chapter
ofthe
other truths"
Pages 1

One way to shake off the strictures of the structuralists and to identify these counter voices is to propose that character can exist in our consciousness as an element independent of the story in which the character was originally discovered. In reading, as in life, a sequence of events can lend itself to various interpretations depending upon the perspective or context in which the observer places the material. The literary work is more than a detailing of events. In the sphere of the reader's mind, character does not have to be reduced to minimal functions. Hochman, in his persuasive study of the dynamic "existence" of characters, argues that "a work of literature is an entity made up of things not there, a conjuring of absent nonexistent parts" (33). Thus, we do not respond passively to characters as they have been presented within the story, but rather we respond actively to them or even appropriate them (Harvey: 54,73, Ill). When we respond to the narrator in a negative way and reject his codes, we may reject his story. At the same time, one of the characters from that story may live on in the reader's mind. The details of Miriam's outrage at Moses that result in her being isolated from the community for seven days may blur, the reader may reject the alliance between God and prophet that results in punishment of Miriam, but the figure of Miriam, contentious in speech and vulnerable in illness, can live on in the reader's consciousness.