Character is not reflected by what we say, or even by what is intend, it is a reflection of what we do.- Anonymous
Values are the basic beliefs that determine our behaviour. Not all values are ethical, some are neutral or non-ethical.
Values fall into two categories:
Stated – what individuals say are important to them
Operational – what the character habitually does.
If the reader knows the character’s values they can predict how the character will react as the conflicts are heightened.
The values do not always need to be explained in full. If we follow the characters’ behaviour as it is revealed we can guess their values.
Some values are taught by family, friends, schools or religions.
Sometimes what organisations or individuals say they believe is opposite to what they actually practise. When this happens we call it hypocrisy.
What values does your character hold?
How do they conflict with other characters’ beliefs?
What values do the different social groups teach?
Consider where there could be inconsistencies and hypocrisy.
Ethics define moral rights and wrongs. They transcend culture, ethnicity, and are relevant to all socioeconomic conditions. Ethics are the “should” and the “ought” of life.
Morals are ethical principles. They are founded on fundamental principles of right conduct rather than legalities. Morals are always the same. Immorality varies from generation to generation.
These values are aligned to show values which often conflict.
Growth Authority – bureaucratic
Cooperation – service Control and power
Love of life Love of objects and order
Reflection Instant action
Sharing Possessiveness and ownership
Security by trust and knowledge Security by property
Intimacy important – reveals self Inhibition of intimacy
Perceptive and sensitive to people Formalisation and
intimacy and care
Reactions are sincere and human Smiles are flashed
and overly polite
Not interfering, accepting yet caring Interfering – must control
and supportive others
Change accepted as inevitable Hierarchy structure more important
Change is desirable self loving Change and experimentation
makes characters loveable
Value of individual importance Ritualised social standard of
and values emphasised dress, procedure
Width of vision tends to be Narrow vision tends to
embracing and analytical be prescriptive
Concern for truth and reality Concern for appearances
Poetic in thought and language Literal in thought
Accepts all – understanding Narcissic – loves self and
and tolerant likes self – rejects others
Non-material spiritual regard to life Death, materialism, techniques and technology all fascinate
Intrinsic motivation – faith in the Extrinsic motivation – gains are material
rightness of life, nature accomplishing
growth (providential.) Anything negative
or evil is always counter-productive
Human nature weak but good. Human nature believed to
Human nature fails in self-asserting be aggressive
patriarchal value system
Respects integrity Respects physical looks
Love of life, sex, relating Love of sports, war, intrigue
Truth, essence, empathy, experience Honour, pride, success, nationalism,
of self motivates in progress. pleasure – above are the most
Pain is lack of progress. noble feelings.
Sorrow is rejection into aloneness. Fear of failure motives.
Joy is unification within
Creative ie life is sustained Destructive self defensive
Values symbolised by womanliness Values symbolised by manliness
vague, valourous, valued, vapid, vengeful, veracious, vexed, vicious, victorious, volatile, voracious, vulnerable
"If you know what your values are
If you know what your standards are
If you know what is important to you
If you have a point of view
Then you have a sense of direction.
Then you know where you are going."
~ Mildred Newman
There is light at the end of the tunnel; never has the alphabet seemed so long ;)