mourn fictional characters

It’s raining where I live in Canada. On this grey morning, I want to talk about something that feels just as dismal as a rainy day.

It has to do with an activity many of us innies love to do most when it’s storming outside: Curl up with a good book and get lost in its pages. The world can writhe and rage all it wants outside our doors. As long as we have our cozy corner and the company of a few fictional friends, we are content.

Why we mourn fictional characters

Unfortunately, fictional characters don’t go past the borders of their books. Reading the last page of a novel marks more than just the end of a great story. It spells the end of several relationships, too.

We form some serious attachments over the course of a book’s hundreds of pages.

We fall in love with the protagonist, who is lovingly tortured by the author in more ways than we can count. We develop a strange attachment to the sadistic writer, who seems to know us better than most of our friends or family. We even feel affection for the villain who shows us that evil can be interesting when worn right.

Do other introverts feel this way?

During Christmas break one year in college I gobbled up all thousand or so pages of Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell. When I plucked the hefty book off the shelf at my school library, I didn’t expect to like it at all. Then I was sucked in by the first sentence:

“Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were.”

I would soon learn why Scarlet was so enticing. The twins never had a chance against her willful charm. Page after page I became more attached to Scarlett and the other characters in the book.

When I reached the final page, I cried. I couldn’t believe it was over. Part of me wanted to dive back into the center of the story so I could reunite with its characters. The other part couldn’t bear the thought of reliving all the tragedy and triumph, especially knowing how it ended.

So, I mourned those fictional characters for the remainder of Christmas break. Whenever I was reminded of them it was like a punch to the gut. It was as if I’d gone through a breakup with a book. It felt more heartbreaking than the end of some of my real relationships.

I felt similarly despondent when I finished reading The Hunger Games Trilogy recently (apparently I still have the psyche of a 19 year-old girl).

I wonder if we introverts mourn fictional characters more than extroverts do?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Do you mourn fictional characters, too? Which book did you get most attached to?

Please share your comments below.

Lots of love,

michalea chung