Welcome to Day 15 of the A to Z Challenge. For this year’s challenge, I’ll be examining different types of characters that can be found in international fiction. Today I’m looking at oddball outsiders.
Oddball outsiders don’t fit into the world of their story. It could be that they weren’t born into their world they just never found their place.
Two things oddball outsiders tend to have in common are beliefs that aren’t shared by the majority and being at odds with their environment.
Odds With Environment
Pam Houston in the non-fiction essay “What Has Irony Done for Us Lately” portrays herself as an outsider both in UC Davis where she works and in Creede, where she lives. She’s too “city” for the country and too “country” for the city. She’s not only out of place, but also out of time as she mentions shifts in educational trends.
Makino Tsukushi in Boys Before Flowers (花より男子) comes from a poor home, but goes to a school with rich kids. Although her uniform is the same, her perspective of the world around her is different.
In Cien Años de Soledad, José Arcadio Buendía believes the world is round. This is seen as madness in his small town until a traveler exposes that Buendía is correct. Like this example, one thing that interesting about this character type is that her/his uncommon beliefs often prove true within their stories.
Makino believes that bullying is wrong in a world where it’s a common accepted practice. Dr. Emmett Brown in Back to the Future believes that it’s actually possible to travel through time.
Other oddball characters are Paddington in Paddington and Paddington 2,Don Quixote from Don Quixote, and Norville Barnes in The Hudsucker Proxy.