A Few Quirky Characters

Mynita "Angel" and Roland Gross (May 2004)

Life is stranger than fiction; yet, a few quirky characters show up in the novels I read. For some unknown reason, I am attracted to “Philip” in W. Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage, to “Joy” in Flannery O’Connor’s Good Country People, and to “Reuven” in Chaim Potok’s The Chosen.

You see, Philip has a club foot; Joy has an artificial leg; and Reuven lost sight in one eye. All are sympathetic characters based on their physical “defects.” Sometimes I think I’m the quirky one–being a strange-person magnet.

Thelma Groves (1950s) Des Moines, IA

Perhaps, I’m overdue for psychoanalysis. In such case, I’ll examine myself.                                                                                          

Certain actions can be traced back to learned behaviors. Where did I learn to appreciate folks with disabilities? An incident with my mother, Thelma Groves, comes to mind. I was driving (since she never learned how) in Arizona’s heat, and she was in the front passenger seat observing road signs, steaming pavement, and bicyclists. In near tears, Mom commented on the tattered man at the curb walking his bike. “He’s so hot and tired and poor.”

I wish I could write that I’d stopped and offered the Good Samaritan gift of caring, but I didn’t. To my shame. That was 15 years ago. The compassion of my mother has left a lasting impression as I think of how very much she was like Jesus in her love for the less fortunate.

So, why are readers, like me, attracted to imperfect characters? We join them.  In our own character flaws, we see a fallen humanity in need of the one Perfect One, Jesus. He heals the sick and saves the soul, then takes them to heaven. What a Saviour!

PS–If there’s a literary heaven, let’s pray that the novel characters: Philip, Joy, and Reuven are still their same quirky selves. Their creators might want it that way for a perfect read on life.

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10 Responses to A Few Quirky Characters

  1. Mynita Rubel says:

    Thank God for the Perfect One, JESUS….so true “What a Saviour!”

    You are so blessed with your writting.

  2. Excellent blog, Effie. Interesting characters facinate me too. I, however, am more drawn to the characters in Dickens’ and Austin’s works. I guess I don’t fit too well in this age. Also, it is wonderful how Christ stoops to claim some of the most unlovely ones. His love covers all. Rosemarie

  3. Thanks, Rosemarie. I know what you mean about contemporary literature, and I, too, love the classics. Your words, “Christ stoops to claim some of the most unlovely,” are beautiful and the truth of that statement is humbling. All the best for your blog, too. You’re such a good friend.

  4. Floyd says:

    Great post Effie. I’m like you, my parents, especially my mom is the same as yours. I too am deeply moved at the sight of those less privileged, especially the disabled. I like you see them and say to myself, “But by the grace of God, there go I.”

    You just never know who God has cut from the same mold by a glance can you? Nice job my sister, love the ending…

    • Yes, that’s right, Floyd. “But by the grace of God, there go I.” Your entire blog focuses on that theme. I wonder if someone passes me by and says that phrase. It would be true…until we get to glory, we all are less than perfect. Your parents sound like great people, Floyd. I’m so glad to know you and read your posts, too. As for my ending on this post, God gave me that little twist. I love it when that happens, don’t you?

  5. Carole says:

    Hi Effie,
    Your blog is truly off and running and I am happy and proud of you.

    I have had a bad week beginning it with a fall. VERY painful at that! For the week since Monday I got reconnected with ‘disability’ myself. You see, my Dad was a polio victim when he was 7 (that was 1927 – when polio was the scourge that claimed so many) So, as I grew up I always stood proudly by my ‘crippled Daddy’ ready to do I- don’t- know- what if any one so much as said a word! No one did –

    Instead, I learned all the respect and pride he was accorded.He was thought of as a very brave man – after all he was the father of 6 – now that took courage!

    Just a word on being disabled – there is no way to let the appreciation and gratitude be understood by those many, wonderful, and genuinely kind people i meet every day who in every way are the very angels of our Father who looks over us all!

    Blessings to you my friend, Carole

  6. You were very blessed to have your father as a an example of courage and strength. I am familiar with polio, but that’s another story for another day. I hope you will be okay after your fall. When will you begin your blog? Looking forward to your unique stories. Hang in there, Carole.

  7. Carole says:

    oh Effie,
    I hadn’t thought of my very own blog! Now, I am . . but I don’t know how! Perhaps after the holidays we could spend a little time doing what it takes to set it up . . or at least get me going in the right direction!

    I wish you and your family the blessings of a very wonderful Thanksgiving.

    BFF Effie,
    Carole

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