In Hurston’s “How It Feels to Be Colored Me” we read a powerful character who has reckoned with her environment in a rather unique matter. In outlining the many sickening acts of racism she has faced throughout her entire life, Hurston writes “I do not weep at the world–I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife” and “Someone is always at my elbow reminding me I am the granddaughter of slaves. It fails to register depression with me.” Both of these lines serve to create Hurston as a vivid character, simultaneously outlining her quirks and captivating readers, effectively convincing them of her worth.
In Lopate’s “On the Necessity of Turning Oneself into a Character” we are told at length of the various angles from which a writer must consider his or herself in order to become a captivating character in their own writing. A large part of this is his reinforcement of the necessity to be a complex character, one who is equally self-aware of both strengths and flaws, who can laugh at oneself in times of great sorrow, who can paint an overall honest picture. To me, Lopate’s line, “And it’s in having made the wrong choice, curiously enough, that we are made all the more aware of our freedom and potential for humanity.” perhaps most eloquently outlines the benefit of being a fallible character on paper, something which I am unsure I’d fully accepted prior to my reading.