When I create a character, I take what I know from personal experience, what I’ve observed in other people (I am an avid people watcher), and what I’ve learned from my continued studies.
With the unnamed narrator/character in West End , it is important to understand the primary relationships and their effects.
In West End, the children are nearly parentless. Mom is an alcoholic who dies from the disease and Dad seems to be a workaholic, seemingly unconcerned about his children.
The article, “Unloved Daughters,” written by Peg Streep, lists some of the attributes the character in West End experiences.
Streep’s list is of 7 attributes. These are a few which I believe my character displays:
- Lack of Confidence
“The unloved daughter doesn’t know that she is lovable or worthy of attention; she may have grown up feeling ignored or unheard or criticized at every turn” (Streep).
3. Difficulty setting boundaries
“Many daughters, caught between their need for their mother’s attention and its absence, report that they become “pleasers” in adult relationships. Or they are unable to set other boundaries which make for healthy and emotionally sustaining relationships” (Streep).
5. Making avoidance the default position
“Lacking confidence or feeling fearful sometimes puts the unloved daughter in a defensive crouch so that she’s avoiding being hurt by a bad connection rather than being motivated to possibly find a stable and loving one” (Streep).
It seems the reason the narrator in West End avoids life is an overall lack of confidence. She does not set boundaries; she knows what is happening at the trains and with her sister is not leading anywhere productive or good, but she is unable to set the boundaries for herself, let alone for a sister. And avoidance is her default position in everything.
However, it is my wish the reader can see the hope within the novel, the things that change within the character that can create something positive.