Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Who’s that lady?

tumblr_mpg0sskK9m1r3ke0zo1_500There’s wisdom in leaving to your imagination the idea of what your favorite literary characters look like. But the people at The Composites blog decided that it was more fun to run the descriptions of some beloved characters through police composite-drawing software. The results are…mixed.

It is kind of fun, though. The roster includes figures such as Tom Ripley, from The Talented Mr. Ripley, Dr. Jeckyll (and Mr. Hyde), Sherlock Holmes, Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling, Julia from 1984, and a host, as they say, of others.

Overall I’m a little disturbed by these images. They don’t look real enough to be convincing, yet they’re unreal enough to pass for what the mind might come up with as it contemplates the features an author emphasizes in descriptions. Kind of spooky.

First prize to you if you can guess who that is above (without looking it up on the blog!). Here’s a clue: She’s from a classic American novel from the early ’60s.


8 comments on “Who’s that lady?

  1. sknicholls
    November 9, 2014

    Dally from The Outsiders looked like my mind envisioned him. None of the others really came close.

    • Kevin Brennan
      November 9, 2014

      I thought Sherlock might be in the ballpark, but most of the others were just a tad bizarre…

  2. John W. Howell
    November 9, 2014

    I gave up and looked. Naw it’s not her.

  3. 1WriteWay
    November 9, 2014

    Initially I thought maybe someone from one of Sinclair Lewis’s novels, but, yeah, too early. I browsed through the blog and found this gem: “I’ve never placed too much emphasis on the composite drawing. While they can be better than nothing, they are fairly generic…I’ve interviewed guys in prison who told me they breathed a sigh of relief as soon as they saw the published composite because they realized it looked like any man on the street. …” From a former FBI profiler. The key word is “generic.” All these composites have that flat, dead look and they are … sketchy. Which makes me wonder if the composites we see on TV detective shows are, as they are often, a stretch of the truth.

    • Kevin Brennan
      November 9, 2014

      So true. It’s hard to imagine a legal case depending on one of these, much less our idea of a beloved character. I think some mind games are being played…

  4. ericjbaker
    November 11, 2014

    Those faces look like the androids Japan will be building in about 25 years.

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This entry was posted on November 9, 2014 by in Writing and tagged , , .
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