Newman’s View on Fictional Characters
Ira Newman provides interesting insights into the analysis of fictional characters, which has a significant value for analysis of people’s behavior in the real world. Newman first analyzes the way fictional characters should be seen. The author states that “each fictional character inhabits a fictional world of its own” and, hence, the character should be analyzed in terms of peculiarities of this world (Newman 73). The author focuses on Hamlet and his environment, and it is clear that the character can be understood through a deeper analysis of the fictional world he is placed in.
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The example of Hamlet has enabled the author to come to an interesting conclusion. It is stressed that critics still “do identify… the character by means of the specific events that occur to him” (Newman 75). Thus, the stories should be considered from a wider perspective, and events that remain beyond the story can and should also be analyzed or, at least, hypothesized and taken into account. The author’s major finding is the “feedback loop” that characterizes fictional worlds, and the critic stresses that real people’s behavior can be considered with the help of tools used for the analysis of fictional characters, as they are a certain kind of representations of the real world (Newman 80). In other words, fictional characters can be related to people living in the real world and vice versa. Fictional stories can help us understand the trends that have occurred in society.
Silko’s World from Newman’s Lens
It is possible to find another illustration of the effectiveness of Newman’s approach. Hence, Silko’s novel Ceremony and its protagonist are best analyzed in terms of the world created by the author, and the story can be applied when considering a real-world setting.
First, it is necessary to analyze the world created by Silko. Tayo lives in quite a complex environment as he is exposed to two cultures. More so, he has to endure the horrors of the World War II that change him dramatically and cause a lot of psychological pain as he has bad dreams hearing “suffocating damp voices that drifted out in the jungle steam” (Silko 5). He has to find himself in the new reality, in the post-war reality. He has a family that can support him, but he fails to find comfort among his close ones.
Spirituality plays an important role in the story, and the protagonist finds his reconciliation with the environment through completing the ceremony he created. Importantly, Tayo learns that he, as well as his people, “must have power from everywhere,” and he can even get the power “from the whites” (Silko 139). The quest for this power is the major line in the story. Tayo successfully creates and completes his ceremony and becomes fully integrated into his new environment.
Of course, Newman’s approach helps understand this as the critic can analyze major milestones of the protagonist’s life and major peculiarities of the world he lives in. Tayo is a part of the environment, and he is shaped by his world. People around him bring meaning to his new life. Spirituality is key for fitting into the complex world where cultural diversity may get different forms.
The Real World and Tayo’s Effect
Newman suggests that every story (or rather its analysis) can help people see the real world better. Silko’s novel can also be applied, and it is even possible to talk about Tayo’s effect. Thus, the contemporary world is not very different from the environment described by Silko. There are still various military conflicts, and many veterans return with numerous psychological traumas. Of course, US diversity has increased, and people have to find their ways in a culturally diverse society. Tayo’s experiences can be seen as a sum total of experiences of real people who survived military conflicts. It is clear that people are haunted by images of the war, and they need a guideline to find their place in a peaceful society. Spirituality is an answer for many people. Tayo’s effect is choosing the spiritual path. Many veterans find their path with the help of religious beliefs of the community they live in. Hence, it is possible to identify a milestone in human life. Spirituality is what makes people find the meaning and be happy or, at least, satisfied with what they have.
In conclusion, it is possible to note that Newman’s approach to the analysis of both fictional and real worlds is effective and can be widely used. Newman stresses that fictional characters should be analyzed in terms of the environment they are put in. Real-world people’s behavior should also be considered in terms of the world around them, and analysis of fictional characters can help understand choices real people make and trends occurring in the world. Thus, Silko’s story is an illustration of the use of Newman’s approach. Through analysis of the protagonist of the story, it is possible to understand the experiences and concerns of those who survived military conflicts. It also enables philosophers to see that spirituality is one of the major milestones in people’s lives.
Newman, Ira. “Virtual People: Fictional Characters through the Frames of Reality.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 67.1 (2009): 73-82. Print.
Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony. New York: Penguin, 2006. Print.