The topic of my today’s report is “Jason Taylor as a dynamic character”. From the very beginning, I’d like to consider the term “dynamic character” explicitly. A dynamic character is a person who changes over time, usually as a result of resolving a central conflict or facing a major crisis. A dynamic character is one that does undergo an important change in the course of the story.
More specifically, the changes that we are referring to as being “undergone” here are not changes in circumstances, but changes in some sense within the character in question — changes in insight or understanding (of circumstances, for instance), or changes in commitment, in values. No doubt, great changes in one’s circumstances might motivate a change in one’s outlook on life. And if it results in this sort of change, we are confronted with a dynamic character. “Black Swan Green,” provides a deep psychological insight into the mind of a thirteen year old, through the thirteen chapters that chronicle a year in his life.
But not just any year – his 13th year, aptly described by one of the characters as: “Ackkk, a wonderful, miserable age. Not a boy, not a teenager. Impatience but timidity too. Emotional incontinence”. Being thirteen is not easy for Jason. His stammer has destroyed his confidence, and he frequently hears the voice of his ‘Unborn Twin’ telling him he isn’t good enough, that he must do better, and stop being weak and childish. During this fateful year of his life, Jason undergoes the strong changes, which affect on his personality and are reflected in his own development.
On the one hand, the relationships in the family influence Jason greatly. There is Julia Jason Taylor’s older sister, who is his older sister, often referring to her younger brother as the ‘Thing. ’ There are his parents, his father a man whoose entire life is full of broken dreams. His entire life revolves around that company in which he works that demands so much of him. Throughout the years that he himself lived in the village of Black Swan Green, he admits to his son that he has meant to take his children to the Goose Fair, but he always was too busy at work.
His mother herself, like most wives has a feeling of competition, with others in ‘suburbia,’ to have a nice garden, and a beautiful kitchen. On the other hand, the society has a great contribution to Jason’s development. Jason’s main preoccupation is his status at school. He describes himself as ‘middle-ranking’. However, at one point during the year Jason shows some unexpected insolence which impresses the popular crowd. As a result he is invited to join the village’s prestigious secret society, the Spooks. However, after passing the challenging initiation test, his conscience wins out and he is promptly thrown out.
The Spooks then turn on him, nicknaming him ‘Maggot’, and his social status is sent plummeting, causing him a great deal of anxiety for the rest of the story. There is a constant battle between Jason being his true self and Jason doing his not to be an outcast in their town’s social circle. As the story unfolds, Jason swings from opposite ends of the school’s popularity scale, meets mysterious people who made strong impressions. In “January Man” (chapter one), there is a sense of mystery which surrounds the House in the Woods. There is a bit of the same that surrounds the vicarage. What’s more, Mme Crommelynck is a mysterious figure as well.
She offers Jason advice about his poetry. This advice translates into life lessons, in my opinion. Meanwhile, tensions grow more significant in the marriage of his parents, and his mother gets a job for which she is suited, and his father has a career crisis. The highs and lows of youth occur in the shadow of increasing threats from the school’s bullies. Jason also struggles to fit in, and be liked, while trying to stay unique and true to himself. This book is narrated entirely from the perspective of one character – a thoughtful, earnest thirteen-year-old awkwardly navigating his way through adolescence and the other vagaries of life.
Throughout the course of the book, Jason Taylor (the protagonist)’s thoughts, personal growth and interactions with other characters – friends, bullies, girls, parents, other adults – are a constant source of humor, pity, sadness, anger, triumph and, occasionally, devastating, childlike insights. Jason Taylor does grow and change over the course of the 13 months in which the story is set. He loses his naivety and bolsters his poor self esteem by learning to stand up against those who bully him. Now he can tell the truth, he overcomes the problem of stammering, believes in himself.
In the end, he singles out against the background of ignorant masses. The world is no more tumbling down around him. As Black Swan Green progresses though, Jason slowly acclimates himself to the change around and within him. This is seen in his changing attitude towards aging and death. Eventually he sees death not as an end point but merely just another stage of life that falls away, “even death sort of dies. ” At the end of the novel he even acknowledges, perhaps with a hint of anger, that it is impossible to remain he same as life will always be in flux. To illustrate a great amount of psychological growth within the character, I’d like to quote a passage from the book — “The world won’t leave things be. It’s always injecting endings into beginnings. Leaves tweezer themselves from these weeping willows. Leaves fall into the lake and dissolves into slime. Where’s the sense in that? Mum and dad fell in love, had Julia, had me. They fall out of love… The world never stops unmaking what the world never stops making. But who says the world has to make sense?