Fear

All humans have felt it at one time or another. Fear.

I'll freely admit that I'm terrified of most dogs, even little tiny ones. They have sharp teeth too, you know.

So in accordance with our discussion on Margaret Haddix's AMONG THE HIDDEN, I'm going to talk a little bit about how she used fear in the novel.

Poor Luke is struck with it all the time. He loses his freedom to go outside for fear that someone will see him. He can't sit at the kitchen table for fear that someone will hear him. And Luke isn't the only one living in fear. His parents--though it might be hard to see sometimes--live in constant fear that their third child will be found.

I think Haddix does an amazing job of infiltrating the plot with fear, which then captures readers. Parents can imagine what it would be like to protect Luke from getting caught. Teens and kids can put themselves in Luke's position, constantly living behind closed shutters and silence. The use of fear appeals to wide audience.

So then Luke conquers one of his fears when he sneaks out to meet Jen. My heart was pounding during that scene, because let's face it, haven't we all snuck out at some point in our lives? The fear of getting caught doing something we're not supposed to be doing is almost inbred in us.

Fear is what endears the reader to the plot, because it is a human emotion that we all understand.

Think of the dystopian novels you've read recently. Were they filled with fear? I bet they were. What about other types of novels? Is fear driving them too? What makes someone, like Luke, take a risk, leave the house and scamper out into the open to see if another Third is living next door? What makes YOU take that risk -- look fear in the face?

5 comments:

Matthew Rush said...

Fear is a powerful emotion which is why it makes for such great conflict in dramatic storytelling. I haven't read this book but it sounds like you're describing some excellent examples here Elana!

Today's guest blogger is Rose Cooper!

Jemi Fraser said...

Fear makes for a great read. My heart pounds away when my favourite characters are scared - always a good sign :)

beth said...

....so did you have any fear when you got that new hair cut? :)

And irony--I posted about fear today on my blog, too!

OK, OK, OK--back to the real topic at hand. I ttoally get you--fear was definitely a driving force of this book. And really, a driving force of our every day lives. We make most of our decisions based on fear--if not fear of death or something equally drastic, then fear of social reviling, or similar.

Angie Smibert said...

I think Luke took the risk because his need to connect with someone like him was greater than his fear of being caught.

Elana Johnson said...

Excellent point, Angie. I think that's why most of us take risks. A need outweighs the fear.

Beth, we must be on the same mental wavelength or something. Ha!

Jemi, I love getting lost in the story that way too. *Happy sigh*

Matt, you must read this book! :)