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  1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Development (in-character in the story)

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Link the Writer, Feb 21, 2011.

    In my sci-fi novel, there's one character that seems to stand out the most, an orphaned Devonian boy named Kenthew Rennald. Found by protagonist Captain Helen Chert when he was an infant on the streets, Kenthew was pretty much raised like a human child either on Helen's ship or in Helen's apartment back in Atlanta, Georgia. He recieved very little education because her superiors felt it'd be dangerous to let a Devonian boy in a classroom with human students. (Devonians are hot-blooded, aggressive, and have been known to pick fights as a way to deal with their problems.)

    When the story takes place, Kenthew is about seventeen, yet he acts and talks as if he's only nine. In the Devonian homeworld, a person of Kenthew's age should be a fully matured adult and serving in some kind of military role. Mentally, he's supposed to be twenty-five. He is none of that. He has the education of an nine-year-old and acts like one.

    So, I guess my question is: Would you say he was developmentally-challenged? If a human's education was cut off at nine years of age, what would be expected?

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thing is I unschool my children (home educate with no active teaching) - it is very, very hard to stop a child learning. You need more than to cut off formal education they continue to learn and soak up information. My daughter has learned to read and write with very little formal training just be being surrounded by it.
     
  3. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Hmmm...

    Yeah, I'd have to find a way to completely cut him off from education. That will be difficult...
     
  4. -oz
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    -oz Active Member

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    It's easy enough, stick him in front of a tv playing reality shows on a loop....
     
  5. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    hahaha! XD

    But yeah, it just occured to me that I could've thought this topic up a bit better. Basically, he's (as far as he knows) the last Devonian alive until he hears rumors that tell otherwise, yet the humans (and other races) tell him to not return to his home planet. How will that make him feel?
     
  6. -oz
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    -oz Active Member

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    If he's been brainwashed to believe that he's the last Devonian, he should simply believe that. People (even adults) are pretty easy to brainwash, and if that's all he's heard his entire life, that's all he knows. Granted, if he gets access to books and television, his imagination could take off and pretend that there's some lovely lost Devonian girl out there, just waiting for him to rescue her...

    ...but that's just me thinking like a human again. Do Devonians thought processes work differently than Humans? For that matter, is there a physical difference between Devonians and Humans? Could he think that he's human?
     
  7. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Yes, Devonians have the bodies of elves, the horns of a bison, and the paws, feet, and tail of a lion.

    I think that he could suspect he's the last one since no one really talks about them (they vanished and stopped communicating with Earth seventeen years previously because they were invaded by a much more powerful alien race).

    Wait, wouldn't it be too much of a concidence that Helen just happens to find Baby Kenthew and take him off his planet RIGHT when it's about to be invaded? Maybe I can include other Devonians that managed to escape and go into hiding...
     
  8. -oz
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    -oz Active Member

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    Ah, so I see! Devonians had come to Earth much earlier in history and were treated like gods by the Egyptians! (Where else would the sphynx come from?) :p
     
  9. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    It's possible, lol. :p They helped the Egyptians build the pyramids and stuff...then they leave for some reason and never come back until 2022 AD where they re-establish contact. :p

    In 2930 AD, they are invaded and enslaved. In 2945 AD, a little Devonian boy and his Earthling companions are going to take the planet back!
     
  10. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Being cut off from schooling will not make someone stay at the mental age they were when the schooling was cut off. What they would lack in academic learning they'd make up for in other ways. Having plenty of idle time - may make them more rebellious. Maybe they would be street wise.
    I have a friend that can neither read nor write, yet she is more astute than anyone I know.
     
  11. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    How many stories do you have going on right now? hee, hee

    Umm, that is a good question. I think it's easier for some brains to learn things at an earlier stage than at a later one especially considering that our brains sometimes lose a few cohesive capabilities when older.

    Yes and no. He could have problems just writing or even speaking in correct tenses. Your character might show his emotions more than supressing them as a more mature person would do. But then again, having the outwards appearance of a nine year old, he could have the complex thinking of an older person. He would know what's right, wrong, unjust, and whatever else. He could be smarter than he appears.
     
  12. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just adding to this. Intelligence does not equal wisdom. The MC may be illiterate and have primitive mathematical and science skills, but that won't stop him from learning things from his surrounding environment. Nothing short of being mentally retarded will stop him from learning period.

    Here is an example. You could dump your MC in a forest for ten years. He may not learn to read, but he will learn to survive in that forest.
     
  13. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree that it's very hard to stop a child from learning. And you're not just talking about your character lacking in academic learning, but also lacking in basic acquisition of language, social behavior, and everyday coping behaviors. Adults who have never set foot in a classroom, and never read or wrote a single word, still normally communicate, behave, and interact as adults, so a lack of education is insufficient to explain this.

    So you need to not just cut him off from education, but from essentially all interaction with the world. I don't see this happening unless his adoptive father isolated him to an abusive extent - say, kept him locked in a closet for much of the time, for example. Or, alternatively, it could happen if Devonian children require some very specific sort of nurturing that the adoptive father was ignorant of or incapable of providing.

    For example, I've read that children need to interact using language at a specific age, and if they don't, the opportunity to fully develop their language abilities can never be recovered. For this reason, I've read that it's important for deaf children to be taught and encouraged to use sign language - when deaf children are forbidden to use sign language and required to confine their language efforts to lip reading and speaking aloud, learning to do so takes so long that the opportunity to fully develop their language abilities is gone, and cannot be recovered.

    So if it's essential to keep this character childlike, maybe you could figure out some sort of nurturing that a Devonian child requires, that your character's adoptive father, perhaps through no fault of his own, failed to provide. Otherwise, while it's fine for this character to have little academic accomplishment, I don't think that it would be realistic for him to behave as a child. He would grow up learning from, and imitating, the behavior and language of the adults around him, and would function as an adult.

    ChickenFreak
     

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