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  1. godsandgenerals4ever
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    godsandgenerals4ever Member

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    Rebellious "I've had enough!" Fiction

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by godsandgenerals4ever, Sep 15, 2011.

    So far in my reading, the only novel that has a clear-cut case of a character who finally snaps, says to the world "I've had enough!" and furiously attacks whatever person or thing is persecuting them is David Morrel's First Blood. In fact, I cannot think of anything beyond an action/adventure novel where the protagonist becomes so infuriated violence is resorted to in order to purge the injustice they've suffered. (David Morrel's novelization of the action flick "Rambo: First Blood Part 2" being a good example. I discount J.D. Salinger's The Catcher In The Rye from this category because of how anti-climactic, essay-like the story is.)
    Why do so many "literary" works of fiction that deal with a persecuted subject (for example, an abused person) always seem to shy away from a violente resolution. Are they afraid of being tagged as something "genre" or something?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    More likely the stories are rejected as shallow.

    It's like the old news reporter's saying: "Dog bites man, that's not news. Man bites dog, that's news." Responding to violence with violence isn't much of a story, it's the same old same old.

    Of course, a story concept is trivial. If someone writes the "Violence begets violence" story with compelling characters and sharp writing, it can succeed. But most writers have much more interesting stories to tell.
     
  3. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    There wasn't a drastic violent outlash, but a good story about someone being pushed to their limit and then pushing back is "Twisted" by Laurie Halse Anderson. Also, "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton is a good one.
     
  4. JackElliott
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    JackElliott Senior Member

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    Perhaps because violence as a resolution isn't quite as interesting as the aftermath and its effects on the characters and world of the story.
     
  5. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, perhaps? Lisbeth Salander is pretty pushed and she gets back at her intimidators.
     
  6. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    I dunno, if you look at Shakespeare, you'll see lots of violence there.

    And plus, there's many more ways to resist than just throwing punches or screaming at people. There are such things as "passive" violence too. For instance:

    - a businessman somehow manipulates the market, local authorities, or some other thing to bring down his rival's business
    - a formerly amiable and low-key politician puts a rival politician through some scandal
    - quietly smiling while planning how to make the life of the person you hate miserable, so maybe doing things like scamming them or something

    etc. etc. etc.
     
  7. CULLEN DORN
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    CULLEN DORN Member

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    Shakespeare's Hamlet: "To be or not to be," pretty much gives one two sets of actions to be taken.
    Either way it is a suggestion for violence in some degree to stabilize the kinetic of forceful party.
     
  8. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Well, from my limited understanding, a story about how many ways a hero can kill his/her tormenters gets very old and tiring. It's just violence for violence's sake. No one learns anything, nothing is obtained and the only excuse the hero has is vengeance. There's no consequences, nothing.

    To use your abused person example, which would you rather read:

    #1- A story where the abused person snaps and the story is about the carnage that ensues?

    #2- A story where the abused person snaps and the story is about the consequences and how it affects the people involved? Where we see how this affects the abused person and examines whether or not this was a good idea? It also examines whether or not the people the abused person lashed out against deserved it? Where it offers a potential thought of, "Both sides were wrong and here is why." Deep, complicated, makes you think?

    I'd much rather read the second one.

    Plus, as cybr said, there are much more delicious ways a person can have vengeance that doesn't involve sheer, brute force.
     
  9. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Violence just isn't that interesting. Somebody's mean to Person, Person gets upset, Person gets violent - there's nothing new or interesting about that; it's a pretty obvious outcome. It may be realistic, but realism isn't necessarily interesting.

    (Though I wouldn't say that it's all that rare, either. Are you demanding literary rather than popular fiction? In popular fiction, I immediately think of _Carrie_, and no doubt there are many, many others that don't immediately come to mind.)

    ChickenFreak
     
  10. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    I don't know so much in the literary world, but in the movie world vengeance sells. There's always the punisher, good because of the clever way in which his vengeance is carried out. The first Conan movie is about vengeance pure and simple. And of course Roald Dahl wrote an excellent story about a woman's revenge. And if you're into French cinema, there's Jean de Florette's sequel Manon of the Spring which is almost soap opera revenge.

    Maybe the books you've mention shy away fromthe idea of a violent revenge theme because they feel it is too primitive, not seemly. My thought would be that if you do it right a story of vengeance could be excellent. It wants to be clever, and well thought out and maybe even in the end, just. If on the other hand you want to write a story about a victim picking up a hammer and smashing his abusers head in blow by blow, maybe its not such a great tale. I suppose it would be much the same as the difference between writing a romance novel and a hard core porn novel.

    Cheers.
     
  11. tiggertaebo
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    tiggertaebo Member

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    Not sure if it helps but Carrie is probably an example of what your looking for.
     
  12. godsandgenerals4ever
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    godsandgenerals4ever Member

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    God no, not Carrie. More like First Blood, Part II is what I was thinking; the genuinely guilty getting their just desserts.
    I'll grant one can even the score in a story without any thrown punches or anything, sure. Micheal Clayton is an excellent example.
     
  13. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, _death_ for the crime of recreationally tormenting your peers is certainly an excessive punishment, and if that were the penalty the population of most junior high school classes would be cut by a large percentage. But all the same, I always felt that Carrie's tormenters were genuinely guilty.

    ChickenFreak
     
  14. Birmingham
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    Birmingham Active Member

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    I've read some of the posts, and it made me think about a movie I watched the other night. Get this movie and watch it! It's called "The Secret In Their Eyes". Even if you don't know Spanish and hate watching stuff with subtitles, you gotta watch this Spanish-Argentinian coproduction. It deals with the issues of violence, vengeance, etc.

    ATTENTION: Two-three scenes are extremely graphic but extremely short (two-three seconds each, I think) but by the time the movie ended I realized they were necessary and important. You must watch this movie (or read the novel it's based on).
     
  15. Birmingham
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    Birmingham Active Member

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    Cogito, you're saying that stories about revenge and violence (if I understand you correctly) would be rejected as shallow. Are you saying they ARE shallow or that they'll be perceived as shallow? I ask this because later on you say that if someone writes a violence begets violence type story with compelling characters and sharp ending, it can succeed. Not just a violence story with compelling characters and sharp writing, but specifically one that rejects violence. That's your words, if I understand you correctly.

    I find it strange that you wrote it. Couldn't a pro-revenge novel with compelling characters and sharp writing be successful and deep? You seem to be saying that only novels that reach a specific conclusion can have depth in them.
     
  16. godsandgenerals4ever
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    godsandgenerals4ever Member

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    Coming back to this post with fresh eyes, here was what I was trying to get at in my intial post: why couldn't a storyteller plunk one sympathetic character amdist a sea of unsympathetics, chief of whom is an abusive tormentor whom the other unsympathetics bury their heads in the sand about or refuse to believe the evil of said character. Finally, the sympathetic character tosses every so-called "civilized" taboo about the use physical force to the wind in a kind of "Forgive me Father" moment and charges into the unsympathetic's midst using his fists and improvised weapons in a gun-less version of the final shootout in The Wild Bunch, albiet one where said sympathetic character does not lose, nor does he fight to kill, just thrash some hind end but good.
    Again, I wasn't talking about the likes of Carrie. It's denouement left me depressed and even ticked off at wasting my time on such a bleak tale. I should have watched The Wild Bunch instead. Far, far more justification for the bleak in that one, a tale of an outlaw gang past their prime years with the old west they knew and loved dearly going away quick and fast (the movie is set in 1913 on the U.S./Mexican border) and hounded by a posse led, ironically enough, by a former gang member released from jail on condition he help said posse formed by a railway owner hunt his old friends down. Old friends who wind up getting mixed up with a sleazy Mexican general and ... well, this breakout film by the legendary Sam Peckinpath is nothing short of brilliant, and a good example of how a story can be sharp and compelling even though violence is an emotional undercurrent and recurrent event.
     
  17. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Sounds like something you could find in just about any middle school.

    Ah, the dream of every fifth-grader who's ever been bullied. And that's the point - your idea would be emotionally satisfying on a very immature level. Having been bullied as a fifth-grader, I now know that life is a lot more complicated than that, and that, as miserable as I was then, I wouldn't trade my life for those of any of the thugs who tormented me. To put it another way, the tormentors usually torment someone by whom they feel threatened, someone who has some talent or ability that they do not have. Having the victim strike back with violence is an admission by the victim that (s)he values the strengths of the violent more than his/her own gifts (intellectual ability, for example).
     

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