Earlier today the kids were watching an animated movie called Treasure Planet. I started to post something on Facebook about it, and it got so long that I decided I would just write a blog about it instead. Then when I tried to delete it, I posted it instead-- well, half of it anyway, ha ha :) Another case of technology getting the better of me!
As usual when the kids watch something, I hear more than I actually see. From the dining room, I could hear Long John Silver talking to Jim; how he was essentially taking him under his wing and befriending him. I've never read the book, but I've seen Muppet Treasure Island many times. If you haven't seen either, and don't know the story, the important thing to know right now is that Jim, the main character, is a teenage (or around that age) kid, and Long John Silver is ultimately the bad guy.
It bothers me that the bad guy is being nice to the kid. Bad guys are supposed to be bad, good guys are supposed to be good. Bad guys are not supposed to be nice! That's what I was thinking to myself after hearing it. And don't think that Long John was pretending so Jim wouldn't catch on that he's the bad guy. He's not. When you watch, you get a definite sense that Long John has a soft spot for this kid who has no father and is out on his own.
Again, I haven't read the book, but it's a book that's considered a Classic. It was written I-don't-know-when, and is still around today, and I've discovered that those old Classics often do have something to them that made them "Classics" in the first place. As a writer myself, I can tell you that you want the characters in your story to seem as real as possible. Real people aren't simply "bad guys" or "good guys". They have stories, backgrounds-- they're three dimensional. This is why Long John Silver is being nice to a lonely kid. Because Long John is not merely a villain, he's a man, he's a human being, and human beings are complex.
In real life, sometimes "bad guys" are honorable. Sometimes they do the right thing. Sometimes they tell the truth. In real life, sometimes the "good guys" are jerks. Sometimes they're selfish. Sometimes they lie. It's not simple or clear cut all the time. That's what makes life hard, and challenging, and even fun at times-- it's not always simple.
Where am I going with all this? Honestly I have no idea! Ha ha :) But I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to read the book now.