topic: compassion

07 July 2012

[Compassion literally means] "Suffering with" means taking on another's suffering as your own,
a deep kind of understanding and connectedness with another human being. 

Having compassion for people as a whole, for the whole palette of humanity, all of us with all strengths,
our flaws,
our nobility 
and fragility

"Compassion is kindness, forgiveness, and empathy"

-Tom Hiddleston

On Us

Yes.  Compassion is empathy, to feel with another person, and I think it's this quality, along with kindness, that makes someone a better person. I'm working on this...because when I see someone in pain or anxiety...I don't know what to do. I'm not that emotionally stable myself, so I do feel compassion for them, but I don't know how to act upon it sometimes. If I see someone crying, I'll go up and pat his or her back, or if I know him, I'll give him a hug. I really wish I could do more to help people, and I am working on it. How about you?

On Literature:

 It's a quality that I think is overseen in YA Lit. It's understanding someone, and not judging him or her for whatever's been done. I can think of one character that has this spectacular and respectable and mature trait: Jem from The Infernal Devices books by Cassandra Clare. He is my favourite character from that book. For a character in a book to have very human compassion for others is compelling, and makes Jem even more of a beautiful person, despite his fabulous looks (silvery hair and eyes? And naturally too? That's pretty awesome) 

But finding and writing these kind of forgiving characters is a hard thing to do, because it contradicts our instinctive nature. Writing a bully is so easy. He's mean, he curses, and he has a troubled past. When we get hurt, it's easy to blame someone or wish for revenge, but it's hard to forgive. Once, long ago, I remember hearing something along the lines of "forgiveness is the greatest gift" and I live by that. It's part of the reason, or rather more of the reason, why I hate books that are centred around revenge. Where the whole plot is about getting revenge. Sooner or later, the protagonist will realise that's not what he or she wants.

I would like to see more complicated characters in young adult fiction. Not something to just entertain the senses, but the entertain the mind. Right now, on a scale of flat to super dynamic, we're in between. I see some great characters, and then really weak ones. In order to write out that complex of a character, there has to be a good storyline as well, or if it's in a cliche storyline, make it the best.

Compassion is something that needs to be present. I don't enjoy shallow books about revenge. I mean, what lesson, or what message, is that sending to readers? That it's fine to act on revenge to an ex-boyfriend and make his life miserable for breaking up with you? For getting revenge on that super pretty girl that's stolen your boyfriend? A message of forgiveness needs to be heard, you know?

2 thoughts:

  1. This is a really interesting post. There are too many books out at the moment that are just full of selfish & horrible characters. It's like authors have forgotten that people can actually be nice. That's why sometimes I get sick of contemporary books, because the girls in them are just horrible :(

    Enjoyed reading this :)

  2. Still have a way with words Kirthi :D Quite a passionate article and yes, this is definatly true. In almost every book I know there is always one person who tries to get revenge and at the end of the book there was no point at all. Great article :D


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