No I haven’t slipped a french word in my english A to Z. (I have plenty of opportunity on my french blog to do so.)

What is a raisonneur? It’s a person in a play or a  book embodying author’s viewpoint. Isn’t it interesting? That kind of role was encountered most frequently in European plays of the 17th and 18th centuries.

(…) [It’s] a type of narrator, but one who always remains in the action. Although participating in the action, the  has little direct effect on it, thus, furnishing this character with objectivity and, usually, credibility. The raisonneuraisonneurr is often a doubter, wishing to offer sound advice or to convince through reasoning. The character of Cleante in Tartuffe is a classic example of a raisonneur. As Orgon’s brother-in-law, he remains plausibly within the action, but his liberal point of view permits him to sermonize while continuing to maintain his place in the story.
(…) Despite an inclination to moralize, raisonneur (…) are most valuable when they are understood as part of the world of the play and not just sermonizers. For example, as a character Cleante expresses indignation when Orgon treats his religious scepticism as the ranting of an atheist.
(…) The words of a raisonneur are best understood as expressions of their own beliefs, not merely stuck on to explain the meaning of the play. – By James Thomas – Script Analysis for Actors, Directors, and Designers

When I write, I try most of the time to exclude my own opinions of a situation. Of course it can always pierce through in some characters, but most of the times my opinions are expressed by the emotions I try to trigger into the reader’s mind (heart?). I want them to feel anger in the face of injustice, for example.

So I wonder, who is the raisonneur in my stories. Or do I include such a thing.

One of my readers told me once after he read my book (the one I published in french) that he didn’t agree with my religious beliefs. I laughed. In that book I created a religion where there is supernatural occurring; the characters have visions of dead people warning them, etc. I didn’t argue about my religious beliefs, but it got me thinking about how much of my own beliefs or opinions I put into my stories.

There must be a lot… And at the same time I stand for the right to create characters that portray beliefs or opinions that are not my own. I remember in the 60’s 70’s and 80’s when viewers of television shows thought that, what was happening  was real. We associated the character to the actor so much that we didn’t make the difference between the two. Sometimes questions asked to writers are close to the same.

When I get silly question like if what happened to the character is autobiographical I answer with that question: “Do you really think that the author who created Hannibal Lecter, really eats human flesh?”

I might create a raisonneur for my own life… 😛

With great respect!



8 thoughts on “R is for Raisonneur

  1. As I began to read, I immediately thought of TARTUFFE and then you used it as an example. In my book The Bridge of Deaths, I incorporated a character who had a piece of me but heavily distorted , I did however have to give her the name CATALINA, my work is a blend of FACT and FICTION and the facts are well documented so when people I have known for years assumed that I was THE Catalina I should have come up with your Hannibal Lecter line…. I do believe however that one cannot help but incorporate some of oneself in work as a writer, distorted and heavily masked or diluted but surely pieces of us transfer into the work. Loved it ! So happy to connect via
    #AtoZchallenge ☮Peace
    ☮ ღ ONE ℒℴνℯ

    ☼ Light ☼ visiting from


    1. Yes of course there is always a lot of ourselves in our writing. I wrote a book set in Africa… I never went there. It intrigues people because we I’m sure I do that to) assume that to write about something you have to know about it to the level of experience.

      Inspiration comes from many places…

      It’s great to connect like this! Have a fun S T U V W X Y Z !

      With great respect!


  2. I think it’s interesting that someone would assume the religious beliefs in the book were yours. We inject so much into our fiction and it isn’t always necessarily our own viewpoints…but those of our characters. Still, I guess from a religious standpoint, you probably wouldn’t have really gotten behind something that went against your own beliefs.



    1. It’s the beauty of writing fiction I suppose, Stephanie. Using images to pass a message of some sort or not.

      I get your point, but If I agree that these are my religious beliefs, would I agree on that the opinions expressed by my characters about gays are my own? It’s pretty nasty…and it goes against my beliefs. But it serves the story.

      In a storyline I try to create a coherent context in which my characters live.

      Religious beliefs are one tricky elements of context. I invented a religion that would suit the purpose of the story. No one is meditating in my stories… I wish but it’s not happening ahahah!

      Thank you very much for your visit! 🙂
      With great respect!


  3. I didn’t know there is a word for that. I don’t think my stories have one. I don’t really want to insert myself into the situation.

    But I suspect keeping myself completely out is difficult, since I am likely not aware I am doing it.


    1. Yes Sonia, me too I think that we can’t completely avoid putting ourselves in somekind of ways in our writing. It is very personal. Why did I choose to put that kind of situation or that kind of feelings in my character is all up to me.

      But I think there are different levels of doing so. But it always come from a point of view that I have about something or my way of seeing the opposing point of view. It’s still me…

      Thank you for your visit!
      With great respect! A.


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