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View Full Version : Characterization/Motivation in We’re Alive



Litmaster
Feb 25th, 2014, 06:02 PM
Ok, in this thread I am going to address something I don’t think has been talked about explicitly so far… the handling of characterization in the We’re Alive story. I would define characterization as “the process by which the writer reveals the personality of a character.” Just as a talking point, I’ll refer specifically to the motivation of the characters to doing the things they are doing in the story. Character motivation is an aspect of overall characterization.

So, before y’all fall asleep, I will critique how I think Kc has handled the motivation of certain main characters for doing what they happen to be doing in certain situations. I will divide these up into three groups: those who have a strong established motivation for what they are doing, a medium motivation… and a weak motivation, as has been thus far portrayed by the story we've witnessed...


STRONG MOTIVATION
Datu in helping the Colony: Absolutely justified, based on his former, selfless actions with our survivors.

Victor staying loyal to Saul: Very much justified given their experiences fighting off many enemies throughout Season 3, especially…

CJ leading the Colony: Again, justified, judging from her former reputation and planning ability.

Angel bonding with Kalani: This was very well done, given what they both went through with fighting the Behemoth, etc.

Burt hunting Scratch: Well, several months of torture and a missing finger absolutely justifies his ‘womanhunt’ of Scratch…


MEDIUM MOTIVATION
Pegs dissing Michael at Irwin: One of the reasons I dislike Pegs, but there was sufficient justification for her to cut bait with Michael upon her departure to Boulder.

Kelly doing Paperwork to help Tanya: This is fine, especially given that Kelly was previously a lawyer and, due to her hurt ankle, was looking for a more administrative role to help our heroes…

Puck leading the Mission at Twin Towers: Based on his light ‘hazing’ of newbies, it was well justified that Puck would be desirous of leading a team, and especially in this instance that Michael gave him the opportunity. Too bad the outcome was not better…


WEAK MOTIVATION
Riley hunting Scratch: The only real justification I can see for her hunting of Scratch would be the death of Angel, her true love… but this has not been developed enough in the story. There was even some earlier questions insofar as whether or not Riley was lesbian, so I wonder what would provide her so much motivation for hunting down Scratch, especially given that Riley has such a good relationship with Lizzy…

Scratch hunting Pegs: This is becoming a bit of a problem I am having with the story; I just don’t feel there is enough motivation for Scratch to be continually hunting Pegs, after all this time. This may change if we get some further explanation of her motivation… for instance, if something is revealed regarding what Latch gave up in order to free Scratch, etc. We know, from Scrath’s betrayal of Durai, that loyalty is not her strong suit, so it doesn’t make total sense that she would be so single-mindedly hell-bent on taking revenge on Pegs…

Verse
Feb 25th, 2014, 06:27 PM
I agree with the Riley hunting Scratch. I have never fully understood it. I can see Burt. I am still not on board with Angel being her True Love. I am still in the camp that she has/had a thing for...

Litmaster
Feb 25th, 2014, 06:41 PM
Riley is an interesting character who I don't think has been fully developed. Even the lesbian question is interesting: would she have had a love interest in Lizzy? We don't know; we are left...

Verse
Feb 25th, 2014, 07:35 PM
I an see her going with Burt. Burt has said since Season 1 he hated being in the group. He loves the people, but hates being told what to do and making choices based on everyone else. Betting she only went with Burt b/c it was her only way out. The group left her at Irwin. Michael left her at Irwin (in her eyes at least), comes back to find Liz and see her with Child... she Liz has left her. Angel is dead, Kelly, Pegs, Datu, and Hope left her at Irwin, Saul and Lizzy are together, Tanya is the mother of the man who took Lizzy, and Victor is Saul's BFF, Puck repeatedly talked down to her, Michael never got her on his team, and she only Just met Robins and Mauldoon. That only persons she know left is Burt. That's it. Through Process of elimination he is all she has left with Angel dead. No one else from The Tower. She has nothing left. Then Burt comes along and goes "I plan to kill the bitch that took Lizzy, my finger, destroyed our home, and killed Angel. You in?" When the Tower fell and Lizzy was gone... she literally almost drank herself to death. She needs a reason to live. Scratch gives her that. Burt is the only one she has left and wants to leave as bad as her. Thus she kinda had no choice unless she wanted to go alone.

I think the lack of fleshing out is b/c she isn't overly close with anyone. She is a lot like Michael in that way. When you look at it both of them have no info about themselves. Neither include anything about themselves in their journals. We know about Datu' skids b/c he talked about him. Kulani was drugged up.. and Samantha is Zed food. So he had to include that in his journal. The Drug use from Michael? It was brought up to a few of the characters. Any of them could have included it. Hell, Michael even told them to read his journal and admitted to leaving things out (See Waterworks). Burt talked to people about Shirley and his gun shows. Talked about his time in the war. Lizzy talked about Todd and her relationship.

Riley and Michael don't talk about their stuff. We have never even heard her joke in her own entries. Her joking with Angel was in his entry. How much of that was him think he was flirting? Kinda like two people see the same conversation different. He may have seen it slightly more fun/flirty.

Almost all the background we have on Michael is from others people's journals. Riley fits that mold. Unlike Michael she didn't have a lot of conversations with others that could be added in. Burt hated writing a journal. Said so multiple times. When they were off playing Mad Max between them they has one freaking page for 4 months. So the only persons he may have told more about herself to doesn't freaking write anything down.

I agree I would like to see something though. Everything we have is speculation. Would like to see a note or something. With Victor we have a chance that CJ kept a file on him at Dunbar. Odds are we will get nothing about Riley.

That may be her Characterization though. Everything about her is guess work outside of she can cook god as hell and is a drunk (or was). She may just be that person you have homeroom with all 4 years of High School and you know nothing about them outside of one or two things.

HardKor
Feb 26th, 2014, 12:42 AM
As far as I'm concerned, Scratch's motivation makes perfect sense.
Latch was her brother. He wasn't just some other member of a criminal organization calling itself a "family," he was her true family. From what we can gather, they grew up together, looked out for each other and were extremely close to one another. Remember Latch was in Eastern Bay because he took the fall to protect Scratch and the first thing Scratch did after the outbreak started was go into Eastern Bay to bust him out (I'm of the mind that he was the reason she went there and freeing the other Mallers was an afterthought).
Yeah we heard them bicker a lot while Latch was around, but they also had a bond. Scratch has a hard personality, and doesn't let a lot of vulnerability show, but listen to her reaction when Latch was killed. She was completely distraught. I have no problem believing that she would dedicate all of her time to getting revenge on Pegs for killing Latch, no matter how long it takes.
And on top of all that, let's not forget that Scratch is vindictive as hell and isn't the kind of person to let anything slide, let alone the death of her brother.