Last week I wrote about information dumps, offering sketches of Valencia, Brad, and Joan.
You might have noticed that all three fit the antihero characterization. They aren’t the type of people most of us would seek to spend much time with in real life. So why should they be in a book, particularly as main characters?
According to Dictionary.com, an antihero is:
a protagonist who lacks the attributes that make a heroic figure, as nobility of mind and spirit, a life or attitude marked by action or purpose, and the like
Admittedly, most Christian novels and Christian romance novels don’t focus on antiheroes. But if you have decided to create an anti-hero, why would your reader want to stick with your story?
Most likely, your reader knows someone in real life who reminds him of the antihero. Haven’t we all met the braggart, the narcissist, or worse? Here is what I think a reader might be trying to learn through fiction featuring an antihero:
- How the antihero thinks and why he acts as he does. Through fiction, readers can get a glimpse into why some people are not pleasant, and come away with understanding.
- How characters around the antihero respond and react. Are these methods and choices successful? How can the reader apply them to her own life?
- To live a revenge fantasy. Wouldn’t it be nice to see a villain get his comeuppance? Even when the reader is obedient to the Lord in real life by not exacting revenge, seeing a fictional antihero fail can offer an emotional release.
- Witnessing an antihero’s redemption. What methods do the characters around the antihero use to help him become a better person? What works? What doesn’t?
- God’s role in the characters’ lives makes a difference. Can they see God at work?
These are only a few reasons I think some readers enjoy reading books with antiheroes. I’m sure you have ideas of your own!
Do you like books with antiheroes? Why?
What is the best book you’ve read featuring an antihero?