A Character I Can Relate To

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Have you ever had that realisation while reading a book, that here is a character that you can relate to? As readers, I’m sure there are often parts of a book that we can relate to – it may just be one small thing, but there is usually something. But, have you ever come across a book and been able to personally relate to a character in a way you haven’t experienced while reading a book before? This book for me was Graceling, by Kristin Cashore.

You may wonder: But, this is a fantasy book. It involves Graces… Wait. Do you have a Grace? Do they exist? Okay, you probably wasn’t thinking that Grace part, but even though it does indeed involve a fictional world and people who have certain fictitious abilities, that doesn’t mean you can’t relate to certain parts of the book. For me, it was Katsa. Katsa may be a Graceling – which for those of you who haven’t read the book, this means she was born with a certain skill/ability – but in this book I found a character I could relate to in a way I haven’t before.

I may not be able to relate to Katsa’s fighting abilities (I wish), but I can relate to her on a certain personal level. I can relate to having to deal with a controlling person whose voice you can’t stand hearing – in the book her uncle is the controlling person. The thing that I can really relate to though is her desire to not have children or get married. I admire her conviction in knowing what she wants, or in this case what she doesn’t want. This is what struck a cord with me in Graceling: a book that portrayed a different type of character. A book where it is shown that someone may want something different.

People don’t question Katsa’s fighting skills as a girl because of her Grace, but they question her decision to not want what is expected of females: marriage and children.

“You’re not an unnatural woman, Katsa. You can fight as other women can’t, but you’re not so different from other women. You’ll want babies. I’m certain of it.”

It was refreshing to find a character whom I can relate to on this level. This should be a personal choice and it shouldn’t be assumed that just because you are female that you have to have children and get married. I have heard of instances where a woman says she doesn’t want children and the response was something like: But you’re a woman. This just angers me! I believe all different kinds of people should be represented in literature. We are all different, are we not? We have different desires and this should be represented in the books we read.

Graceling is a tale of a girl who breaks free of a controlling king by taking her life into her own hands by learning to not fear her Grace and what she is capable of. She takes back control by choosing to not kill. She fights for what’s right and I admire that. Read the book, it contains a collection of great characters. I’m glad to have found a character like Katsa.

What about you? What’s that one book that you have been able to really relate to, on some level that you haven’t before?

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11 thoughts on “A Character I Can Relate To

  1. If I’m being perfectly honest, then I’m not sure I’ve ever really, really, REALLY related to. Does that sounds strange? I love plenty of characters, and some even have personality traits that I understand and have myself, but I don’t think I’ve ever connected solely with that one character. But hey — maybe one day!! 🙂

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    1. No, it’s not strange. Theres always been characters that, like you, I like and have similar traits as them, but I hadn’t ever been able to relate to a character, in the particular way that I can with Katsa.

      Hopefully, one day you will find that character 🙂

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  2. Hmm, I’m not sure if this counts, but I did experience such a feeling with one character — the protagonist from The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno. The first couple of chapters about her were so incredibly relatable, it was like she was my twin or something. The author’s writing style (which some found annoying and jagged, but which I thought reflected my thought progression perfectly) only made me feel like Molly must be my spirit character.

    But then as the story unfolded and I found out more about her and her condition, I realized that we were NOTHING alike. The stuff she was going through was nothing like what I was going through, and even though I could still empathize deeply with her emotions and her thoughts, our connection wasn’t as close as before. But still, I guess the feeling of reading about someone who so closely resembled me was nice while it lasted. xD

    I haven’t read Graceling yet, but based on your description of Katsa and what she has to go through, it sounds like I’ll relate to her pretty well, too… in terms of the marriage and kids part, at least. I don’t want to get married either, much less have kids (it sounds awful, but I really, REALLY dislike children; people always give me evil eyes when I tell them that T_T), and I’m glad that you were able to find a kindred heart in someone like her. It’s honestly one of the best feelings in the world when you stumble across someone you can connect to on a whole new level! Makes you feel less alone. ^_^ I’ll definitely be reading the book — soonish, hopefully! Thanks for sharing, Chantelle. 🙂

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    1. It must be frustrating to connect with a character and then have that connection weaken. I suppose we’re never going to relate to a character on every level, but it’s nice when you can relate to something in particular, that you haven’t been able to before with other characters – like you said, it makes you feel less alone. I kind of think this is what Katsa did for me, in relation to not wanting to get married and have kids; it felt good to have a character represent this, and show that someone can want something different.

      It’s so nice to find another person who also doesn’t want the whole marriage and kids ‘thing’ – I only know one other person who doesn’t want kids. It’s not that I’m trying to form some kind of club for people who don’t desire marriage and children, 😀 it’s just nice to talk to someone who understands. (I do think that some people think I will change my mind.) I’m not opposed to the possibility of marriage, I just don’t feel that I need to get married. No, you’re not awful for saying you don’t really like kids. I’m not really comfortable around kids. I have nieces and a little sister, and they’re just about all I can handle. Kids are hard work! It’s a personal choice and people shouldn’t make us feel bad for knowing what we want – or don’t want in this case.

      Thanks so much, Megan, for the comment – I really appreciate it! 🙂 I hope you like Graceling as much as I do, when you get round to reading it.

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  3. I think it is really cool that you found a character that you can completely relate to in every way. Sadly, I haven’t really come across a character like that yet but maybe in the future.

    As well as women who don’t want to get married or don’t want to have kids, then that is perfectly fine by me! Might even be a good thing seeing as we are so overpopulated here xd But I really dislike it when people judge others simply because of them being different from other people. I am strongly against the idea of conformity, so I would be with you on this one!

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  4. I can definitely relate to what you’ve said. At this point in my life, I don’t think I want to have children, and I don’t just mean right now. Maybe I’ll change my mind one day, maybe I won’t. But that should be MY choice. Yet when someone asks me and I tell them, I get all of these weird looks…

    I think I could relate to Elisa from The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Especially in the beginning of the book, she has quite a lot of problems with her body image and her life. It’s hard to explain, but I found her to be so realistic and relatable…

    great post!

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    1. It’s so great to know that other people can relate! I don’t understand why people give weird looks when someone says they don’t want children; why is it so hard to understand that not everyone wishes to have children?!

      I haven’t read The Girl of Fire and Thorns yet; I hope to one day.

      Thanks, Jolien! 🙂

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