More on oomph
Posted by Linden on May 03, 1998 at 18:30:22:
In response to What is oomphiness?, written by Kay on May 03, 1998 at 10:47:45
] I'm going to have problems until we define what oomphiness is. My sense is that an "oomphy" hero is one who captivates and engages the reader viscerally and includes an element of sexuality.
] ... in "Middlemarch" by George Eliot, I find no sign of "oomphy" characters -especially- Ladislaw.
I really hope the answer is not entirely subjective (though it partly is), which is why I raised the question. A couple more thoughts:
1. I think that part of oomph in a hero is being prepared to suffer. That's what gives Darcy, Rochester and Heathcliff their oomph for a female audience: they go through hell for the women they love.
2. Many of our heroes appeal to a male audience as well: men were snuffling all the way through "Brave Heart", and an earlier generation of men snuffled as Sidney Carton ascended the guillotine saying "It's a far, far better thing". It can't be just sexual attraction. Mel Gibson and Dirk Bogarde, who played the parts, were attractive enough for men to want to identify with, so there may be something in that. However, a lot of fathers who took their kids to see the recent Disney "Hunchback of Notre Dame" were gulping a bit. Maybe men admire heroes who do whatta man's gotta do.
3. I wonder how much, or even whether, an authoress needs to be in love with her hero. I agree with you about Ladsilaw in "Middlemarch" - he's a pillock - and I've always thought it's because George Eliot was out of control about him: she loved him, but didn't manage to get it across to her readers.
- ... and a certain air... Constanza 12:16:32 5/05/98 (4)
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