Since I’ve been reading I decided to read some of my favorite books-following a suggestion I read somewhere-to see why I like them so much and what is the author doing right.
I’m reading Thomas Hardy‘s Tess of the D’Urbervilles and I realized I just loathe Angel Clare. I hate him, hate him, hate him. He’s an hypocritical bigot that chastises and abandons his wife for something he has done himself and when he comes back years later acts as she has to take him back just because.
I think Hardy made a great characterization. We believe he’s the open-minded man Tess needs in her life and he turns out to be a total jerk. We should expect that from Alec D’Urberville, I mean, he IS the bad guy, but Angel a jerk? With such a name? This character is one of Hardy’s most brilliant achievements. The name throw us completely out, his first actions make us believe his is one way, and out of the blue he puts his name to shame. And when he comes back he ruins Tess’ life. (To be fair it was already ruined by Alec who is the real bad guy. Poor Tess didn’t stand a chance.)
This is one of the kind of characters I want to write, one that creates mix emotions in readers even if they end up hating them with a passion.