The writer's characters must stand before us with a wonderful clarity, such continuous clarity that nothing they do strikes us as improbable behavior for just that character, even when the character's action is, as sometimes happens, something that came as a surprise to the writer himself. We must understand, and the writer before us must understand, more than we know about the character; otherwise neither the writer nor the reader after him could feel confident of the character's behavior when the character acts freely.
Character has outlived its day. In ancient, primitive times, when biologically weak man struggled against omnipotent nature, character was useful, beneficial; with hideous labor it shoved the heavy stone of human impotence forward. We learned to praise ourselves, to admire character, to prostrate ourselves before it, make a fetish of it. But today no one has the courage to discredit character, although, psychologically speaking, it is now a throwback, simply reactionary.