Saturday, 11 April 2015

A to Z Challenge 2015 - Emotions & Reactions - J is for Judgement (writing discussion & fiction)

A to Z Challenge 2015 - Emotions & Reactions









This year for the A to Z Challenge, I'm investigating emotions and reactions and their use to in writing. So, I'll be talking about my first thoughts as a writer when I think about the words we use to describe emotions and my experience of their use in literature.

judgement
judgement: the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions / a misfortune or calamity viewed as a divine punishment.

As you can see, there are two very different approaches to judgement. Although good judgement is a very useful skill to have, that's not what I'm interested in today. Today, I'm looking at the second definition, when people are labelled for their failures, judged to be being punished by Fate, or whatever deity is concerned. This kind of judgement has a little brother in the form of the way we judge others in our own lives, weighing their behaviour against our own standards and finding them wanting.

We judge people all the time, and we are encouraged to do some, sometimes seriously, sometimes frivolously. How many times have we glanced at the headlines of a trashy magazine at the checkout and seen a star being judged for looking scruffy, or too fat, or too thin. How many times have we read Tumblr and seen a flurry of hate thrown at someone for having a different opinion (and I'm not talking about a decent debate, I'm talking about the slanging matches that will end up with someone calling someone else a XXX Nazi - fill in whatever you like in the XXX, there's probably an example of it somewhere online).

Still, this isn't a post about bad behaviour on the internet, it's about writing, and this kind of judgement has its uses. This type of attitude is used all the time, by all sorts of groups, to exclude, and, sometimes worse, to include, to approve and encourage someone's behaviour to follow the clique. Judgement is used all the time in Pride and Prejudice, where social obligations are all important. The worst of these judgmental people is Lady Catherine De Bourgh, the worst kind of snob and a sour, bitter woman, and this is what makes her a great character. A quote that sums her up is:

"Miss Bennet," replied her ladyship, in an angry tone, "you ought to know, that I am not to be trifled with. But however insincere you may choose to be, you shall not find me so. My character has ever been celebrated for its sincerity and frankness, and in a cause of such moment as this, I shall certainly not depart from it."

What an old witch! Yes, I'm judging her! ;)

QUESTION: Name a character you love to loathe because of their judgmental ways.


~

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28 comments:

  1. The first character that comes to mind is Professor Umbridge in Harry Potter. She drove me nuts.

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  2. Going way back to childhood stories and naming that step-mother. Never is the step-mother nice.

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    1. That is true - in fact, she was so nasty that in some stories, she was changed from 'the mother' to the step mother :)

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  3. Judgement can be like the saying, "when you point a finger at me, there are 3 more pointing right back at you." It can lead to lots of conflict and juicy stories :)

    You can find me here:
    ClarabelleRant

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  4. I'd have to say the aunt character in Love Means No Shame. She's a spiteful woman, who spreads lies because her feeling got hurt before her nephew was born. I despise her ways, yet feel sorry for her because she let her own anger control her life.

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    1. Spite is always something I loathe, so I would agree with you - interesting that you have the compassion to feel sorry for her as well, admirable :)

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  5. I can't think of a character I loathe because of their judgmental behavior--but I live in the South, so I can name quite a few people I know in real life who are that way!

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    1. That's a shame, but I think we all know a few people like that :(

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  6. Judgement is good. Judging others...not so much. I can't think of a character I love to loathe for their judgmental ways. Now people in real life is another story. :P

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    1. Yeah - being judgmental is not a characteristic to like in anyone ;P.

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  7. Hmm, the only character I can think of at the moment of being judgmental is Rachel Lynde in Anne of Green Gables. But I'm not actually sure if she's judgmental, or just terribly blunt, haha. Maybe a little bit of both. ;)

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  8. Hi Sophie. cute character icon face for today. Judgement is a necessary wisdom for sure, but off hand I find your question difficult, can't seem to find a character I loathe. You made me laugh about the mannequin yesterday :D
    http://sytiva.blogspot.com/

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  9. I hated a lot of judgmental characters in Betty Smith's Joy in the Morning (the sequel in all but name to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and FAR inferior to that classic). They included Annie's mother, Carl's mother, and Carl's sisters, who were all convinced these two young lovebirds only got married so young and quickly because of a pregnancy. Even after Annie really did get pregnant some months after the marriage, they were still convinced she was only belatedly "confessing." Not only were they judgmental shrews, but also extremely bad at math or ignorant of how long gestation takes in humans!

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    1. Some people will judge even when they have no grounds to do so!

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  10. The thing about judgment is that you can't really talk about it without judging people who judge people... and then it is an endless loop :D But yes, I do cringe from overly judgy (?) people, both in literature and in real life. Probably more so in real life...

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

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  11. In my works, I try to keep it realistic. That means, I may include a character who is judgmental. Not every character in my books is a good person or a kind person. They may be jerks or imperfect in some way.

    Precious Monsters

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    1. That is true, and it is good for even the 'heroes' to have flaws, nobody is perfect.

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  12. The bad kind adds drama and conflict to any story!

    and, yeah, I love to hate Umbridge too.

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  13. That is interesting because we all judge even if we say we hate those who judge. As soon as we see someone, we form an instant opinion based on their clothes, hair, weight, before we exchange a word. Human nature, unfortunately! But some are worse than others and that's where we can create a great villain.

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    1. Yes, we can't help it, can we - I suppose it's what we do with those judgements that counts :)

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