Thursday, April 14, 2011

Art Mirrors Life: Characters' Modern Social Equivelants

The frenemy: You all know the term. This person is "like totally your bff" until they forward your "Cabo!" pictures to your boss and tell your boyfriend you shave your butt. This delightfully purloined relationship is exemplified in the wonderful novel A Separate Peace. One minute Gene is telling Phineas how awesome he is- they're playing "Blitzball"- it's an Indian Summer... and then BAM. Knocks him off a tree-branch. Frenemy indeed.

The couple that is "SOINLOVE!!!": It is nauseating how consumed these people are. Romeo and Juliet are teenagers, which is kind of how it should be, but it real life, there is no age limit. There are sixty-five year old new couples that are similarly hellish to be around. They are all about the PDA and the extreme dramatics. "Staaaaaay... it isn't morning! I couldn't BEAR to part from you for even one nano-millisecond. What's that? There are people who will very literally KILL you if you stay? But I looooove yoooouuuuu!!!!!!" ick.

The group clown: AKA the drunk slob you profess to disdain but secretly love because he's awesome. Shakespeare locked this one down perfectly with Twelfth Night's Sir Toby Belch. Objectively, the man is loathesome: he's loud, inconsiderate, and almost willfully stupid. And yet he delights us. We rejoice in his eventual wedded bliss and applaud him for his inspired bullying of the insufferable Malvolio. Same with whatever lovable buffoon you have in your personal network. Maybe he is funny, maybe he has a good heart, maybe he just plain makes you feel superior. Whatever the reason, his presence is joy, and without it your life would be strangely lacking.

Your boss: Milton's Satan. So cunning. So sneaky. So teeeeempting with that raise that you are never really going to get.

Your husband/boyfriend/S.O., if you love him or her: Lancelot

Your husband/boyfriend/S.O. if you don't: Arthur

The teacher who changed your life: Atticus Finch. This man was absolutely everything every mentor should be. He was kind, brave, generous, fair, wise, patient.... yeah. You get it.

The mule: This person will pursue every issue to the bitter end. He googles every single fact about which you disagree or about which there is any question whatsoever. He will demand every detail of every aspect of the story you're trying to tell to the point that you never actually get to finish telling it. He will. not. let. it. go. Just like Captain Ahab and his white whale, this person will DIE before he just ACCEPTS that a tomato ought to be classified as a fruit and not a vegetable.

The person who you don't like, and therefore run into absolutely EVERYWHERE: James Joyce's Ulysses is basically a story about one man (Leopold Bloom) walking around the city for a day. It just so happens that his wife is concurrently having an affair with a skeeze machine named Blazes Boylen, about which Leopold just so happens to be aware. Naturally, he hates him. In the 24 hour period over which Ulysses is set, that man is EVERYWHERE. All of Dublin and he has to eat at the same cafe as Leopold. He passes by him on the street. People talk about him at Leopold's friend's funeral. It's absurd! Yet I swear to God, the same thing happened with my least favorite math teacher in high school, and half the people I know have routine run-ins with a particularly awkward ex boyfriend.

The "complex" emotional teenager: Holden. Caufield. Everyone's a phony. Everything's fake. Nothing
means anything. Oh Holden... your sensitivity is endearing, but you're a phony, too. There are literally hundreds of kids just like you, skulking around the playgrounds late at night and lamenting the damaged state of the world. And everybody knows one.

The sweet old man who tells you the same story nine times: Don Quixote. Granted, your old neighbor/grandfather/ old family friend might still retain their more rational mental faculties, but let me tell you something- your facial expression when he or she tells you for the twelfth time that he/she made an "internet account" is the exact same one you would have if you were hearing about the imminent threat of attacking windmills

The girl crush: She's smart and spirited and pretty and talented, and in spite of all this, for some reason you don't hate her. Actually, all you want to do is hang out with her... like, all the time. So you know it's gotta be Lizzy Bennet.

The best friend: Solid. Steady. Always there to listen to your rants or tell you you're pretty or carry your weary body through the poisonous mists of Mount Doom. Samwise the Brave.

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