Literature not only provides tranquility and entertainment away from the normal hustles of life but also gives the authors a chance to depict life as it is perceived by them. There are many literal styles to relay life in any perspective using literature but none of them can be utilized to the extent that fiction has been used. Fiction allows the writer to relay life from a higher level and even different perspective without appearing prejudicial or judgmental. Real life stories limit authors to modesty and moderation while fiction gives them the opportunity to traverse boundaries dictated by political correctness and courtesy. However in exploring the freedom provided fiction stories it is important that authors create characters that readers can relate to emotionally, socially and mentally. The characters should be able to feel emotions, should fit into the social levels available in the society and should be able to reason in a humane manner. Most fiction stories do not provide for these levels of interaction.
Perhaps an example can be found in “Chronicles of a Death Foretold” by Gabriel Gracia Marquez. The story follows a narration by an unknown person of the events and circumstances leading to the death of a Colombian of Arab descent who is twenty years old. Arguably he is killed to protect the honor of the sister of Vicaro brothers. Although the author allows the reader to experience the perceptions of different people including the persona in demystifying the details of the murder, the narrator remains a phantom that the reader cannot identify with either emotionally, socially or mentally. Furthermore the author does not give the reader of the relief of experiencing the antagonists in the story being punished for their crime. The reader would have also wanted to interact to a more personal level with the victim who is the twenty year old boy.
In the book “Bartleby the Scrivener” the author introduces the reader to the narrator and just by the way the narrator describes himself, the reader is able to perceive that the narrator is proud and thinks of himself as better than others. The narrator informs us of weaknesses of other whom he considers inferior without even considering that he also has flaws. The author does not tell this to the reader but the reader is able to find out from the words of the narrator. For instance the narrator informs the reader that he is impressed by John Jacob Astor who is famously known for his selfish exploitation of America during the industrial revolution. The reader immediately develops repulsion towards the character and as the story progresses; the reader yearns for a protagonist character that he/she can identify with. The pride and arrogance in the words of the narrator compounded by his continuous criticism of others causes the reader to dislike him. Therefore when rebellion and challenge befalls the narrator in form of Bartleby, the reader immediately likes Bartleby. The reader is also able to relate to the characters in a social level because most of the characters are involved in conventional careers. For instance the narrator is described as a lawyer. However the story fails to give the reader an opportunity to identify emotionally with the characters because they are displayed superficially with little if no emotional aspect.
In the “Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka, Gregor is depicted as a person who put the life and welfare of other before his own. The overnight change of Gregor to a cockroach and his apparent indifference to this fact brings out this aspect more clearly in this work of fiction. When he wakes up all Gregor is sad about is that he cannot be able to adequately provide for the needs of his family. Although he is not happy about his current job, he cannot quit because he is loyal to his family and is driven by a great sense of obligation. The author informs the reader that Gregor’s intentions are to make sure that he has sent his sister to school so she could learn how to play violin and pay the debts that his parents had incurred. However immediately the author turns Gregor into a cockroach the reader ceases to identify with the Gregor in a mental way. The reader is not also able to identify with Gregor emotionally because despite waking up as a cockroach all he worries about is how to provide to his family. Perhaps the author wanted the reader to develop admiration towards Gregor by depicting him as a victim who requires sympathy, but the author overstretched this aspect to a point where it is impossible for the reader to identify with Gregor because he is impractical. The antagonists who are Gregor’s family are also displayed as persons in a peculiar and impossible situation which the reader might find hard to relate with. There are in a dilemma as to how to deal with the new Gregor who has suddenly turned into a cockroach. The story leaves no characters for the reader to identify with in an emotional way. The reader might identify with Gregor’s family mentally but since they are already displayed in a negative way it becomes impossible.
Fiction opened up boundaries enabling authors to experiment their creativity and subsequently allowing the reader to interact with the characters in many levels of life. In terms of whether they are depicted as a cockroach, as proud and arrogant or whether involved in murder of an innocent young man. However most works of fiction deny the reader a chance to relate with the characters in an intimate way emotionally, socially and mentally ignoring the fact that fiction should also have some aspect of reality.