I have more to say about Ghost World? I’m surprised, too. It’s all the discussion about whether Enid seems like a real teenage girl or not, and what that means.
You know, people have compared me to Enid since this damned book came out. (McBangle mentioned a similar dilemma in a comment on my original Ghost World post.) I don’t know how many people have started talking to me about it, assuming I must love it, or asked me if they should read it, assuming I must love it, or shared their love of it, assuming I must love it. Everyone is surprised to find out that I don’t love it. I will admit that, as a result, I have a bit of a thing about Ghost World. It makes me touchy. Not touchy as in feely, but touchy as in “Fuck you, you people who think I’m Enid.”
My reaction is a kind of horror, wondering what the hell it is about me that makes people come to this conclusion. Without delving too deeply into the psychology of Kinukitty (because nobody wants that, least of all Kinukitty), I will say that people tend to prefer not being translated into shorthand. I prefer that others at least keep up the social convention of pretending that I am an individual and not the edgy, sarcastic girl dork, perfectly symbolized by Enid and therefore requiring no additional analysis. Yes, yes, this is a bit of an overreaction AND a bit of an oversimplification, yadda yadda. The thing about stereotyping isn’t that it doesn’t tell any truth, though, but that the truth it leaves out is likely to be the really important bit. To the stereotype-ee, at the very least.
I think this speaks to the integrity of the character and thus the storytelling. Others may disagree (and do, in fact), but for me, the point of fiction is to do the opposite of fixing a stereotype. I think the point of fiction is to unveil subtleties and nuances and allow the reader to understand something about a character or situation. It really bothers me when the peaks and crannies go unexplored, as it were. (And, given the sexual aspect of the recent discussion, eewwwww – sorry.) I was about to tie that into how unpleasant it is in real life, too, but the peaks and crannies thing has killed my will to go there.