An article on the brilliance of the character: Humpty Alexander Dumpty
*WARNING, Puss in Boots spoilers ahead*
I admit, before I did One Year Adventure Novel, Humpty was a little confusing. Through the whole movie, he stays true to character and has a common motive, but how many different things he does was a little strange.
And then I learned to take apart character roles for writing purposes.
Whoever was the creator of Humpty Dumpty, you are a genius.
Going back through my OYAN textbook, I found that he fills five of the necessary roles. One of these roles is sometimes filled by two people, but barely ever does it work to have one character fill two.
Still, Humpty manages to fill five. I’ll explain.
The ally is simply a person who helps the hero achieve the story goal. The friend can be a friend, a companion, an acquaintance, a total stranger, even someone the hero dislikes. The ally ought to have reasons of his own for helping the hero; his reasons may be selfish or selfless, noble or base. Often, the ally suffers as a result of helping the hero. And because he suffers, the hero suffers too. ~ One Year Adventure Novel Textbook
From the time that they meet, Humpty and Puss, the two outcasts, are drawn to each other. They are the best of friends in their childhood and teenage years, though they often get into trouble. Though they go their separate ways with hard feelings, in the end, they reconcile.
If your hero is going to learn something that will cause him to change by the end of the story, he will likely need someone to provide some sort of life lessons. He will need a teacher.
This is where the Mentor comes in. The mentor provides training, lost or forbidden secrets, hope, drive, and a promise of potential. The mentor is a character who unlocks a New World to your hero. As your novel progresses, the mentor will be a guide not only to your hero, but to the reader as well. ~ One Year Adventure Novel Textbook
Humpty introduces Puss to the legend of the beans, which becomes both of their life goals. He is undoubtedly the expert on the beans of legend and is an absolute genius. Almost his entire life is spent studying the beans, how and where to plant them and pretty much every single thing associated with the beans.
He is a vital member of the team and teaches Puss in Boots and Kitty Softpaws many things along the way.
I couldn’t find the OYAN blurb on this one, but a betrayer is written as a very good story element to add. Really good writers can completely surprise the readers (or watchers), dropping only a few obscure hints, as was done in Puss in Boots.
Humpty betrays not once, but twice. Once, before the movie even starts and once right at the end. The first betrayal was a little bit expected, but still hurt. And the second was so well planned it’s mind boggling.
Need I say more?
I think Humpty has proven himself as a betrayer as well.
Originally, Jack and Jill are set up as the obvious villains of the story. But after the second betrayal it is shown that all along they were Humpty Dumpty’s paid stooges. Humpty planned pretty much every little thing about their whole quest . . . and all for revenge on Puss. However, Humpty is a very understandable and almost sympathetic villain who turns good in the end. A very good villain in my mind.
Someone To Die
The person to die was also an element mentioned in OYAN. Their reason was that the danger is proved as real and the story world harsh in the death of at least one person. The hero must lose something, and the most emotional choice would be a friend.
So, sadly, after changing his ways for good , Humpty makes the valiant choice to sacrifice his life to save San Ricardo and Puss in Boots.
It’s a sad moment, but also shows Humpty’s inner good in more ways than one. After letting go of the rope and allowing Puss to save his own life, Humpty falls and cracks on a piece of the bridge. But after cracking open, egg yolk and white aren’t what show, but a pure golden egg inside him. (Not sure how that’s possible, but it’s heartbreaking)
So, there you have my breakdown of the amazing character creation that is Humpty Alexander Dumpty.
I think he was worth a blog post on a writing blog, don’t you?
Please tell me what you think!
8 thoughts on “Character Study: Humpty Alexander Dumpty”
Did you finish your OYAN novel? I didn’t get to finish my own but it is still the reason I love writing.
I did, but I found out in July that the deadline was in august, so 9 of my chapters got finished in august! 😛
During that time, mom said I was writing like a fury, so she gave me my name. 🙂
My OYAN novel is under the tab “My books” on here, if you want to look.
I will it sounds great.
Wow! That’s amazing. (I knew that the movie was brilliant, but I didn’t realize just how brilliant it was until reading this post!)
I know! I was just studying random movie characters, and when I started on humpty, it just kept going… and going… and going. I was like, wow. Okay, he gets a blog post. 😛
I actually had an idea a while back to create a sort of focus group on writing heroes. The villains have their own already–if you’ve ever come across a group called “the Good-Sinful Alliance”–what about the good guys? That’s what The Brooklyn Project is all about. Basically, all the contributors would have a page with a mission statement and links to other blogs contributing to the project, and the only requirement is to post once in a while and check in on the other contributors, read and comment on their work, repost their posts if necessary, etc.
[…] have a whole blog post on how well written Humpty is, actually. An egg from a nursery rhyme. Who woulda thought, […]