Discussion Empathy with fiction characters

Discussion in 'Novel Discussion' started by SleepyTy, Jul 13, 2021.

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Do you empathize with fictional characters?

  1. Yes, I do.

    20 vote(s)
    51.3%
  2. No, I don't.

    2 vote(s)
    5.1%
  3. Only anime characters.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Only novel characters.

    1 vote(s)
    2.6%
  5. I do very heavily.

    6 vote(s)
    15.4%
  6. I only occasionally empathize.

    8 vote(s)
    20.5%
  7. If based on a person's real experiences(loosely or not), I would.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  8. None of the above.

    2 vote(s)
    5.1%
  1. SleepyTy

    SleepyTy Well-Known Member

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    I wasn't real sure what to name this, so I'll just go with that.

    Anywho, I recently thought back to a conversation me and my friend had. I have a friend who doesn't understand how people can get emotional with novel characters. He has gotten emotional watching anime, but he doesn't find books appealing and doesn't seem to think he would get affected by words in a book.

    I'm sure there are many people who are the same, whether they have read novels and they never affected them, or they just haven't tried.

    He seemed to disdain the fact that I get emotional while reading. I for one treat fictional characters as real people, whether it's a novel, manga or anime.

    I think of it this way: if I was reading about a real human who once lived, and cried while reading about that person, because this is a person with human emotions that had to go though whatever made me distressed. Now let say you then put a completely fictional character in the same position, who, although technically doesn't exist and is just words on a screen(or page) written(or typed) by some person, I would still cry. I can't stay indifferent just because I'm only reading words.

    I can also put the suffering of a fictional character onto a real human, and think about how that person would feel. Authors create these people, and they become real in the reader's eyes (and the authors I'm sure). Even if you can only use your imagination to see that person.

    This is why, when my friends talk about the fact that they love some villian that did horrible things in an anime and say they like him because hes good looking, I cant help but get irritated. I understand the fact that if it was a real person who did the same horrible think, they wouldn't think this way, but because of the the way I see fictional characters I just cant help but want to say something about it, I treat these characters like real people and cant stand it.

    Anyway, the real point of this discussion is to ask this:
    How far does your empathy with fictional characters go?
    Do you find anime characters easier to empathize with rather than novel characters?
    Do you find that the reason you empathize with fictional characters being related to person experiences?

    I kinda found it difficult to express my opinion in words, so if some of this doesn't make sense I'm sorry, I dont really have a way with words. Lol.

    Randomly added the poll outa curiosity, you can ignore it if you'd like.

    This is a little longer than I thought, my bad.
     
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  2. Lissi

    Lissi 『Queen of Lissidom』『Holy Chibi』『Western Birdy』『⚓』

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    I empathize so much with novel characters!!! Especially if it's well-written, and I can really feel the character's thoughts and emotions. I can sort of imagine their lives and place myself in their shoes. I've spent days crying over sad character deaths and failed romances and such.

    I do, however, understand finding it harder to feel that kind of connection with novels than with anime. With anime, I mean... you can see sparkly smiles and tearful sobs and you can hear the sorrowful wailing; you don't have to rely on your imagination to conjure up the scene, you know? And I think that makes it easier to empathize on the whole.
     
  3. Mr Popo

    Mr Popo Best one after the almighty and his prophet

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    How much empathy people show varies as people don't have the same amount of it (because of values, personal experiences, beliefs and such things), however, depending, on the story (plot) some authors can bring out that empathy in readers better than others, so, the issue here is that you need to find the right work for your friend (you might want t start by making your friend read some books/novels in your case)
     
  4. BigBadBoi

    BigBadBoi Well-Known Member

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    You have never heard of ted bundy apparently
     
  5. Gandire Alea

    Gandire Alea [Wicked Awesome Translator]

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    Of course, I go through a journey with them. The things they go through are relatable to various degrees.

    To not feel anything towards them would mean you don't care at all.
     
  6. Goblin Sleuth

    Goblin Sleuth Well-Known Member

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    You're friend might sound like a weirdo, but it's not really his fault. To be able to enjoy reading you need to have a proactive imagination. The ability to turn the words into something real. Some people simple never got into reading outside of school or work. I believe it is one of those things you need to develop at a young age, or you don't develop it at all.

    At least you're friend is still capable of empathy since they do get emotional watching anime, so there's that. In any case don't try to force the issue with them. It is like how there are sounds in other languages that you can never hear unless you grew up speaking those languages. You can pressure him into reading, but he will not be able to transform the words with his imagination as you or I would.
     
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  7. Night Phoenix

    Night Phoenix The *Eccentric* Person

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    I'm the opposite of your friend, I can't empathize with anime. It's mostly due to the fact I find anime wayyy too cringey and just.. bad, I can't empathize. Though, to be honest, I can't even empathize with real life people, so it's probably more of a "It's in my imagination, so it's me." Meanwhile, my heart is still in shatters and I feel my heart shudder when I think of it after finishing a really cute story 2 weeks ago.
     
  8. Hazel00

    Hazel00 Highland Knight | From Karsuk

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    Ahahahaha, im the same with above. Some anime is wayy toooo cringey. I just can't.

    Rarely i emphatize, even crying. When i do mostly because the author is just THAT amazing.
     
  9. Saorihirai

    Saorihirai Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I do. Mainly with manga. But I have standards ofc.
     
  10. Juju48

    Juju48 Well-Known Member

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    Our emotional centers don’t distinguish between truth and falsehoods. Humans take all emotional connections as real. It bypasses our logical brain. For those who feel less empathy for fictional characters, they also fell little or no sympathy for real people.
     
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  11. SleepyTy

    SleepyTy Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, in school I would get in trouble for reading to much, so I've always been a book worm, I guess that kinda made me someone with alot of love for novel characters, my empathy grew.

    Yeah I always feel kinda melancholic after finishing any book. I miss the characters way to much.
    Not sure if I even wanna know what he did in this context.
    Haha I empathize very easily, and I love novels that make me cry, so I'm always sobbing while reading.

    As for anime being cringy, just like novels, depends on the anime, I'm more into animes like Attack on Titan, and I've cried reading the manga and watching the anime.(although I'm pretty sure it was only once, due to character death.)
     
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  12. Despapa69

    Despapa69 Revered 17 Syllable Sage

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    Hmm, a good question. I don't really feel empathy for fictional characters cause my mindset has always been, it's just a fictional story.

    It's not that I don't think about the character's circumstances but I just unable to connect with them and feel empathy.

    I could be reading a story about a character I really feel sad for but when I learn that it's fiction, I just feel 'Damn, that's a sad story lol.'

    Even it stories that are not fictional, I also don’t usually express empathy. Not because that I don't relate or don't understand what they're going through, it's mainly because of the sense of foreignity cause you don't really know them you know. You're total strangers.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2021
  13. keialpha

    keialpha Well-Known Member

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    A major difference between stories and reality is that stories have authors who are trying to influence your emotions through the words.
    For some emotions like surprises, I am willing to let the author to manipulate them. For some other emotions, like rage, I am very guarded if authors are trying to generate that through writing.
    If you cry at a story, is the story good, or just the author trying to manipulate you with cheap tricks.
    When you hear a political ad, or a sales pitch, are you guarded emotionally or trying to get into that story as well?
    Not getting emotional at a particular type of stories could just be a distrust of certain type of emotions due to rampant manipulations.
     
  14. Mnotia

    Mnotia The Trash Man

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    • I can't really have empathy for a character since ya know...theyre characters but that doesnt mean my heart strings dont get pulled.
    • No, cartoons are fucking cartoons that have a implemented idea of what they should look like while novel characters can be imagined to look like a irl person.
    • Also, maybe. In my childhood I read this book that essentially told the story of a fictional dudes shitty childhood and how that did shit to him in this fictional world. Kinda felt like "Oh shit. That could be me". I've started to make sure I cant find any relation between a character and myself.
     
  15. grass_is_tasty

    grass_is_tasty Grass is more than just weed.

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    No joke, I cried while reading Anne Frank's wikipedia page. I guess it was a bad choice to do so after finishing her diary.
     
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  16. Despapa69

    Despapa69 Revered 17 Syllable Sage

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    Anne Frank has been memed so much I can't feel anything anymore.
     
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  17. Reack

    Reack Well-Known Member

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    I empathize many with the characters, whether they are anime or novels, it is not difficult for me when it is a novel I can see their faces and expressions, the setting and so on. The only difference that I find to the anime and the novel for me is that the anime has background music hahaha
     
  18. grass_is_tasty

    grass_is_tasty Grass is more than just weed.

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    Sometimes I don't know whether to love or hate the internet.
     
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  19. BigBadBoi

    BigBadBoi Well-Known Member

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    serial killer rapist. Girls love him for some reason despite that fact.
     
  20. grass_is_tasty

    grass_is_tasty Grass is more than just weed.

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    He was apparently hot. I assume that's the same reason people love the real life yandere girl.