Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I'm Not James Bond...

In my American Novel class today we discussed Bakhtin's idea of the romance novel.  One of the most crucial elements of a romance is the fact that the main characters don't grow.  They don't grow physically, they don't grow emotionally, and they don't grow mentally.  Of course they face challenges, and usually these challenges provide the plot, but they never change.  Take James Bond for example.  Timeless.  Awesome.  But he's no smarter today than he was 50 years ago.  And he hasn't aged at all.

A lot of romance stories begin with a relationship, but the challenges these characters overcome don't help them grow as people.  Their lives exist to prove that their love can survive, but it doesn't develop.  It just withstands.

This idea stayed with me because as much as I enjoy a good romance, Bakhtin has helped me figure out why most romance novels leave something wanting.  I think sometimes I get caught up in just surviving life.  Not that my life is incredibly difficult; just the usual daily struggles, school, homework, getting sick, etc. can get me into the rut of just surviving.

But you know what?  I don't want to just survive life.  I'm here to grow and learn and become the best person I can be.  I'm not a 2-dimensional character in a book.  I'm real.  Life is real.  I want to come away from hard things having learned how to grow and develop into who I want to be.  Who knows?  Maybe these hard things are meant to shape me into the person I want to be.

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