Is violence crucial in the way literary characters develop self-identity?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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There are certain subgenres of literature in which (usually male) characters develop a sense of identity by their reaction to physical vio9lence. For example, in the classic cowboy or western novel or film, their is often a climactic momement of violent confrontation in which the hero proves himself "a man" by physical bravery. Although this trope appears in some more literary authors (Hemingway, for example), it is far from universal. Many great authors of fiction, drama, and poetry, of both genders, show the evolution of character by means of internal psychological development or moral courage. Henry James, Anthony Trollope, William Thackeray, George Bernard Shaw, Jane Austen, Virgina Woolf, James Joyce, George Eliot and Gustave Flaubert are among the major writers who rarely portray violence.


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