Friday, January 13, 2006

Getting rid of the bad guy

"If the writer is able to properly convey to the reader the social and psychological forces acting on a character whose behavior is unacceptable--and isn't it the mark of a good writer that he can?--then the reader might well end up feeling sorry for the character, and insofar as he identifies with him, sorry for himself. Of course, you realize this gets rid of the bad guy in literature?"

"Oh no it doesn't," I said with a confidence born out of nothing but joy. "There's still a bad guy. The writer, for making the reader feel sorry for himself."

--Elliot Perlman, Seven Types of Ambiguity

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