Imaginar es pensar III (última entrega), por Alejandro Gándara


mano con llave en la puerta4. Sobre el personaje

Quién es. También llamado personaje con alma, debido a que en las narraciones hay otros personajes que no la tienen, como los escenarios o la voz narrativa. Esta idea de con alma ya da algunas pistas de su tratamiento. Hay que conocerle bien, hay que sacarlo a la luz, hay que desvelarle. Puesto que el alma no es lo primero que se presenta a la vista en los seres humanos, ello supone que hay que utilizar un procedimiento para descubrirla o llegar hasta ella. Este procedimiento en narrativa se llama acción. En la vida normal se llama matrimonio, psicoanalista o agencia de detectives: también acciones, aunque no necesariamente narrativas (la mayor parte de las veces son incontables o no merece la pena contarlas).

El personaje está por tanto unido a la acción con un propósito de desvelamiento. Todo ello sumado es lo que proporciona el tema. Es decir, personaje más acción igual a desvelamiento. Midiendo, por decirlo mal aunque pronto, el valor de cada uno de esos términos en una narración, nosotros alcanzamos a conocer el valor de la narración misma.

En resumen, es alguien de quien estamos obligados a saber. A saber todo. Cómo viste, qué le pasó en la infancia, si está enamorado o no, cuánto gana, en qué trabaja, qué lleva en los bolsillos, etc. Que estemos obligados a saber de él, no significa que estemos obligados a contarlo todo. El relato contará lo necesario desde el punto de vista de lo que el relato quiera contar. Pero el autor sabrá más e incluso dará la impresión de que lo sabe. Si da la impresión de que no lo sabe, el artificio saltará por los aires y se producirá un defecto de verosimilitud: no le creeremos y no nos creeremos el relato.

Cómo se construye. Hay dos grandes tipos de personaje, y un subtipo, digamos. Todos ellos arrastrarán un conflicto a través de su acción en el mundo.

El primer tipo es el de los individuos psicológicamente extraordinarios, de rasgos o aptitudes singulares, cuya singularidad marca el ritmo de la acción. La fuerza combativa de Aquiles, Virgilio bajando a los infiernos, el manchego loco con la bacinilla en la cabeza, la elementalidad de Kaspar Hauser, Gregorio Samsa convertido en insecto, los gemelos de Tournier, Batman o Homer Simpson. Esta singularidad acarrea el conflicto per se, en tanto el mundo no está compuesto de singularidades sino de reglas y objetos comunes. Generalmente, y sólo generalmente, el desvelamiento que llevan a cabo estos personajes no es tanto de sí mismos (aunque también) como de lo que les rodea.

El segundo tipo, más extendido en la literatura contemporánea, es, digamos, el individuo común enfrentado a situaciones comunes, en el que ni los individuos ni la situación acaban siendo tan comunes. La capacidad de lo común para revelar lo monstruoso, lo oculto, lo imprevisible, lo desequilibrado es consustancial a lo común. Si uno se para a pensarlo, lo común no es más que una homogeneización de lo que es diverso y por tanto lo diverso late en sus entrañas. Cualquier cosa lo desbarata: un despido laboral, una enfermedad, un amor, un accidente, un cumpleaños, un coche nuevo, unas vacaciones, el vecino de enfrente, un error burocrático, el exceso de rutina…

En la construcción del primer tipo hay una observación del mundo y un rasgo, por así decir, denunciable (basta con que sea relevante). Por ejemplo, el mundo está loco, de modo que voy a construir un personaje verdaderamente loco para que se vea que el mundo está más loco que él (Don Quijote). O bien: el mundo se comporta como una máquina predecible y veamos qué pasa cuando coloco en él lo impredecible (Gregorio Samsa). Vamos a dejarlo ahí.

El segundo tipo, y el que más nos atañe, es ciertamente complejo. Es en apariencia alguien normal que necesariamente va a revelar su anormalidad, bien porque emprende algo que le transforma, bien porque le toca padecer algo.

Aquí haré un inciso para decir que el individuo medio no existe ni en la realidad ni en la literatura. La media de cualquier cosa es una abstracción sin existencia. Cuando uno dice que la estatura media en España es de 1.70, bien pudiera suceder que no hubiera ningún español de 1.70, y todos estuvieran colocados en el 1.68 y en el 1.72, o peor: solamente encontráramos individuos de 1.40 y de dos metros (la realidad sería monstruosa y la abstracción normalizaría lo que es monstruoso). Identificarse con la media es identificarse con nada. Cuando uno dice que su personaje es un tipo común, no dice nada, igual que cuando lo retrata como médico o ama de casa o viajante.

Ciertamente la profesión, o uno u otros rasgos sociales dotan al personaje de características, pero es necesario que a ellas se sume la singularidad propia del individuo que es la que da forma e identidad al hecho de ser médico, ama de casa o viajante. No es lo mismo un médico ludópata que un médico obsesionado por su familia, ni un ama de casa que escribe novelas en los ratos en que la dejan en paz que un ama de casa apasionada por el petit-point.

Bien, la construcción de este personaje se hace mediante un doble movimiento: se eligen las características comunes que exige el relato (profesión, clase social, etc.) y a continuación se introduce el rasgo aleatorio (eso que no le convierte en media de nada).

Imaginemos que quiero contar la historia de un padre divorciado con su hijo, abandonados por la esposa y madre, respectivamente. Lo que me interesa contar de la historia (por las razones de experiencia que sean y por las impresiones profundas que sean) es cómo el padre cambia su vida a partir de ese momento. Como en resumidas cuentas de lo que estoy hablando es de cómo un padre tiene que bajar a la tierra de los asuntos domésticos y ocuparse de las pequeñas cosas de un individuo peligroso en trance de crecimiento, hago al padre aviador, dominado por la técnica y al albur de sus viajes, sin más orden ni concierto que sus planes de vuelo. Como además necesito que se ocupe del niño -dado que si es simplemente piloto, sin otro rasgo, es probable que acabe dejando al niño con la abuela o que le meta interno en un colegio-, haré que el personaje tenga una deficiencia profunda: problemas con la afectividad, con los sentidos, con el presente, con la responsabilidad hacia los otros, derivados de cualquier síndrome familiar que se me ocurra o de cualquier estrategia psicológica errónea que se me ocurra.

De esta forma conseguiré que el personaje pueda hacer lo que yo quiero que haga, y que sea verosímil. Tengamos en cuenta que si el personaje no está bien dotado para la acción que se propone en el relato, la inverosimilitud acecha. Precisamente esa singularidad (baja afectividad) bajo el manto de lo común (piloto de vuelo) es la que va a permitir que el personaje se mueva, evolucione y produzca identificaciones diversas con el lector y con el tema. En resumen, mal construido el personaje, relato imposible.

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