This particular line of hers: ‘There’s no shame in a protagonist having to rely on others for support, regardless of their company’s sex’ really resonated with me and got me thinking.
You see, if you are a little bit like me, you may be more than happy to help others but may find it quite difficult to ask for help.
Asking for help makes me vulnerable. I am exposed when I admit that I can’t do it alone. I cannot predict or control the outcome whilst being vulnerable – I don’t know how I am going to be perceived. My ego hates it. But equally when I am being vulnerable, I create connections with others. Something my heart craves. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my inner turmoil! 😉
Back to my original thought before I digress too much. There tend to be two extremes in books:
- Characters waiting for their heroes / heroines to rescue them.
- Kick-ass heroes / heroines that just like to do everything alone and don’t need or ask for help.
I know I’m generalising and that it is not always true. It’s just I have read plenty of books that had one or the other of those two themes.
But then there is also the ‘I need help, but I don’t know how to ask for it’ example.
Let’s have a look at the J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.
In the movie version of the book, Frodo says: “I’ll take the Ring, though I do not know the way”. He is hinting he needs help, but he doesn’t ask for it directly.
Side note: this is when I usually start crying whilst watching this movie…
Frodo is this gentle and brave hobbit, who wants to help others but finds it difficult to ask for help directly.
And trust me, he is not the only one.
The problem with not being able to ask for help is that others may not know you need it. The amount of times I nearly held a grudge because somebody clearly did not read my mind! 😊😊😊
I think ‘asking for help’ is being more represented in children’s books. Fortunately children don’t see asking for help as weakness. Maybe that’s why I love so many children’s books as they are full of possibilities adults no longer believe.
I agree with Kelly’s point.
I think it’s extremely important to start seeing ‘asking for help’ as acceptable via creating vulnerable characters. As my favourite researcher, Dr Brené Brown, says: “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”
We have done nearly a 180 degree turn from the ‘damsel in distress‘ to ‘I don’t need anybody’s help’ messaging. It can certainly help me relating to characters, but does it serve me?
What do you think?
I would love to hear you opinions. It’s completely OK to disagree with my opinions by the way. 😊