All literature is a construct. This means it does not depict real life. Everything in literature has a secondary meaning that you, as the reader, are expected to interpret to unlock the author’s hidden message about society, human behaviour, and the human condition. Everything in literature has a significance, a reason for being there.
Take Once Upon A Time’s Rumplestiltskin, for example:
I, Rumplestiltskin am a construct. I am a symbol of how power can corrupt even the most humble of people. As for physical symbols, I have many. I own a pawn shop that holds objects symbolic of the weaknesses of the people in the town. A shawl represents a happier time for me when I had a family and was no more than a coward. I imbued this with magic to help me find my son. I own a dagger with my name on it that is the source and symbol of my power. I embody the theme of good vs. evil. My story is the internal conflict I suffer as I battle my desire to be good and surrounded by people who love me against the thrill using my magic brings. I live in Fairytale Land, a place where the true good is embodied in princesses, princes, fairies, dwarves and true evil is embodied in trolls, evil queens, witches, and giants and magic is real. I take my name from the Rumplestiltskin of fairy tale fame, and my origins are based in that story, but I am so much more than that. I am the trickster. I am the Godfather. I am the everyman, the poor peasant who found himself the most powerful creature in the land and allowed himself to be seduced by it. I have lost my family, and no one really likes me. I am the heartless landlord, the wealthy miser, the lonely curmudgeon, but I also have a human side, one that is lonely, has desires, and wants to belong. I speak in riddles, use certain phrases in my fairytale life that bleed into my every day one. I maintain an accent that hearkens back to my humble roots. I reveal little personal information when I speak as knowledge is power, and in spite of my character flaws, power is what I crave, in spite of myself. Everything about me is a construct, designed to serve a purpose. My legend is vast because my character is diverse (and my actor is so talented) that the authors use me to my potential, writing and re-writing my history whenever they see a reason to further plot, character or theme.
Graphic from http://io9.com/5887438/supercut-every-single-maniacal-laugh-from-once-upon-a-times-rumpelstiltskin
About the Author
Elise Abram, English teacher and former archaeologist, has been writing for as long as she can remember, but it wasn’t until she was asked to teach Writer’s Craft in 2001 that she began to write seriously. Her first novel, THE GUARDIAN was partially published as a Twitter novel a few summers back (and may be accessed at @RKLOGYprof). Nearly ten years after its inception Abram decided it was time to stop shopping around with traditional publication houses and publish PHASE SHIFT on her own.
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