Humans are very complex creatures
Humans are very complex creatures. Millenia ago, the idea of us being any more distinctive than our given social status, was unheard of, and the way in which you acted was in the eyes of the majority foreseen by your birth-given placement in the civil hierarchy. But in the past couple of hundred years, the new field of science surrounding human behaviour has given us a vast erudition about how convoluted and compound our collective way of acting out is.
Given the right circumstances, people have shown a tendency to carry out specific actions, such as having the triune brain taking control when presented with situations that require quick and instinctive thinking, like choosing whether to fight or flee. But even though these theories are very potent and have made a remarkable impact on science, the fact of the matter is that every individual is unique, and one aspect where this shines through is in our way of viewing our situation before acting, our reacting based solely instinctive and emotional impulses.
“The Whipping Boy” written by Richard Gibney (2011) is an odd but interesting case of deliberation of human behaviour, through the medium of character study.
The story takes place around 1864 – 1865 during the end of the American civil war. It follows three slaves, Martha, Micky and Tommy and their master Sterling Gage and his mother Mrs. Gage.
Martha could be considered a key character, as the story unfolds from her point of view, but she isn’t any more crucial to the story than Tommy and Micky, they all share the same relevance, which is recognized in the third person narration of the plot, but the main focus is fixed on Martha as we see the events from her purview.
It’s hard say whether or not the story has a protagonist, because the slaves don’t as much serve as the main characters, as they serve as a method for the author to analyse their different behavioural patterning. The protagonist, if anything, is the situation the slaves find themselves in, the oppression of their slave master Sterling Gage and his inhuman modus operandi towards them. The sense of humiliation, emotional manipulation and the moral decadence is what the reader can identify with, considering that unless you have been the unfortunate victim of slavery yourself, it can be pretty difficult to see yourself in the eyes of a slave.