Literary Devices from A to Z – Brought to you by the letter P




is for Protagonist




A protagonist is the main character in a story. S/he may be cast as hero or anti-hero.

I tend to cast my protagonists in the role of narrator in my stories, often telling different chapters from different perspectives. As a result, it may be argued I have multiple protagonists, each of their stories important for the reader’s enjoyment of the piece.

In Chicken or Egg: A Love Story, there are 3 protagonists. Paula is the traditional hero type, trying to figure out what’s happening in her life in order to restore order to it. Nigel is the anti-hero. Cast as a traditional villain-type, he is the main orchestrator of the conflict. Sometimes hero, sometimes villain, sometimes love interest for Paula and foil and pawn for Nigel, the jury is out on Daniel’s main role. Whatever his function, the reader is meant to feel pathos (another P-word meaning to evoke emotion–usually pity or sadness–for a character in a literary work) for all three characters.

Where do you stand on the role of the protagonist in the stories you read? Do you prefer them to be hero, anti-hero, or a little bit of both? Weigh in with your opinions in the comments section below.

5 thoughts on “Literary Devices from A to Z – Brought to you by the letter P

  1. Laurel Garver

    I enjoy stories where the protagonist is his or her own worst enemy–so Bildungsroman types I guess, where an immature or flawed character changes and grows. It’s somewhere on the anti hero spectrum I guess.

    Nice to meet you through the A-Z
    Laurel’s Leaves

    1. admin Post author

      Those can be the most interesting. The recent surge in stories with anti-heroes makes for a quite interesting read/watch.

    1. admin Post author

      I find I’m drawn to anti-heroes lately–Hannibal, The Following, Fargo, Breaking Bad–it seems that rooting for “the bad guy” can make for a much more interesting narrative.

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