Fictional Relating

Do you have to relate to a character in order to enjoy a book or a movie? For me, it isn’t necessary. I have enjoyed many a novel where I didn’t like any of the characters.

I must admit, though, it is a major added bonus if I can see myself in at least one character. Not too long ago, Rivera Runs Through It had a post that had me considering in which fictional characters I could see myself. As I made my own list, I noticed that my reason for liking certain characters was greatly influenced by where I was in my life at the time I first encountered them. An idea was born.

The fictional characters that I most relate to are, based on when I discovered them and how I related to them at the time:

1. Mary Ingalls, Little House on the Prairie. As I’ve previously mentioned, Mary was the one that followed the rules and was the “good” daughter. I first read the series at a time in my life when I’d never met a rule I didn’t like.

2. Johnny Castle, Dirty Dancing.  From the first time I saw it, I related to him, even though I had never danced a step. I always felt like I was with the group but not fully a part of it.

3. Tess McGill, Working Girl.  I desperately wanted to make it; however, I thought it would take a handsome Harrison Ford-like character believing in me in order for my voice to be heard … and ultimately Tess was heard!

4. Will Truman, Will & Grace. Despite the fact that I am neither male nor homosexual, Will was the only character on a show that I loved who wasn’t a caricature of himself. Also, he was looking to be loved in a genuine way simply for being who he was.

5. Liz Lemon, 30 Rock . I came to 30 rock later than most. DH2U introduced me to the wackiness this year. While I don’t have an ultra-conservative friend, Kurt is my Jack Donaghy. We are close friends for incredibly obvious to us reasons that no one else really seems to understand.

To which fictional characters do you relate? Has that type of character changed over time?

2 thoughts on “Fictional Relating”

  1. That’s a tough question. Do we see ourselves accurately? I’m with you that we don’t need to like or particularly identify with a character to enjoy or be intrigued by them. I suppose growing up i was a bit like Jan Brady. I was the middle daughter and probably had that Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in me. As an adult? Charlotte from Sex and the City, play by the rules, sensitive, fiercely loyal and wanting to believe the best in people. And to believe in love. Interesting topic. I love your comment that you never met a rule you didn’t like. What a sweet kid you must have been.


    1. I loved your question about the accuracy of our self-perceptions. That very well might end up as a blog post one of these days!

      I think we have all had our “Jan” moments when we feel left out.

      I liked your assessment of Charlotte. I’d always been turned off by her romanticism, but your perceptions perfectly fit her as well.

      One time growing up my mom was really frustrated with me, and in anger said, “When you grow up, I hope you have a child … just like your sister.” Even me at my worst would have been a blessing. That made us both laugh.


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