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Friday, March 21, 2008

On "A Walk to Remember", and Tragedies in Pop-Culture

Usually I have a problem with tragedies, because they seem to be manipulating the readers' emotions to bring out the tears, and convey the image of a great book. Shelley uttered, "Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought", and everybody else promptly got a formula for success. Of course every book manipulates the emotions, the problem with some tragedies is that they are also brazenly in-your-face about it. I find it a cheap trick to let one of the lead characters die at the end of the story, when keeping the character alive wouldn't have detracted anything from the story (my only grudge against Sholay, and suchlike).
Fortunately, Sparks' book needs Jamie to die; for how else is one to explain her peculiar devotion, her resolute miss-goody-two-shoes-ism? (Wow to me for that word!) One can feel that Sparks is tugging at one's hearts; that with the portrayal of excessive innocence on Jamie's part, he is setting the reader up for a crushing blow at the end. However, the cynical and suspecting reader is still not alienated and that is where the magic of Sparks lies.

[Prompted by Aparna's thoughts on the same book]


felicity said...

It is not just the tragedies that manipulate the readers' emotions drama do that to, so does comedies,but of course everyone loves a good laugh, so no questions there. But about books, dont you think that its better sometimes for characters to die coz their significance is lost or maybe sometimes if the characters live they become cleashade like ordinary people in ordinary lives. But then again, books are all about ordinary people under extra-ordinary circumstances.

Puranjoy said...

Erm, that was my whole point. Tragedies that are in-your-face in their attempt at being tragic. And I am not talking about the death of insignificant/"cliched" characters, rather the main charaters.

I like the last line of that comment.