Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Amy March

   She displays blonde curls, elegantly white skin, and "that indescribable charm called grace". She is selfish, affected. She becomes gracious, tender.
   I agree wholeheartedly with Rick Perry--Amy March is the best character in Little Women, and that's why I decided to do my first character sketch on her. (To read in full what I think of the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, click here.)
   I just gave you a grasp of her appearance, but for those of you who don't know her better than that, she has a rather unsatisfactory nose (which has induced her to where a clothesline clip on it during the night) and not the shapeliest mouth in the world. Obviously, she is very concerned with her appearance--selfish and affected, as I stated above. She cannot say her Latin correctly, is beautifully artistic (though not brilliantly so), and has little discipline when it comes to school affairs. As the book progresses and time passes, you watch Amy grow from a priggish little woman to a kind, socially superior lady in every respect. She mourns over the fact that her artistic "talent isn't genius, and you can't make it so." But she intends, purposefully, to do what she can with that talent instead of discarding it in pettiness, as some of us are wont to do.
   Is she a masterfully welded character? She appears a trifle too perfect, as are most of the characters in Little Women, but Alcott trumps them up with trials specific to them, which is an excellent thing that writers can learn from. Indeed, I'm not trying to recommend her to you so that you read the book (although I think all girls should read it!); I want this to be an educational experience where young writers learn from those already published, to see what they did right--and wrong. After all, the character is one of the biggest parts of a story. Even if the plot is fantastic and the descriptions superb, an unidentifiable character will ruin it. Amy is identifiable to almost all diagonals: She is beautiful, yet she remains unsatisfied with certain features. (Which goes to show, ladies, that no matter how thin you are, no matter how perfect your skin, no matter how glossy your hair, your appearance can never completely satisfy you. Which I probably shouldn't say, because I haven't learned to live that out yet. At all.) She is gracious, yet slightly unfeeling; socially kind, but prone to want luxury instead of true love.
   I can't offer professional advice since I'm certainly not published. In fact, I've never actually finished a book, which makes me ashamed in front of my readers! But this is the advice that I glean from Amy: Don't let your characters be too perfect, but instead of taking away their virtues, counteract them with very human faults which are the downfall of all of us.

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