Feb 18, 2014


Where does the expression "The good Samaritan" come from?

The Bible tells the story of a man traveling alone on the road. Suddenly he gets thrown on the ground, robbed and beaten. His aggressors then run away leaving the half dead victim by the side of the road.
First a priest then a Levite passing by that road spot the body but decide it's not their responsibility to do something about it. Afterwards, a Samaritan finds the man and stops to succor him, saving his life.
The moral of this story is that people belonging to different communities (Samaritans and Jewish) can be good to each other. Mutual help and human empathy should go beyond different nationalities and beliefs. Samaritans used to be pointed at as selfish people, while priest and Levites had a good reputation. Judging a person from his reputation is always a bad idea.

Why is "The good Samaritan" a good character for my novel?

Readers love to hear about life values and principles. Day to day life can be dull and pointless. Dreams of a fully lived, spontaneous, significant existence fill every human being. Novels bring to us such a world, where characters  suddenly drop everything in their lives to follow a good cause. It's a warming feeling to believe that if tomorrow we need help, it's at hand. 

Recently, literature has come to prefer anti-heroes to flawless heroes. 
The fearless strong Prince Charming has stepped aside, leaving the scene to a more real, far-from-perfect, Everyday Joe. Hero for a day, casual hero, nerdy hero. 

This tendency has reached its peak when the antagonist has started replacing the protagonist. 
Killers, psychos and tyrants are introduced under a new light that shows how they were the victims of a cruel society or a sick family environment that made them the way they are today. 
Readers feel sympathetic towards the dark past of the anti-hero; they learn to love his useless attempts to fit in a society that keeps rejecting him. Considering what he had to go through, it starts to make sense how he would eventually give up and become the bad one. 
Whatever evil the character has done, the happy ending is a must. After countless obstacles and adventures, finally, thanks to the power of love and goodness, the anti-hero saves the world, keeps the girl, becomes a paladin of justice. 
The very person who nobody would have bet on is the good Samaritan who stops on his tracks to save the day.

How do you imagine "The good Samaritan"?

What does "The good Samaritan" look like in your mind? I like to refer to HE in my posts to avoid the distraction of repeating HE/SHE every line. The good Samaritan may very well be a woman, or a kid, or an animal, or an alien. 
What genre do you see The good Samaritan well fit for? 
Have you ever used such a character before in your writing?
Share your ideas and advice with us at ALL YOU CAN WRITE.

Have a good novel!