I don't no if this is a off-topic question but the main doubt, in my opinion, is solid on the character development tag.

So, maybe the concept of Conflict, which I'm comfortable with, will sound divergent from yours. I think that this is a technical minor aspect, but I feel that in my doubt this will make some difference.

In my textbook [1] the author treats, as expected, the whole concept of Conflict in character development. But he treats the particular point of "Inner Conflict" in a huge different manner: something more fundamental than the external conflict or even internal conflicts of the mind of the character. For him, the "Inner Conflict" is called "fundamental essence". This fundamental essence is even beneath Inner Conflict of the mind of the character (and clearly beneath the external conflict). This fundamental essence is the prime cog on character behaviour in story, something "raw"; knowing this fundamental essence the author can forsee the attitudes of an character face a particular situation or, in other words, the author can say for sure:

"Oh character X will never do this!"

The textbook exhibits an example of a "conrete" fundamental essence:

  • Hamlet

O God! God! How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable, Seem to me all the uses of this world! Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden, That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature Possess it merely.

The textbook says then that here we can identify the fundamental essence of Hamlet's: Hamlet extend his feelings to everyone when he says "Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden, That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature", then due to this the essence is settled and then he is "ready" to inner and external conflict.

Well, this is a nice pedagocial example, but still, I do not understand quite properly. In order to understantd Fundamental essences in characters, I would like to shift the story to another which I'm quite familiar: Star Wars. So, the story is different but the need for a Fundamental essence is conserved. In the context of "Fundamental essence", what is the fundamental essence of Luke Skywalker?

[1] Luiz Antônio de Assis Brasil, Escrever Ficção: Um Manual de Criação Literária, Companhia das Letras, 2ed,São Paulo,2019.

  • 2
    Luke Skywalker is a Mary Sue who has zero training and no moral compass but by being "special" from birth goes on an un-earned journey that he doesn't understand and knows nothing about. At the end of the movie he saves the galaxy 'Hoosier-style" by magically throwing a ball through the hoop as the timer runs out. Crowd cheers and he gets a medal. Please do not base your writing on something as silly as Star Wars, unless you intend to throw every hollywood trope in a blender and spit out costume pantomime cliché melodramas where villains shout "Nooooooo!". – wetcircuit Mar 5 at 16:14
  • I'm not doing that. Luke Skywalker is just an "easy start point". But the answer of @A.bakker seems to point out alittle bit of complexity than just a raw mary sue. Luke has, indeed, the properties of a Mary sue. – M.N.Raia Mar 5 at 17:03
  • @wetcircuit He was actually trained by Obi-wan, not much, but specifically on the basic thing of using the force to hit something you really should not be able to hit. Which is exactly the skill needed for the ending. He actually did have the training and background for the skills he shows, if very little else, so Mary Sue and no training are IMHO unjustified. No disagreement with the rest. Well, I don't understand the "unearned journey", how do you need to earn running away from being arrested by stormtroopers? – Ville Niemi Mar 5 at 19:05
  • @wetcircuit there's so much wrong stuff about your comment I had to flag it. You are misusing and underplaying key elements of the work. Luke does go through all the Campbell's Journey steps. I have no idea where your assumptions came through but I'd love to point you to several analysis of the work. Too cramped here though. – Mindwin Mar 9 at 16:42
  • To M.N.Raia: Where is your question? – Mindwin Mar 9 at 16:43

One of the fundamental essences of Luke Skywalker is simple, it's even in the title of his debuting movie: Hope.

One of the most iconic shots in the Star Wars saga is when he stands outside looking onward to the 2 suns in the distance with a sense of hope that he will be able to leave the farm and find his destiny amongst the stars. Later when faced with the Death Star, a fight they seemingly had no chance of winning he never lost his hope.

This sense of hope has given him his rather upbeat attitude always being the one jumping in to the fray to do what he can because he believes what he does matters and in the end will be well.

His other fundamental essence is his loyalty. When his friends were in danger during the Cloud City sequence he didn't hesitate a second to risk his life to save them, and again he was willing to let himself get captured to save Han from the Hutt.

And the best example where his true nature comes to shine is with his father. No matter how far Anakin fell to darkness he had still hope for his redemption and he was still loyal to (the idea of who) his father (is).

This is also one of the biggest criticism on the new Star Wars Trilogy by both Fans and Mark Hamill had on Luke as a character, he became an old grump without any hope who did nothing when his friends needed him...completely out of character which was done only to "subvert expectations".

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  • Could you give more examples beyond Luke? My main question is a foucused on a particular character but what I really want is to know where to look to understand a character and then transport to mine's. – M.N.Raia Mar 5 at 16:35
  • @M.N.Raia i'm afraid there isn't a "one size fits all" way of understanding characters. Some are Simple like Luke and Samwise, others are more complicated like Dumbledore...it all depends on their motives and what the writer shows is when. – A.bakker Mar 5 at 18:16

I don't know if the writers had the knowledge and intention the "Inner Conflict" is the current term used for "Moral Injury" for treating combat PTSD or military PTSD. It is the term currently taught, and a great source for information about "Inner Conflict" of the issue is the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and PsychArmor Institute at psycharmor.org .

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