Another topic (was Re: Identifying with characters)

Sally Odgers sodgers at
Mon Dec 1 21:20:54 EST 2003

> Why would you use "that"? "Who" is for people, characters are people,

Not always, by a very long chalk. A character is a sentient being in a
story. It can be a cornflake box on legs. Mind you, I fought this one out
ages ago with a book that never made it to print. One of the characters was
The Teacher, a robotic teaching machine with personality. The editor said I
should refer to Teacher as "it" while I held out for "he". Teacher matched
variables in his computer brain to come up with appropriate responses... in
my opinion that's what humans do anyway.

I was equally cross when a vet kept referring to our JR terrier as "it".
With a name like "Tess", couldn't he make an informed guess that she was a


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