The post opened up a list of views where every writer differed; few believed that strong characters made for a good story, while few said that they were partial to a good plot irrespective of the appeal of the protagonist.
I hasten to deny that the reason I did not connect with the protagonist was not because of the fact that he was an old man. If that was the case, I would surely connect with every book housing younger protagonists.
My good friend Jai Joshi asked me a very interesting question, “I'm wondering about your experience reading this book about the elderly man. You say you didn't connect with him, but did you connect with any of the other characters? Sometimes it's possible to not be into the main character at all but be fascinated by the minor characters. Many times for me during reads it's the minor characters who have carried me through the story.”
Jai’s question made me think. To be completely honest, I had not given the ensemble or the supporting characters much thought. But I loved each and every one and their individual stories made for an exceptionally good read: they ranged from a domestic help to a flower seller, from a butcher who also moonlighted as a school teacher to a sewage cleaner. These were people I had no connection with, yet I bonded with them, while the main character who had aspirations of doing service to society and was a well read individual was the one I should have connected with.
This made me realize that the reason I connected with most of the supporting characters was because I felt sorry for their plight. I connected with them emotionally, while the main character left me cold. When we feel sorry for some characters, we kind of forge a connection: albeit a bond of sympathy.
Does this happen with you all? Do you end up connecting with characters because your heart bleeds for them? Does sympathy play a huge role in making you like few characters and dislike few others. Do the underdogs get your attention? Please share your views.