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You Are What You Read

I’m something of a science nerd, so I love it when science and literacy come together. Fortunately for me, I get just that in this Jezebel article about readers emulating their favorite characters. The study reveals that readers can shift their thoughts and actions to match their favorite literary character and attempt to live vicariously through a character by taking on what we think would be his or her thoughts, actions and emotions.

I know that there have been plenty of times when I have stopped to think, “What would so-and-so do in this situation?” and this article really made me think back and reflect on my habits and reading. I love to re-read Gone with the Wind, and I feel protective of Scarlett as I imagine what life might have been like for her. Now I wonder if I’m more flirtatious or take on more of a ruthless attitude towards the world as I read and think about Miss O’Hara.

What do you think? Have you ever lived vicariously through a book character? Do you think you emulate your favorite characters?

One Response to You Are What You Read

  1. D. C. DaCosta says:

    I think a writer of fiction MUST be able to assume the personality of his characters. How else is he a reliable authority on what they will or will not do in various situations?

    When I was a kid, I “played” at being Sherlock Holmes. Nowadays, it’s my own characters ONLY. I may assume the persona of one of my Tough Guy characters when I need to discuss something unpleasant, or a Gracious Host(ess) character in a social situation that has me nervous.

    Asking, “What Would [character name] Do?” happens all the time when I’m writing. But only with my own characters.

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