August 11, 2008 11:06 PM Subscribe
Why do novelists use "________" in place of a character's name?
posted by serazin to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Most recently, I noticed this convention in The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, but I've for sure seen this used elsewhere as well.
Is this supposed to make the novel feel more "real" - as if the author is protecting the identity of some particularly heinous or vulnerable character? That makes no sense to me since I've never read a non-fiction book or essay where there was a blank (or first letter only) instead of a name.
Am I missing something obvious?