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David's emotions


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I am relatively new to Brandon's work. I read Mistborn 2 years ago and then kind of moved around other authors and other work for a long time. I finished reading Steelheart today and once again I was immensely impressed with the story pace. One of the things I felt was sorely lacking though was heart and emotion, especially from the main character. The scene that really made it hard for me to connect to the characters was when the reenter the bank underground. David see's his dead dad forever preserved in steel and has absolutely zero emotional reaction. Someone who is reliving the events he experienced as a young 8 year old. Zero emotional response to seeing his dead father. And then the other characters also have zero emotional support knowing what a normal person should feel in such a situation. If nothing else Davids convictions should have been renewed or whatever else, otherwise this scene has literally no bearing on the story because there is no emotion there. 

It was hard for me to connect with David from that point on. This is only exacerbated by his "relationship" with Megan.. but thats for another thread.

What do you think is the reason for this lack of emotion? And if David has become void of even these simple emotions over his father, why is his drive for revenge/ seeing his fathers dream become a reality so strong? I don't think it adds up.

Otherwise I enjoyed this book, but not as much as I did Mistborn.

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As far as i remember, his emotions were quite normal. There was a solemnity to the scene. Some people are just more reserved than others, and david is quite reserved. he shows emotion by the devotion he has for his mission.

Plus, he had steelheart to remember him of his father every single day. That should take away some impact.

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One thing to keep in mind is that Mistborn was written in third person and Steelheart was written in first. What works to convey emotions in one viewpoint won't work in the other--for instance, describing Vin's thoughts and physical reactions conveyed her emotions well when it was someone else telling her story, but David was telling his own story. People verbalize their emotions differently when telling their own stories.

Take the prologue, for example. In third person, such a traumatic event could be related like this:

"A pillar crashed and people ran, screaming. David covered his ears to block out the noise. People were screaming and Deathpoint was killing them and all he wanted was to go back in time, back to a moment when there was no need for that sort of screaming."

However, David was clearly traumatized by the event, so his narration goes like this:

"I don't remember how I felt. Isn't that odd?"

For an event like that, his reaction makes sense: He remembers what happened, but not what he felt moment to moment. That he was a child when it happened also has some bearing on how he tells the story.

Edited by TwiLyghtSansSparkles
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  • 2 weeks later...

David does have a coldness to him. The events in that bank seriously changed him (in a pre-Calamity world we'd probably call it a form of PTSD). However I don't think it's necessarily wrong or unreal that he is that way. Many people react to trauma differently and the reaction of either obsession with the event or some piece thereof (his obsessive notation and hatred of Epics, particularly Steelheart) and/or emotional disconnect is entirely appropriate and actually made the character feel more real to me.

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