I’ve been thinking about masks. The masks we all wear to be precise. You see, we all wear different masks around different people. Take for example a character I shall call Derek Macmillan.
Derek is married with two children. He works in a factory.
His parents call him Derek, using the name often when addressing him. Derek never swears around his parents and even though he is in his late thirties, he would probably get a clip around the ear if he did so.
His wife on the other hand rarely calls him by any name as she has no need of such appellations, although she sometimes calls him Del when needing to speak to him directly (when she’s angry she calls him by his full name). Derek only swears in front of his wife when he is really, really pissed off, which gives the profanity more significance.
Derek’s son calls him Dad. Before he turned eight, he called him Daddy. His daughter calls him Dad too. Derek has never sworn within earshot of his children as he doesn’t want to set a bad example.
At work, they call him Del. He swears like a trooper at work, mainly using the cussing in the form of light hearted banter. He also says things at work that he would never tell his wife.
Derek also has a close circle of friends that he grew up with. To them he is known as Mac, an abbreviation of his surname. He has no problem swearing while around his closest friends, but he doesn’t overdo it.
To those who address him formally, he is called Mr. Macmillan. He never swears around people he doesn’t know very well as he doesn’t want them to judge him by his use of bad language. He also adopts certain airs and graces with people he doesn’t know, trying to make himself sound more eloquent.
So here we have one man with five masks in the forms of Derek, Dad, Del, Mac and Mr. Macmillan. Each name gives Derek a different personality, although at heart he is one and the same.
I guess this is why authors should explore every facet of their fictional characters, and take into account what mannerism they adopt when wearing each mask.