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Fictional Characters, Real ProblemsThe Search for Ethical Content in Literature$
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Garry L. Hagberg

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198715719

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198715719.001.0001

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Caring about Characters

Caring about Characters

(p.31) 2 Caring about Characters
Fictional Characters, Real Problems

Eileen John

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers how and why real people can care about fictional characters.. Caring rests on having interests at stake, and in literary contexts those interests concern the accuracy and content of a representation; we as people, as part of our natural history, are beings for whom representation and being represented are centrally important. This chapter argues for a better integration of the “internal” and “external” perspectives on fictional characters, that is, a better integration of what are too often taken as divergent and incompatible points of view: (1) the characters as witnessed from the outside, and (2) the reader’s vicarious identification with, and thus imaginative entry into the life of, the character from the inside.

Keywords:   characters as people, representational accuracy, internal-external merging, interests, characters as representations

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