I'm a big fan of plays and musicals and one common device used is an abstract character that acts as a guide or voices the themes of the story for the audience. Examples include The Masked Man in Spring Awakening, The Emcee in Cabaret or Gabe in Next To Normal. For musicals this device is accepted because the character usually appears during the songs (such as The Emcee) or the theatrical and abstract element of his character is accepted due to the theatrical and abstract nature of musical theatre.With plays, expressionism is usually utilized as the method unto to which to develop these characters so that they don't appear awkward (such as The Masked Man). Basically my question pertains to this allegorical character and how he fits into novels. I was thinking of maybe using a similar device for a story and I can see how it would work on stage. But I'm interested to hear what other writers think about how this kind of character could work in a novel without songs to act as the character's platform or a stage to make it seem more appropriate. Should they interact with other characters? Does the tone of the story have to be drastically altered so that it’s more ‘surreal’ or ‘theatrical’? Are there any examples of these characters in novels? Where does this character fit in the world of fictional novels and short stories? EDIT: Just had a thought...is the closet repilica of these 'emcee' characters in novels a narrator who is detatched from the main action of the story...because if it is the idea intrigues, but I don't mean a character like Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby. I'm thinking more abstract. Also I just realized I probably posted this is the wrong area. If a moderator or admin wants to move it to the Character section, that might be the way to go.