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Understanding: Which Characters Have It? Which Don’t?

Understanding image- Copyright 2016 Joan Y. Edwards

Understanding image- Copyright 2016 Joan Y. Edwards

“Understanding: Which characters have it? Which Don’t?” by Joan Y. Edwards

This is the Part 2 in a series of blogs about the Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Understanding is a gift of the Holy Spirit.

Understanding is a process of the mind by which a person gets it, grasps and comprehends what is difficult to perceive. Synonyms  are: compassionate, sensitive, considerate, forgiving, patient, realization, recognition, notice, observant.

The opposite of understanding is indifference, misunderstanding, confusion, disagreement, disbelief, stupidity, misjudge, overlook.

Characters with understanding:

  1. Melanie in Gone with the Wind
  2. The Father in the Prodigal Son story in the Bible.
  3. Andrew Paxton in The Proposal
  4. Isabel Kelly in Stepmom http://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/stepmom/have-us-both
  5. Ted Kramer in Kramer vs Kramer http://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/kramer-vs-kramer/why-mommy-left
  6. Will in Big Fish http://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/big-fish/lacking-in-social-niceties
  7. Bruce Nolan in Bruce Almighty http://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/bruce-almighty

Characters without understanding:

  1. Melvin Udall in As Good As It Get
  2. Margaret Tate in The Proposal
  3. Stepmother is Cinderella
  4. Wolf in The Three Little Pigs
  5. Sonny Koufax in Big Daddy http://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/big-daddy/homeless-guy
  6. Zee in Surf’s Up http://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/surfs-up/making-the-board?play=1
  7. Jason Bourne in The Bourne Identity http://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/the-bourne-identity/i-dont-even-have-a-name

*****Wingclips is a great site. When you click on the word search, you get a place where you can fill in themes.  http://www.wingclips.com/search?q=&x=13&y=8. You can put in an adjective for a theme. They pull up scenes that depict that. Pretty awesome.

I believe that all of us are understanding at times and are confused and without understanding at other times. Once you recognize the character trait of understanding in yourself and others, you’ll be able to personify understanding and misunderstanding or confusion in your own stories.

Which characters do you believe have understanding?

Which characters do you see as confused?

The trick is not to describe them with adjectives in your writing, but to signify the adjective by your character’s actions.

Please leave a comment. Click below and scroll down to the very bottom.


Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2016 Joan Y. Edwards


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6 Responses

  1. OK, here’s my list:- With understanding1 George Smiley (Various books by John Le Carre)2 M in the James Bond novels. (I see the classic thriller formula as a kind of map of the human psyche in Jungian terms. All the archetypes are there, including the ‘wise old man’).3 Paola, wife of Guido Brunetti in Donna Leon’s series.4 Major Callaway in ‘The Third Man’5 Dira, the concierge-spirit-child in Alessandro Baricco’s ‘Ocean Sea’.6 Adzo of Melk, narrator of Umberto Eco’s ‘The Name of the Rose’.7 Nelly, the main narrator of ‘Wuthering Heights’ Without understanding1 George Smiley – as blinkered in some respects as he is perceptive in others: a well crafted, complex character.2 Most villains in mass-market fiction – Someone who worked on the film adaptation of ‘The Devil Rides Out’ remarked that most villains don’t know they’re villains. How true to life!3 Nicolas Urph, in John Fowles’ ‘The Magus’. …Or maybe he does have understanding, but chooses to disregard it when it suits him.4 Richard Hannay, the oafish, bigoted, racist ‘hero’ of ‘The Thirty-Nine Steps’ and other Buchan thrillers.5 Bertie Wooster. Lovely character, but if he understood anything at all there’d be no stories.6 Professor Bartelboom, in ‘Ocean Sea’.7 The very fist 1963 incarnation of The Doctor in ‘Dr Who’, played by William Hartnel, a very weird character indeed. (I mean The Doctor, not William Hartnel.)
    Cheers, m’dears,Lorenzo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lorenzo,
      Thanks for writing. You are a well-read man! I know your writing must be great, too, because the great rubs off and makes us write better and better. Thanks for sharing these characters with understanding and those without it.

      Thanks for sharing your insights with us.

      Never Give Up

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Joan,
    Wingclips is a great resource. I took a look and liked what I saw. Thanks for sharing it. As for other literary examples of understanding, Aesop Fables come to mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Linda,
      Thanks for writing. I’m glad you like Wingclips! It’s amazing how many clips they have and seems like a hundred different theme categories or more. You’re right. Aesop’s Fables has many characters with and without understanding. Belling the Cat is a good one that shows how one mouse didn’t understand the complexities of getting his idea into action.


      www. aesoptables.com has most of the Aesop Fables set for you to read. Some have audio tapes. A Fun site.
      Never Give Up


  3. Joan, I’m enjoying this series. So creative picking the fruits of the holy spirit and showing how these traits can be manifested in our characters.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Kathleen,
      Thank you for writing. It is good to hear from you. I’m glad that you’re enjoying this series on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Without these gifts, we and our characters would be in big trouble! Thankful to God for all the gifts He’s given to me!

      Never Give Up

      Liked by 1 person

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