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Thread: Of male and female characters

  1. #1
    Serious business Taliesin's Avatar
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    Of male and female characters

    The thing is, I have seen that male writers have done quite well when picturing male characters, as have female writers with female characters.

    But now the thing is the opposite sex. There are not many writers who can acccurately picture the oppossite sex's character's mind.

    So, the question is:

    Female forumers, which male writer do you think has most accurately described the mind of a woman; the same question to male forumers: which female author has most accurately described the mind of a male character's inner world?


    And, oh yes, sorry for my terrible english.
    If you believe even a half of this post, you are severely mistaken.

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    in a blue moon amuse's Avatar
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    i'd forgotten how well james baldwin did this, until my intellectual heritage teacher mentioned him. can't think of anyone else right offhand though...

    sidenote: my bf's mom went to this book signing and the authoress told of how her hubby got great laughs at her multiple attempts to write a love scene from a man's perspective.
    shh!!!
    the air and water have been here a long time, and they are telling stories.

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    It's especially hilarious when male writers write female characters who fall hopelessly in love with a character who looks suspiciously like the face on the book jacket...

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    Firstly, being a male, to me both Virginia Woolf and Emily Bronte tend to describe well the makings of an increasingly masculine mind. Wuthering Heights best distinguished the various types of male minds, not to deviate the male from the female mind too much.

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    Registered User nothingman87's Avatar
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    To me, Willa Cather perfectly describes the desires of a man both young and old in her characterization of Jim Burden, in her work My Antonia.
    "When unto these sessions of sweet silent thought I summon up a remembrance of things past."

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    Peace is this way Jester's Avatar
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    I thought Charles Frazier did a good job portraying Adah and Ruby in Cold Mountain...
    "It all comes down to what we make of ourselves, eh?"
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    L'artiste est morte crisaor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Taliesin
    So, the question is to male forumers: which female author has most accurately described the mind of a male character's inner world?
    Your question has brought my attention to a weird fact: I cannot recall owning a book by a female author. Strange. Also, I can't recall which book written by a female author was the last one I read. It goes without saying that I don't care about an author's gender, but this is too curious. Problably it was something by Agatha Christie, but I'm having trouble remembering another one. I'll check.
    Ningún hombre llega a ser lo que es por lo que escribe, sino por lo que lee.
    - Jorge Luis Borges

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    precious... subterranean's Avatar
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    I don't know, from all the books that I read so far, the best description in female characters are given by female authors, like the Awakening or Jane Eyre. Same thing with male characters, like the one i'm reading now (Jude the Obscure).. But Dostoevsky also gave good descriptions for the female characters in the Poor People.
    So I dont really know which female/male author give the best description of male/female charaterisation


    "there are people in the world so hungry that God can not appear to them except in the form of bread"

    Mahatma Gandhi

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    precious... subterranean's Avatar
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    how about Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. This book gives a good description of woman with her sensibility and sufferings. Sad ending though..


    "there are people in the world so hungry that God can not appear to them except in the form of bread"

    Mahatma Gandhi

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    On the flip side lie people like Robert Jordan and even Charles Dickens who can't portray a female character without submitting to the most blatant cliches.

    Personally I always liked Harper Lee's portrayel of Atticus and his son.
    Last edited by EAP; 10-31-2004 at 11:28 AM. Reason: Spelling Correction

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    Odd how this thread came to my mind earlier today, and, from my previous entry, I realized I forgot to mention Harper Lee's portrayal of males in To Kill A Mockingbird, and especially the development with age of character.

  12. #12
    I thin that the porttraits of the women in The hours by Michael Cunningham are some of the most complex ones I have read. For me, the theme about the conflicts between the needs and demands from others and the characters own wishes and needs are written in a gender role perspective, without preaching, whitout simplifying.

    Another writer who actually made me think "How can he know this? How can a man know this " is actually Stephen King. In a book called Geralds game he describes, among other things , a bad relationship between a man and a woman in a almost disturbingly accurate detail . I have never read a relationship described like this before. In the book you can follow her growing awarness of her own strength, and why she has not been aware before. ( It is a horror story as well, of course. Well, mostly a horror story)

    I have had a soft spot for Stephen King has been after the first page in the book Rose Madder. He starts with qouting Sigmund Freud , when Freud says that he has never found out what women really want. King answers the question by quoting Aretha Franklin:

    " R-E-S-P-E-C-T
    find out what that means to me"
    "Man was made for joy and woe;
    And when this we rightly know
    Through the world we safely go" Blake

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    Quote Originally Posted by mono
    Odd how this thread came to my mind earlier today, and, from my previous entry, I realized I forgot to mention Harper Lee's portrayal of males in To Kill A Mockingbird, and especially the development with age of character.
    Haper Lee is just a master of characterization in general. Scout is one of my favorite and most lovable characters.

    With regards to encompassing the oposite sex, I think Judith Guest does a masterful job of narrating/ characterizing the father, the son and the father-son relationship in Ordinary People.

  14. #14
    L'artiste est morte crisaor's Avatar
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    Oops, I forgot about Mary Shelley. Rectified.
    Ningún hombre llega a ser lo que es por lo que escribe, sino por lo que lee.
    - Jorge Luis Borges

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    Suzerain of Cost&Caution SleepyWitch's Avatar
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    Ruth in John Irving's A Widow for one Year is really good ... but he's got a very weird way of characterizing people...

    a friend of mine keeps telling me that she can identify Thomas Hardy's women characters...

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