, especially looking through the lens of the 1860’s. He does not have the money or the connections of other men. He is humble and quiet. Both he and Meg know that when they marry, they will have comfortable, but modest life together.

To sum it up: Sometimes, when a writer is creating a romantic narrative, they may go a little over the top. For a certain type of story, going over the top is fine. But for others, going over the top is unnecessary. The best romances are the ones that reflect reality and the difficulty that often comes with being in love with another person and trying to make a relationship with that person last. The relationship/marriage between John and Meg continues to inspire readers and writers because it is grounded in reality. That reality, regardless of how far out the narrative is, is one of the keys to pulling in an audience/reader and keeping them in that place until the story is done.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Character Review, History

Little Women Character Review: Professor Friedrich Bhaer

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Read at your own risk if you have not read the book or have seen any of the 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 Little Women to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Sometimes, the best romantic relationships/marriages are not formed by the thumping together of two bodies, but of the melding of two minds. In Little Women, Professor Friedrich Bhaer is introduced towards the end of the novel. In his early 40’s, Friedrich is German émigré who is raising his orphaned nephews. Earning his living as a tutor, he meets Jo March when he is staying at the boarding house where she is working for the owner of the boarding house as a nanny.

Both are intellectual, have a good heart and find in each other the mental stimulation that will become the foundation of their relationship. While they start off as friends, Jo and Friedrich will go on to have two sons and a happy marriage. But not before they have a few disagreements in regards to Jo’s writing.

To sum it up: romance can start in a number of ways. It doesn’t always have to be the ooey gooey love at the first kind. It can be the relationship where the couple starts off as friends who are intellectually inspired by one another before it becomes sexual or romantic. As a writer, I prefer that type of romance because it feels organic and natural. But that is a decision that every writer must make for themselves.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Character Review, History

Little Women Character Review: Margaret “Marmee” March

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Read at your own risk if you have not read the book or have seen any of the 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 Little Women to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

A girl’s first role model is her mother. More than providing food, shelter, warmth and clean clothes, a good mother does her best to guide and teach her daughter as she grows up. In Little Women, Margaret March, the mother of the titular heroines is known to her daughters are Marmee.

When the audience is introduced to Marmee, she is for all intents and purposes, a single parent raising four teenage girls. With her husband is fighting for the Union, Marmee is doing the best she can with limited resources.  While she is a practical woman who completely understands what needs to be done to keep her family going, she is not without a heart. Early on the in the novel, at Marmee’s request, the family gives their Christmas dinner to another family who has much less than they have.

In a certain sense, Marmee is a modern mother. She is not a helicopter parent, and allows daughters to make mistakes, even when she knows the mistakes are preventable. While she completely understands that her girls must marry one day, Marmee is not the matchmaking mama who throws her daughters at every eligible man in sight. She wants them to have solid marriages to men who respect and love her girls in the way that they deserve to be respected and loved. She also wants her girls to stand on their own two feet, well, as much as they could in the 1860’s.

To sum it up: In creating Marmee, Alcott understood the impact a mother has on her daughter. While Marmee, like anyone, has her weaknesses and difficulties, she does her best as a mother. Many times in fiction, especially classic fiction, mothers are dead, forever embarrassing their children or emotionally absent as a parent. Alcott broke the mold, creating a mother who while thoroughly human, is being the best parent she can be. That is what any reader or child could ask for.

2 Comments

Filed under Books, Character Review, Feminism, History

Little Women Character Review: Laurie Laurence

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Read at your own risk if you have not read the book or have seen any of the 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 Little Women to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

First love is an experience that stays with us always. While it is more than likely that the relationship does not grow beyond youth, that person will always have a place in our hearts. In Little Women, Theodore Laurence, known as either Teddy or Laurie, is the boy next door. He has been besties with Jo March for years and has secretly been in love with her for most of their friendship.

On paper, Laurie would be a good match for Jo. The world that Laurie and Jo live in is still ruled on a certain level by social rank and income. The Laurence family, being of a higher social rank and a higher income than the March family, would be a step up for Jo. But despite Laurie’s best efforts, Jo turns him down. She understands that their marriage would not be a happy one. Laurie initially sulks like a school boy after Jo turns him down, but ends up going to Europe. While is Europe, he reunited with Jo’s younger sister Amy, whom he does fall in love with and marry.

To sum it up: Sometimes, as we grow up, we have figure out who is best for us. We may wish, hope and pray that our first love, whomever he or she will be, will be our last love. But for many, learning that our first love will not be our last love is often a painful growing experience. As writers, when creating this experience for our characters, it is incumbent that we demonstrate why this couple is not meant to be. If we do not demonstrate why this couple is meant to be, the writer has not done his or her job and leaves too many questions unanswered.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Character Review, History

Little Women Character Review: Amy March

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Read at your own risk if you have not read the book or have seen any of the 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 Little Women to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

When it comes to the youngest child in a large family, it is often the case that he or she may be spoiled and/or babied by their parents and elder siblings. In Little Women, Amy March is the youngest of the four March sisters. Introduced to the reader as a pre-teen, Amy is a proud child who is used to being spoiled and babied by her parents and her sisters. She also has quite the dramatic streak and like Jo, can be temperamental at times.

She starts to grow up with a couple of events that will change the course of her life: nearly freezing to death in a lake and losing her elder sister, Beth. Eventually, she married Laurie Laurence, her long time neighbor who is also Jo’s bestie. An artist by heart and by nature, one of Amy’s great loves is her art.

While Amy never truly gives up the need to be popular or an eye on the finer things in life, she grows up to become a woman with a heart and a sense of gratitude.

To sum it up: Growing up is not and has never been a straight line. It is a zig zag,  a winding road that has pitfalls and challenges. There maybe some metaphorical potholes that cause a metaphorical skinned knee along the way. Like all of us, Amy does grow up, but not before having a few metaphorical skinned knees of her own along the way.  As writers, when creating characters who grow from childhood to adulthood over the course of the narrative, it is our job to ensure that audience/reader relates to the character’s growth from childhood to adulthood.

Amy March endures because her narrative is comparable to any coming of age story. The writer who is writing their own coming of age story ought to remember Amy’s story, because it is how a coming of age story should be written.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Character Review, History

Little Women Character Review: Beth March

*Warning: This post contains spoilers in regards to the narrative and characters from the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Read at your own risk if you have not read the book or have seen any of the 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 Little Women to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

There is an old Jewish saying: may you live until 120.While the ideal is that we should all live into our golden years, the sad reality is that death can sadly strike the young as well as the old.

In Little Women, Beth March is the third of the four March girls. Unlike her sisters, she is a homebody who rarely socializes outside of her immediate circle. She always has a giving heart and a shoulder to lean on when needed. Beth is also an accomplished musician who likes nothing more than to play on the family piano.

The ying to Jo’s yang, she is the calm in the eye of the storm when Jo is temperamental and blowing up like a volcano. Unfortunately, Beth dies young after contracting an illness when she visited a family whose circumstances are much worse than the March’s.

To sum it up: Every story has a heart. It may make you laugh or it may make you cry, but it is always there. Beth is the heart of Little Women. She is the representation of all that is good in the world. Ultimately, that heart breaks when Beth dies, but it is always there, even if is there only in spirit.

Leave a comment

Filed under Books, Character Review, History