Saturday, March 26, 2011
In my Elements of Style II class, we're learning all about opposites on the color wheel, how colors are made more vibrant by strong contrast. The same is true of characters. Maybe a really high-strung character makes everything his laid-back friend says sound like an understatement, or a really cautious person makes his adrenaline-junkie pal out to be insane. They can drive each other crazy -which is fun to watch. They can also balance each other out.
Charles Dickens loves balancing his characters this way. Bookish but naive Mr. Pickwick is balanced by his friendship with the streetwise but illiterate Sam Weller. Robert Louis Stevenson shows the cultural difference between the lowland and highland Scots of the time by pairing Alan Breck Stewart with Davie Balfour. A strong contrast shows who a character is by revealing who they aren't. Not a bad trick -in print or paint.
On a completely different subject, I am thinking about changing the name of my blog to `Lit Geek' since I haven't been rambling much about fairy-tales recently. What do you think?