Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Appearances: revealing and deceptive
In Fat Kid Rules the World, Troy’s size affects his treatment by others and his view of himself. Weight is one of the biggest appearance-related issues that teenagers and teen characters struggle with, from Artichoke’s Heart and The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things to Wintergirls.
There are, of course, characters whose appearances belie their personalities: the charming but manipulative Steerforth in David Copperfield; and the brutal Keir in Inexcusable, who even has himself convinced that he’s a nice guy. These characters turn our own biases and assumptions against us, testing our ability to see beneath surfaces.
Characters’ external features, dress and mannerisms are not just decorations. They’re most interesting and relevant when they’re aligned with, or in opposition to, the characters’ inner lives.