Character Study

Character Study

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Singapore Memory Project

GIVING YOUR PAST A PRESENT

Books can hold a special place in our memories. They mark seasons and milestones of a person’s or nation’s journey through time.

They challenge our imagination, thoughts and beliefs, often transporting us to different places and times.

This series is part of the Singapore Memory Project, a nationwide movement led by the National Library Board (NLB).

It aims to capture and document precious memories related to Singapore.

“In line with the NLB’s READ! Festival this year, the Singapore Memory Project hopes to reach out to members of the public to contribute their memories of reading,” said Mr Wan Wee Pin, NLB’s deputy director of engagement.

“It could be memories of their favourite books, their reading experiences or even their favourite bookstores, both past and present.”

Find out which book characters have captured the hearts of these four Singaporeans, and why.

Name: Eunice Lim
Age: 17
What I do: Student
Favourite book character: Blanche DuBois from A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
What I remember: The American play revolves around its main character, 30-year-old Blanche, who is trying to move on from a traumatic past. Her husband committed suicide after she caught him having sex with another man.
The play is dark and her journey is a heartrending one and I really like the protagonist because of the character’s complexity.
Initially, I disliked her because the playwright portrayed her to be dishonest, rude and promiscuous.
But it is later revealed that under that tough shell is a vulnerable girl who merely wants to find love again, as she grows increasingly frightened of being left alone.
My love for Blanche is strengthened because of my initial dislike.
She made me realise how we have a tendency to misunderstand others, and that everyone has their back story.

Name: Andrew Koh
Age: 26
What I do: English tutor
Favourite book character: Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin from The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
What I remember: The prince is a man in his late 20s who returns to Russia after four years of being treated for his intellectual disabilities and epilepsy in Switzerland.
He is my favourite character because he is the epitome of a saint unable to stay sane in a complex world.
A part of me identifies with his naivete. That same part of me desires to emulate his sincere goodness.
I feel for his character as he is trapped in a society that is fraught with snobbery, unscrupulous schemes and transactional relationships.

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