Being Obese is NOT a choice…

Fat shaming is a terrible and still socially acceptable insult. Many seem to think that being fat and obese is a choice. On some grounds, it makes sense, but if you look at the picture in a holistic perspective, you can begin to see that being fat has so many factors to take into account.

Here is the main argument that this article will attack: You chose to be fat.

1) Who wakes up in the morning and suddenly thinks “I feel like being a fat ass for the rest of my life?” Anyone? Didnt think so.

2) People have as much freedom with their obesity as they do with their socioeconomic status (SES). According to Houle, poor people in high-income and developed countries have higher correlation rates to obesity. This could be due to lack of education about nutrition, as well has having a low yearly income resulting in buying a lot of fast food. People who usually fall victim to obesity are low income houses who find it cheaper to buy mcdonalds rather than buying fruits and veggies. Also, college students who need the extra cash, and people who are kicked out of their homes and are paid less ON PURPOSE so that they could work more hours and eat shitty food.

3) Eating disorders. There is a thing called Emotional eating, and you can find it on the internet anywhere. Emotional eating is a coping mechanism to stress, and can lead to the development of eating disorders. In fact, according to the Universite Laval on Etiomology, genetics can play a role in obesity. “Genes and behavior may both be needed for a person to be overweight. In some cases multiple genes may increase one’s susceptibility for obesity and require outside factors; such as abundant food supply or little physical activity.” The behaviors can change due to a number of factors. Stress is most prevalent. If a person is in a terrible environment growing up, chances are that they will develop terrible eating habits and eating disorders. You wouldnt tell a fat person to ‘start dieting and stop eating so much’ for the exact same reason you wouldnt tell a person suffering from depression to ‘get over it’.

Secondary Argument: We should not be promoting obesity. Its not healthy.

The funny thing is, there are more fat shamers than their are Fat-Acceptance activists. Society as a whole does not promote obesity. Society as a whole, shames obesity. More on that later. If you really wanted to put an end to obesity, these three steps will LIKELY help:

1) Increase the wages.

2) Lower Cost of Living

3) Educate people about nutrition and the importance of exercise.

Increasing wages and lowering the cost of living both go hand in hand. Most people have jobs. Students have school and a job. Families and young mothers have to have two jobs because one job isnt enough to pay bills and food. No one has any free time to exercise. It is a luxury to them. I guarantee that if people made more money and had more time, they would buy healthier food while exhibiting healthy habits.

Tertiary Argument: Fat People dont need activists because they’re not discriminated against.

This is not true in the slightest. Fat people face discrimination every day. I wouldnt put it on par with racial discrimination, but I can see why some can. When a person doesnt get a job because their obesity is a factor, when a person cant fit into beautiful looking clothes so they have to buy tshirts, or when a person gets dirty looks for being who they are. When they are called fat and ugly to demean them. Fat the only socially acceptable slur against a group of people. Being called skinny is totally different from being called fat because being skinny doesnt have as much as a negative connotation to it.

Fourth Argument: You can lose weight.

Do people realize how hard it is for someone to lose weight? Especially after having developed an eating disorder? And to make time for it? There isnt any time if you are trying to support a family with two jobs. There isnt time if you are going to school full time and working a full time job. It’s not to say that it’s impossible. It’s just really hard. So hard that so many people would rather face the discrimination rather than shed the weight. Stop pushing people to lose weight.

In closing

To reiterate my argument, no one chooses to be fat. Just like no one chooses to be depressed or to be socially unacceptable. But I guess instead of realizing that Socioeconomic Status plays a factor and knowing that by increasing wages and decreasing the cost of living, people find it easier to bitch about how being ‘fat’ is a choice.

Brian Houle
http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2013/obesity-socioeconomic-status.aspx

Universite Laval http://obesity.ulaval.ca/obesity/generalities/genetic.php

A Rant About Money…

I hate it.  So so much.

We live in  a world where a person would rather die than owe thousands of dollars in hospital bills. Where people have to pay tremendous amounts of money to attend higher education and earn degrees in a field where they should already be in. We live in a world where slavery in the United States still exists, where students will continue to be indentured servants. Payment now with a promise of a better tomorrow. You pay with more than just money.

We live in a world where a parking or speeding ticket could cost someone their job, and thus their entire life. Where the corporations could capitalize on an unsuspecting citizen when they make a mistake. We live in a fucking world where the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. Where money is power and power is unevenly distributed. When people have to kill in the name of the ultimate God of Green.

And yes, Money is God.

We worship him. We commit violent atrocities in his name. We look up to those who have it like deities and we look down on those who dont like pests. We enslave those who dont have enough of it.

And ultimately, those who cant afford the things that are necessary, like healthcare or education, Money is the one who casts the ultimate judgement. Do you have what it takes to make it to the kingdom of Life? Or will you be caste down to a life of servitude.

Who would’ve known that a green piece of paper would hold so much of us?

The Good in the Bad: Things in Twilight that are good.

I’m gonna be a devil’s advocate here, but let me acknowledge a few things first.

1) Twilight is still a bad story and glorifies many things that should not be glorified. Romanticizing controlling/abusive behavior is never okay.

2) There are still some painstakingly laughable moments.

3) The majority of these points are in correspondence to the movies, not the books. I couldnt stand reading the books because Meyer uses a lot of annoying Purple Prose.

4) This is my own opinion, so dont get butthurt.

Now onto some good points on Twilight. (There arent much but the good points are some really good points that we should all take away from.)

The main point is that Twilight has some characters with some traits that we can all relate to.

Bella

Many people think that Bella is a blank slate, but she really isnt. Many people fail to see her motivations. She absolutely despises being normal. The whole saga is her pretty much fighting between who she should be and who she wants to be. It’s a struggle that everyone faces in their life. It’s not as easy as choosing who she wants to be with, Edward or Jacob (I’ll get to these characters in a second). Apparently to most people, it’s not okay for a woman to want something. She has to live by society’s standards. /sarcasm

I will admit that Bella’s reactions to some things, like Edward breaking up with her, are a little overdramatic, but at the same time, guys do this stuff too. It happens to everybody. But when she starts doing things with Jacob, she’s still attached to the idea of being who she wants to be.

In essence, choosing Edward is choosing the side that she wants to be, and choosing Jacob is choosing the side that she should be. Theres a difference.  

Edward

Before I start saying my point, just know that I dont completely agree with everything he does. His actions are a little bit over the top and I do not condone their romance in any way.

That being said, the majority of the problems in Bella and Edward’s relationship stems from Edward’s insecurities… and Bella’s insecurities. Bella hates having a normal life, and that is why Edward is a life changer for her. On the other side of the coin, Edward thinks Bella should have a normal life because it’s very precious to him.

Which brings me to the point of why I find it appropriate that Edward’s vampire disposition was forced onto him. Edward probably never wanted to be a vampire in the first place. It was the Spanish Flu that ripped his life away from him, and as a result, he finds having a normal life to be a precious thing that someone should hold on to.

Bella absolutely hates her normal life with her normal friends. That’s why she gets so obsessed with Edward. Edward isnt just another boy toy to Bella, but instead, an escape into the world that she wants. The world of the supernatural.

This ties into the events of Breaking Dawn. In the scene where Edward tries to force Bella into getting an abortion, he tries to isolate himself from her. This is a result of his insecurities at play, which is also the reason why we have a lot of single mothers. The fathers are so insecure of themselves, they see themselves in their children. So they leave the significant others. But the moment that he sees the child is more like Bella instead of himself, he stays.

It isn’t until the end, when Bella fully becomes a vampire, that they stop having problems.

So here we have Edward and Bella, two different people with opposite insecurities, but they do love the other for the way they are. I dont condone it, but i can understand it.

Jacob

I dont know why many people dont see this. Jacob IS  the physically abusive asshole. He constantly objectifies Bella, making her into a prize to be won. Because she isnt available. He also pretty much says to Bella “Dont piss me off, or I’ll cut you.” Hence his whole werewolf thing.

Also, his rash actions could be described in the scene in Breaking Dawn where Edward gives her a Ceasarian by teeth. When Bella ‘dies’ Edward continues to try and save her with his venom, while Jacob mopes and tries to go for the person responsible: the baby.

I can compare it to the commentary from the Elephant Man, played by David Bowie at one point. In this scene, The Elephant Man, Merrick, is conversing with Ms. Kendal on Romeo and Juliet.

“Merrick (M): I like love stories best too. If I had been Romeo, guess what?
Ms. Kendal (K): What?
M: I would not have held the mirror to her breath.
K: You mean the scene where Juliet appears to be dead and he holds the mirror to her breath and sees-
M: Nothing. How does it feel when he kills himself because he just sees nothing?
K: Well. My experience as Juliet has been… that while I am laying there dead dead dead,  and he is lamenting excessively, I get to thinking that if this slab of ham does not part from the hamhock of his life toute suite,  I am going to scream, pop off the tomb, and plunge a dagger into his scene-stealing heart. Romeos are very undependable.
M: Because he does not care for Juliet.
K: Not care?
M: Does he take her pulse? Does he get a doctor? Does he make sure? No. He kills himself. The illusion fools him because he does not care for her. He only cares about himself. If I had been Romeo, we would have got away.”

Does Jacob make sure that Bella’s alive? No. He checks the mirror for her breath and the illusion tricks him. While Edward is trying his hardest to make sure she lives, Jacob leaves, accepting that she is dead, and goes to try and kill the baby, which, through the power of Deus Ex Machina, he imprints on her. Weird.

But even with all of this said, Jacob is still a character we can relate to, or at the very least, seen in real life. He’s selfish and only wants Bella because she cant be had. He wants a challenge.

All in all, through the terrible plot, I have to give credit where it’s due. A lot of people say that Twilight has no substance, but they are mostly men who just cant understand Bella. People who think that female protagonists in books have to be fucking godly icons or else they lack substance. This black and white fallacy has gone on for far too long.

A character does not need to be an icon to have substance. Sometimes you have to dig deeper.

Just because Bella isnt an icon doesnt make her less of a character. But I think it goes further. A lot of people who write anti-twilight threads refuse to acknowledge Bella as a person. She is a Damsel in Distress sometimes, but that doesnt make her a character. If anything, these readers are objectifying Bella.

And a lot of readers tend to ignore the Manic Pixie Dream Girl thing happening in a lot of media. But when its a Manic Pixie Dream Guy, everyone loses their minds.

Im just saying that there are a few things to take away. Twilight is pretty horrid, but it shouldnt be dismissed as a waste of space. There’s good that comes with the bad.

My NaNoWriMo Results

As you all know, I decided to take up the NaNoWriMo challenge.

What you guys dont know… is that I failed miserably.

I finished at 29k words, just a little more than half of the required word count. And here’s why:

I am a very busy person. I work from 8:30 to 5, and the rest of the day is spent with my wife. I only have time to write on my breaks at work. And that meant that I have to make up for the time I would lose on the weekends. Since i have to average 1,667 words a day to complete the NaNo challenge, I would have to compensate an additional 3,334 words over the weekdays. Thats about an extra 667 words a day, making it a total of 2,334 words a day. My breaks consist of a total of an 1hr 10min. That isnt a lot of time, even though I type an average of 45 words per minute. I have to go back and make sure I captured everything I wanted in the chapter, so there is a small amount of editing.

My point is, I didnt have the time. And some days, I was late to work so I lost an extra 20 minutes of break. So In order to complete the NaNoWriMo challenge, the number one thing you need, above Discipline, is Time.

Make sure you have at the very least 2 hours to write per day! This includes weekends. 

And I can say for sure that I will NOT be participating in NaNoWriMo anymore. I know how long it takes for me to pump out a first draft. It’s certainly not a month. I also mainly write when inspired to do so anyway.

Fat and Okay: my rant on fat-shaming.

I’ve been depressed lately about the kind of world we live in. The world where people hurt others to get ahead. How the people who are already at the rock bottom go lower while the people on the higher end get closer to the skies.

I think of privileges and how people who need help dont get it, while others that dont need help at all are the ones getting it. I think of the pastor in Florida arrested for feeding a homeless person in public, and I think of so many vacant houses that can be used to house someone in dire need of a home. I think of our prison system, and how inmates who have done their time cant get a job, and that there is cells for inmates, but not a single room for the homeless.

Things like this run through my mind every day, so on a good day, I am happy throughout it. I dont even want to think about what happens on a bad day.

The most recent thoughts on my mind are about my weight, and the weight of others. Technically I am obese, weighing in about 250 lbs.  My wife is the same weight as me. Although it is bad for people to be obese because of medical reasons, socially, it’s much worse for my wife than it is for me.

As a woman, it’s harder for her to fit into her prescribed box, no pun intended. The perfect woman has to be thin, preferably white, with big hips. Fat women in particular arent sensationalized in the media. They’re ridiculed, both covertly and openly. Being plus sized is usually a despicable trait.

That’s not to say that being a fat man is good. It’s no doubt better than the female counterpart, but it also shares similar downsides while having different downsides. We all feel the pain of what it is like to be fat.

Then there are people who are fat-phobic.

Generally, i see people who are fat-phobic as the ones ridiculing us. I watch videos from youtubers like Freelee the Banana Girl, who i think has great advice on dieting. It’s just that her philosophies are messed up. She wants to battle obesity but she takes the approach of attacking plus size models. Her view is that we shouldnt be encouraging obesity, as with many others.

I, for one, dont think that plus size models are encouraging obesity, but they are sending a message of body positivity. That it’s okay to be fat.

And if you ask me, we need more of that.

We are in need of a society who doesnt box us into our prescribed paradigm; a society who accepts people for being people. A society who doesnt discriminate by race, gender, sexual preference, weight, class, and so on…

The reason why I disagree with Freelee’s conclusion is because I believe she isnt looking at this issue of obesity through the correct standpoint. She sees it as a disease that has a cure.

Obesity isn’t a disease. It can’t be spread through touch. It’s an addiction.

And as addicts know, once you’re an addict, you’re always an addict.

Want to know how to encourage a fat person to become healthy without fat-shaming? Take away the triggers.

A large part of these triggers are due to the society we live in. That is why it is so hard for most of us to even begin to lose weight. Fat people are constantly ridiculed by society and themselves. Every day I am reminded that I’m fat by myself and other people, whether they’re conscious of themselves doing it or not. If a person doesnt fit into their prescribed paradigm, they are made fun of. And where does an addict turn to when everyone else around them is turning against them? The one thing that doesnt ridicule them. The one thing that doesnt hurt them. The one thing that makes them feel good. Their addiction. They relapse. And people wonder why many cant do it.

Another part is the fast food industry, and I’m going to bite my tongue on that subject.

And even when we get to our desired weight, we will still have the pain in our hearts. The fat-heart, my wife would call it. Because we know what it’s like to struggle. We know what it’s like to be looked down as lesser beings. And when we’re helped, it doesnt make us feel better, it makes us feel worse. It sucks.

Being obese in a world that doesnt accept it sucks. The world is a shitty place, I know. But whether a person wants to stay who they are or they want to change, no matter what happens, we should be accepting. That is our role as human beings.

Support body positivity, and the rest will follow.

NaNoWriMo How to: a guide to surviving the madness

Hello everyone! Sorry for my absence! I have been busy these past few weeks with balancing work and writing, and preparation. There is a lot of words I need to write down. Fifty thousand actually.

That being said, NaNoWriMo is here!! Time for late nights, early mornings, and spending my work breaks on writing the novel! Im actually already 20% done with it, despite it being the third day only (as I’m writing this post).

For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. It’s an event where you try to write an entire novel within a month! The novel consists of 50,000 words, and is entered to win prizes.

But that isn’t where the beauty lies with NaNoWriMo.

As many writers will tell you, you cannot have an amazing piece of literary work within one month. Unless your writing talent is godlike, it is literally and figuratively impossible. So what’s the point of NaNoWriMo? It is an inspirational tool to help writers pump out their first draft quickly.

“90% of writing is revision” –John Green

NaNoWriMo takes a considerable amount of discipline. For some, it may be difficult to write 50,000 words in a single month. That’s 1,600 words a day. To a seasoned writer, that’s cake, but to a novice, that can prove a little challenging. And within this challenge proves another benefit to NaNoWriMo. Because writers have to pump out a first draft quickly, it forces them to turn off their inner editor. Writing and Editing are two different processes. If you use them in conjunction, not only will your writing slow down to the point of being a snail, but your product will be of less value because you doubted it. It’s exactly second-guessing.

Take this for example: When you’re in a exam for English, and your answer is multiple choice, you chose one answer, only to question and doubt yourself, and then erase the answer to choose a different one. Then when you get the test back, you found out that the first answer you chose was actually the RIGHT answer after all.

That is your inner editor talking. And that is the beauty of NaNoWriMo. The way I see it, your inner editor is your mind, while your writer is your heart. Don’t let your inner editor win out your inner writer. Write from the heart, not from the mind. And for those who have trouble with writing from the heart, NaNoWriMo is an immense help.

But how does one prepare for NaNoWriMo?

It takes a while. Writing is a full-time job aside from school, and your actual full-time job. You have to take time to even prepare for NaNoWriMo, then time to write it. So this is where it starts.

Step 1: Make a Schedule!

You have to actually set aside time in your busy schedule to write. IMPORTANT: YOU HAVE TO DO THIS MONTHS IN ADVANCE!!!! You may have to cut away some fun nights to just stay home and write, and even cut back on homework. No don’t do that, but still. Treat it as if it’s your career, and actually set aside time for it.

Step 2: Make a Plan!

The months before NaNoWriMo, primarily from May until present, all of my breaks at work and mornings before my wife got up, was devoted to making outlines, fleshing out characters, developing conflicts, and doing research. All of my outlining and character worksheets I got from http://www.annieneugebauer.com. You could find her worksheets if you look hard enough. They are very helpful in creating a structured plot. A lot of people will go into NaNoWriMo with little preparation. Winging it. And in doing so, you create something convoluted, lacking character dynamics, and creating contradictories and a tone of continuity errors. And that, my friends, is why you should never EVER wing a novel. You’ll just end up rewriting it. Take it from someone who has made that mistake.

Step 3: WRITE!

This part is the most exciting part of your journey: putting your thoughts onto paper. This is where the world you created comes into reality, figuratively speaking. And on this part, it is the simplest piece of advice: write. Just write. Refer to your outlines, but write write write! Don’t edit! Just write! Don’t think about what readers will think with a particular scene, just write it. You can care about it later. You know, when NaNoWriMo’s over. Just focus on pumping out your first draft.

Anyways, that’s all I have for you today! Happy NaNoWriMo! May the odds ever be in your favor.

Show, Don’t Tell (With a review of James Dashner’s “The Maze Runner”)

Many people seem very confused with the phrase ‘show, don’t tell’ when it comes to writing. After all, how can you show with words? Isnt that telling?

Yes and no.

Technically, yes, it is telling to some extent, but that isn’t what we are talking about when we say ‘show, don’t tell’.

When we say ‘show, don’t tell’, what we are talking about is using descriptive words to show your characters emotions instead of telling the reader what your character is feeling.

Take this for example:

(Telling) Jon was angry.

(Showing) Jon stomped into the room and slammed his door shut. Fingers clenched deep into his palms, almost to the point of bleeding and if he gritted his teeth more, they would break apart. The mirror was his first victim, and it shattered when it met his fist. The blood didn’t slow him down as he reached for his computer monitor and hurled it through the glass window. The posters ripped off the wall, and the mattress broke in half from his fists. And when nothing was left, he stood in the middle of the room, in the wreckage, and bit down on his bloody hand. Hard. And screamed before the tears escaped his eyes.

Bad example, because it was quick, but you see how one draws you in more than the other? Why?

It all comes down to this.

What we imagine is much more powerful than what we were told. When we are told that Jon was angry, we only assumed he would act as though we were angry. When we are angry, do we punch mirrors? Toss computer monitors? Tear our posters? Shatter our windows? No, we don’t. Most of us anyway.

But when we are showed how angry he is, we can only imagine how angry he must be in reality. Always remember this rule: our imagination is a powerful tool. Give the readers hints through actions and the environment, then let them figure out what is going on and how the character feels.

When you are describing your characters, keep this in mind as well.

(Telling): Josh was a punk.

(Showing): Josh walked in then and leaned against the door frame with a cigarette in his mouth. On his arm, a tattoo of skulls and names traced in ink ran up until it hid underneath leather studded jacket. He took a puff of his cigarette and blew it in my direction and the smoke hid his purple hair, shaved cleanly on both edges and made a tall Mohawk. Inside his pocket, a jackknife. I froze. I couldn’t breathe..

Now im not well versed in the punk scene, so forgive me. But you see how the showing is much stronger than the telling? We get the idea that Josh is a punk because of how he acts and how he looks. He blows smoke in the narrator’s face, so he’s inconsiderate. He leans against the wall so he’s carefree. He has a tattoo, a Mohawk, and a studded leather jacket, so he doesn’t look anything like the conventional person would.

Another good way to describe a person’s personality is to have the surrounding others react to him or her. Like in the same example, when the narrator catches sight of the jackknife, she instantaneously becomes afraid. So not only is Josh a punk (as described by his actions towards the narrator, and how the narrator and the audience sees his appearance) but we also know that he is violent, as seen how the narrator reacts to the sight of the knife. In that single paragraph, we get glimpses into Josh’s personality not by how the author tells it, but by how Josh’s appearance and actions are described and how the narrator reacts to it.

Be like a detective. Give clues so that the reader can deduce how a person is. The same thing can be said about emotions and environments.

If you want an environment to be memorable, your character has to react to it.

(Telling) There was a bed and on the other side of the room, there was a window directly above a desk.

(Showing) I opened up the door and immediately walked into the dark bedroom. I dropped my luggage to the floor, which made a loud clank. Something broke, I’m sure, but right now, my eyes were closing despite my best efforts. It also didn’t help me that the bed felt like a warm cloud. Before my eyes shut, the last thing I gazed upon was the open window, where the moonlight was shining through onto a desk. That is where I shall write my project.

Another terrible example, but you know what I mean. In this entire scene, the most memorable thing is the bed, because we remember how the narrator reacted to it. It was warm and comfortable; enough to make him almost instantaneously fall asleep.

Some authors like to describe things in extraneous detail. Like someone spent an entire page describing a door one time. Unless that particular object is of importance aka relative to the plot, omit it.

In this case, the narrator who described the door in detail remembered it so because when he walked through that door, his entire life was changed. So it worked.

Also, be careful of filtering.

Filtering is when you use a word that filters the experience. These words and sentences are also called ‘thought verbs’ and they draw the reader out of the character, when you ultimately want the reader and the character to be one.

Examples of filters are:

1) He decided to turn left.

2) She thought about it for a moment.

Simple fixes to these.

For the first one, you could easily just remove the thought verb ‘decided’.

1) He turned left

The second example is more complicated, but could still be fixed through some showing.

2) When he finally revealed to her that her best friend was in love with her, she sat there in silence and stared off into the ocean waves.

By removing the filter words, we stay drawn to the characters. We stay connected. And telling and filtering breaks those connections.

But there is a time and a place for everything. You don’t need to show everything, and you don’t want to tell everything.

The way I think of it, think of telling as reflexive and showing as emotional. In scenes where you want to elicit the characters emotions, show them. In fast paced scenes where the characters have no time to think, tell them. It’s really, all about the pacing.

Now onto my review of James Dashner’s the Maze Runner.

The reason why I talked about Show, don’t Tell is because the Maze Runner is ALL TELLING AND NO SHOWING.

We are constantly told that Thomas is angry. That he wants to punch someone. We are never shown how angry he is. It’s really hard to get invested into a character when the POV character sounds like a damn drone. I’ll discuss POV characters in a later rant.

Which isn’t to say that the book is entirely bad. The fast paced action sequences were actually pretty exciting. And that’s what telling is good for. When your character doesn’t have time to think, you should tell.

But don’t make everything tell. The emotion is where the novel failed. And it failed miserably, enough to not make me read the sequels and the prequel.
I think one of the lines that made me want to throw the book out of the moving bus window was: Then Thomas snapped. He completely and utterly snapped.

-furiously bangs head on desk-

Spoilers!

A perfect example of this is at the end of Maze Runner where Chuck is killed by Gally and Thomas mourns his death.

I didn’t feel anything at this scene at all. It was just another scene to me. It felt forced.

And here’s why:

Thomas and Chuck never really did anything for or with each other. Chuck is barely mentioned throughout the length of the novel, and even Thomas’s promise to get Chuck out was forced too because it came from nowhere.

Now I am going to compare this to another death: Rue from the Hunger Games.

In a lot of ways, the characters are similar. They are both characters that the protagonists care deeply about and when they die, it has an everlasting impact on the protagonists. But the writing makes the impact different, as well as their circumstances. Chuck is to Thomas as Rue is to Katniss (supposedly).

So what makes Rue’s death so much more powerful than Chuck’s?

It’s simple: Thomas has no relation to Chuck other than he is the kindest person in the Glade. Thomas knows nothing about Chuck, and Chuck knows nothing about himself. The best way to add emotional attachment in between these characters is to have them do things together. Suffer hardships. Show that they are best friends.

With Rue, not only do we get that she is the oldest of her family, but she also loves music, just like Katniss. Also what makes her death notable was that she is the youngest competitor in the games. So it’s already heavily loaded even before you get to the fact that only one person can win the games.

The biggest and most impactful part that makes Rue so significant is how much she means to Katniss. She sees Rue in the same light that she sees her younger sister, Prim. Young and innocent, and totally undeserving of the Capitol’s wrath. We see to which extent Katniss went to save Prim from the Hunger Games. We are already shown how she sacrificed herself for Prim, and therefore she was willing to do the same for Rue. And when she is with Rue, she makes a mental promise to herself that if only one person is to win the games, it has to be Rue. Unfortunately, the tragic irony happens when Rue is caught during Katniss’s plan to sabotage the Careers and as a result, Rue dies. So instead of Katniss sacrificing herself for Rue, Rue sacrificed herself for Katniss, so that Katniss would win the games. She agreed on the plan after all.

Then when Rue dies, Katniss does things for her in honor of her memory. She creates a bed of flowers for Rue for all of Panem to see. That they aren’t just pawns in some game. That they are people.

It’s not over. And this was the kicker for me that had me crying on a bus ride to work that earned me a couple of strange stares. The night after Rue’s death, Katniss is feeling horrible and hungry. She feels like she failed Rue and Prim simultaneously. But she gets a package of bread with seeds in it. The bread is from District 11, where Rue was from. Katniss appreciates this offering, especially after considering how late in the game it is, and the price of delivering food for the competitors is really high. She assumes that the poor District 11 must have scrounged up every penny they had to send her the bread as a token of appreciation for her acts for Rue.

All of these things show us that Katniss and Rue have a genuine sisterly connection and is also an example of how to write a death.

For a death to matter, the MC must have an emotional attachment to the dead character before he dies. Thomas had little to no emotional attachment to Chuck before he died.

The death must linger after it has happened. Rue’s death lingers farther past book one of THG and leaves Katniss feeling terrible. Like a failure. Thomas still didn’t seem to care that much about Chuck mainly because he knew nothing about him and they did practically nothing together.

The death of someone affects everyone who ever knew the person even if only for a little moment. If you have read all of THG, Rue’s death also didn’t affect Katniss and District 11, but Peeta as well. He paints a picture of Rue in the testing room before the game in Catching Fire. Chuck’s death affected nobody else other than Thomas, and even then it felt forced.

PS: I would even go as far as to say that the death of Rue sparked the beginning of the rebellion. It was only then that Katniss realized Peeta’s words. They aren’t pawns in a game. They are people.

Because we are shown that Katniss and Rue had a deep connection, her death was much more significant. It touched all of us who read it. We were never shown the connection between Thomas and Chuck, but instead just told through extraneous dialogue and terrible writing. Therefore it’s less significant.

That in itself proves the power of showing. After all, showing is only the words that put the power of the imagination at work. Especially since the imagination has the power to elicit powerful emotions. Remember that the imagination has more power than you understand.