Monday, November 30, 2015

Dissecting the Male POV--Part Two by Patty Smith Hall

Today, we’re going to dive right into the second part of dissecting the male POV, the inherited characteristics of each and every man to ever grace the planet, attributes that are sometime taken for granted when we’re mapping out our characters. If you missed part one of the series, don’t worry—you can find it here.

But let’s begin. I don’t know about you but I love to see all the pictures of everyone’s babies and grandchildren that pop up on Facebook. In each sweet face, you can see tiny glimpses of the past—grandma’s nose, Daddy’s blue eyes, Mommy’s dimple. A characteristic imprinted into their DNA. But doesn’t stop there—how many times have you heard that a child got their single-minded determination from their father or their sweet nature from their mom?

But what about Adam, the first man? Did he inherit any innate characteristics from his Father? Absolutely! In fact, man inherited two characteristics, one of which we’re going to talk about today—that of the provider.

Think back to those first few moments after God discovered Adam and Eve in the Garden after they’d eaten the forbidden fruit. Even in their sin, God had so much love for the humans He’d created, He provided them with clothing to cover their nakedness. Adam saw this and it awoke in him this need to serve, to make sure Eve, their children and those he feels responsible for were taken care of.

It’s also the curse God had given Adam after the fall (Genesis 3:17-18.) Men may not like to work but they do it anyway because the need to provide for their family is so strong. They rank each other by their job; the better the position, the more respect the other men give him. So to be unemployed brings shame to most men which strikes at his self confidence and make him think he’s ‘less’ of a man because he can’t provide. Providing gives a man meaning and purpose in his life. Men consider it an honor to provide.

But there are different levels of how the provider characteristic plays out in a man’s life. The man with an underdeveloped need to provide lacks ambition and drive. These are the guys you find playing video games or messing with their cars. Think Howard Wolowitz from The Big Bang Theory. Here’s a guy with a degree from MIT, hanging out with all these research scientists and does he feel the need to further his career by going back to school? No, he’s too busy playing video games and chasing women while still living at home with his mother. Howard finally starts to grow up once he gets married but some men in this category don’t. They feel little urgency to provide, and this lack of ambition hurts the men themselves as well as the women who love them.

The man with an overdeveloped need to provide place a great deal of emphasis on their career, their goals and their ambition. They’re workaholics who may provide material things but spend so much time working, they don’t nurture their relationships or take care of their spiritual needs. Sometimes, the need to provide gets them into debt, or they become so obsessed with providing for the future, they fail to provide their family with basic needs. An example of this would be Howard Langston (Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character) in  the movie, Jingle All the Way. Howard is so involved in providing a beautiful house and a good life for his family, he fails to nurture his relationship wit his son. He breaks his promise to be at a karate belt promotion because he’s too busy making a business deal. He forgets to pick up the only toy his son asks for at Christmas.

Keeping this trait and it’s variations in mind when you’re developing your male characters will make him feel real to your readers.

Next month, part three--Man as the Protector

Home from the war, army nurse Thea Miller is determined to adopt her late sister's baby and begin a new life. But someone else has the same intentions—the town sheriff and Thea's old friend, Mack Worthington. Now, in order to keep her niece in the family, Thea must reach an agreement with him.

Mack isn't sure Thea—whose actions once hurt him badly—is committed to baby Sarah. And a judge may never approve a single-parent adoption for either of them. But what if they got married? It would be a marriage in name only. Yet the more time Mack spends with Thea, the more he begins to believe their pretend family can become the real one they've both been longing for.


Robin Mason said...

i might need to save this one for future reference!! just reading the title i realized my male characters tend to be "shadow people"—they're there and have a significant role, but there's not much about them. (lots of psychology in that statement!)
methinks, i need to fix this in future storylines!!

Patty Smith Hall said...

Robin, there are some great books on this subject--One that I recommend is What Men Refuse to Tell Their Wives. It's an eye-opener!