Writing is built on relationships. Writing is composed, constructed, resurrected, and thrown together with a relationship in mind. In literature, readers -myself included- are quick to judge the characters without in depth analysis or benefit of the doubt to the situation unfolding. As readers you place your struggles and the concepts of your own personal relationships into the text, sometimes letting it overshadow the new way of thinking the writer wants you to experience.
For example, last year, I read the book Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston. This book is sewn together with beautiful language as it follows the life of Janie, a mixed race woman in the early 1900s. Though I connected to the strength and determination the main character had the entire time in the book, I couldn’t understand why she stayed married to a man who abused her. Even after reading this book, I weighed the argument that Janie had a nice life married to a pastor but was muted into submission by him. I didn’t understand why she didn’t just pack her stuff and leave. As a senior in high school I have already begun to mentally pack my bags for college and have grown to understand Janie. I’ve learned that even when the front door is open it’s hard to leave the people and the place you’ve called home for so long, that there is a relationship you have to even the drippy faucet you’ll only notice when you’re gone.
As the year progresses I take the idea on relationships Hurston gave her character Janie and now look for it in other stories. Relationships run deep. They don’t need to be subjected to a list of archetypical characters. In the long run, they are really hard to walk away from.
-Chrissy Thelemann, Submissions Editor