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Piety: Which Characters Have it? Which Don’t?

Piety image Copyright 2016 Joan Y. Edwards

“Piety: Which Characters Have it? Which Don’t?” by Joan Y. Edwards

Piety is a gift of the Holy Spirit. Piety means holiness, reverence for God, saintliness, respect for the creator of the universe
Synonyms: respect, devotion, piousness, godliness, religious, fidelity, faithfulness, grace, passion for God, spirituality
Antonyms: disrespect, irreverence, atheism, treachery, faithlessness, ungodliness, overzealous, desperation, demon, sinful, evil

Fictional characters and true life people have both positive and negative traits. Sometimes these traits get tangled up in a battle within the person or with outside forces.  When you’re writing a fictional story, recanting a memoir, or putting a spin on a time in another person’s life, it helps to put things in perspective. What was it that spiraled the trait into a frenzy? What was the inciting incident that set two opposite goals or two emotions into a twirling pattern like a tornado in the character’s life. That’s what the readers want to know.  Your job as a writer is to put it in words that show the situation clearly so that readers feel the emotion and glue their eyes to the pages and don’t come up for air until the end.

Here’s a look at the fiction and nonfiction characters in books, TV, or movies with or without piety. When you read my list, you may not agree with the ones I listed. However, your mind will take you to visions of piety and evil at its highest level. When you have one character who is almost an angel and thrust him beside an evil one, there will be a change made to one or the other. It’s because hate and fear rattles the basic core of humanity.

Characters who have piety

  1. Serpico in the movie Serpico (biography) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0070666/
  2. Mohandas K. Ghandi in Ghandi (autobiography, book, film) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0083987/
  3. Anne in Diary of Anne Frank (autobiography, book, film) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052738/
  4. Helen Keller in The Story of My Life (autobiography, book) http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/821611.The_Story_of_My_Life
  5. Frederick Douglas in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (autobiography, book) http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36529.Narrative_of_the_Life_of_Frederick_Douglass
  6. Father Andrew in God’s Smuggler (Autobiography, book) by Father Andrew with John And Elizabeth Sherrill http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/824062.God_s_Smuggler
  7. Brent Jeffs in Lost Boy (Autobiography) by Brent W. Jeffs, Maia Szalavitz http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6314709-lost-boy

Characters who don’t have piety

  1. Jake La Motta in The Raging Bull (biography, book, film) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0081398/
  2. Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street (biography, book, film) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0993846/
  3. Sue Sylvester in Glee (TV Series) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1327801/
  4. The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz (book, film) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032138/ 
  5. Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights (book, film) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1238834/
  6. Professor Umbridge from Harry Potter series (books, films) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0241527/
  7. Bob Ewell from To Kill a Mockingbird (autobiography of Harper Lee, book, film) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056592/

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Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2016 Joan Y. Edwards