Unlikeable Characters in Fiction

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I am a big fan of unlikable characters in fiction. Personally, I believe if an author makes me feel something towards any of the characters they have done their job. Unlikable characters often go on to be the most memorable. Think about it.


One reason Young Adult is one of my absolutely favorite movies is because Mavis is reprehensible . She is an awful person and someone you do want to be associated with. Mavis I feel is completely self aware but so repressed is her humanity that it is impossible for her to turn back. We as the audience do not root for her and some may claim to find her not relatable but is that truly the case? Do we not see ourselves in some of the actions she displays? I think that is something to think about. I also like that she never redeems herself even at the end when she has a chance too, she does not automatically change because of the consequences of her actions.

When I see people give their opinions on books or films they have watched and their complaint is that they found a particular character unlikable, it is a weak argument. I do not see how that is a bad thing. Writers and film makers do not owe it to the audience to write likeable characters.
The character made you feel immense dislike/hate, that is wonderful! I think deeply flawed characters are interesting, you may not like them but you want to know them. What makes them behave this way?

Anyway whether or not we see something we hate about ourselves in unlikable characters, I feel literature is supposed to be an extension of ourself. By that I mean it is meant to make you see beyond yourself.You are supposed to learn to see things differently and see how far some people are from what you can relate to.I mean if it makes you uncomfortable what these characters do, you are feeling something. You are becoming aware.This awareness makes us question ourselves and our humanity. Digging deeper and all that good stuff. Not all characters are meant to be role models…what would be the fun in that? I don’t think characters have to be likeable and as I mentioned before I do not have a problem with likeable characters; I feel characters have to be compelling. I do not have to like them but I would want to get inside their head so I can find out their motivations, what makes them tick.

Basically I want literature to “provoke something” (totally stole that) and unlikable characters do that for me.
If anyone has any recommendations of unlikable characters in fiction, please recommend..including tv shows, films, books thanks or just recommendations in general. Also who’s your favorite unlikeable character or if you don’t have one who is your favorite character in general and why?

Till next time! x

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4 thoughts on “Unlikeable Characters in Fiction

  1. I still haven’t seen this, but you definitely make me want to see it even more. I adore Diablo Cody, so I need to get on this. PS. Your blog design is ADORABLE – I love it.

  2. I have to agree. Young Adult is one of my favorite movies too and I can totally relate with Mavis’ character. I also love the fact that the character has no real arc and is basically “unchanged” by the end of the film. It’s a very underrated film I’ll never get tired of recommending!

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