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Tuesday, 21 April 2015


More or Mirrors and Mirroring

These are pictures of mirror neurones which are the ways in which the brain 'feels into' someone else, and so they allow for such things as sympathy, empathy, identifying with.

It's claimed that people with autism lack these neurones and so that lack insight into other people's feelings.

We often connect the ability to 'understand' another person with imagination, and often when we admire a writer's characterisation it's this kind of insight she we're thinking of.   Also, when we watch a drama a read a novel we at least to some degree take on their worries and joys ourselves.

Some people connect romantic love with the ability to 'enter the soul' of the other in a similar way.   

Many writers on 'the self' have argued (or at least asserted) that the self is a kind of mirror of people and things and events around us. We become a kind of 'reflection' of mother or father or of prominent ideas in the life around us.  Of course we may reflect mother and father or society in a particular way,  perhaps in a distorted way,  perhaps in a completely reversed way.

How, then, does a writer manage create 'sympathic' characters which we feel are 'almost real'?    

Should we perhaps spend more time thinking about how to express the strong feelings of our characters?    Why does that strike us as so difficult to do?

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