Tuesday, April 5, 2011
I completely disagree with the notion that one's intended literary persona relies upon one's life experience. The ability to listen to facts, comprehend them, and systemize them into logical tenets is all one needs to create a persona- out of thin air; no life experience necessary. As an example, I didn't fight in World War 2. I didn't participate, involuntarily if I had, in the Bataan Death March. I wasn't present at the Battle of the Bulge, nor Stalingrad, nor Dresden, nor Okinawa, nor the flag raising upon Mount Suribachi. I have absolutely zero experience. However, I am learned and educated enough to concoct a persona which could lead a reader to believe I was a Japanese soldier staring at the 1.6 million Soviet troops at the Manchurian border after the United States dropped two atomic bombs on my homeland. I can create the persona of a soldier fighting for Free France; fighting alongside my British, American, and Canadian brethren in an attempt to extinguish the world of the absolute evil which was Nazi Germany. I could create the persona of a helpless Jewish Pole in Auschwitz; despair, death, torture, pain, and sorrow; always pondering escape, the war, the evil who were Goebbels and Himmler, amongst hordes of others. I could portray myself as Eddie Rickenbacker- soaring through the skies of Europe in hopes of finding the next Luftwaffe-designated fighter down which to shoot. It is knowledge that enables us to create a persona; not experience.