The discussion of bodily functions in literature

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LoisCHenderson
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The discussion of bodily functions in literature

Post by LoisCHenderson » 29 Mar 2018, 08:49

I had to laugh at Sophie's detailed description of a woman trying to pee with waders on, as I often get caught in a similar position outdoors when taking my dog, Splay, for a walk first thing in the morning. What effect do descriptions of bodily functions in novels have on you? Which books have you encountered with such descriptions, and would you encourage others to read the novels concerned, or would you be too embarrassed to :oops: ?

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Post by BriennaiJ » 29 Mar 2018, 19:00

I have to say that I have not read any books recently that really describe bodily functions. However, I think that they would be an interesting addition to some novels. Especially fantasy novels. I think I would laugh seeing a person having to deal with having to pee during the apocalypse, or having an upset stomach or even the flu while they were traveling on a long-term adventure.

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Post by LoisCHenderson » 29 Mar 2018, 22:04

BriennaiJ wrote:
29 Mar 2018, 19:00
I have to say that I have not read any books recently that really describe bodily functions. However, I think that they would be an interesting addition to some novels. Especially fantasy novels. I think I would laugh seeing a person having to deal with having to pee during the apocalypse, or having an upset stomach or even the flu while they were traveling on a long-term adventure.
Or imagine a vampire attacking one on the loo - kind of takes the gravity out of the situation (though some might say it adds substance to it ...).

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Post by BriennaiJ » 30 Mar 2018, 07:45

LoisCHenderson wrote:
29 Mar 2018, 22:04
BriennaiJ wrote:
29 Mar 2018, 19:00
I have to say that I have not read any books recently that really describe bodily functions. However, I think that they would be an interesting addition to some novels. Especially fantasy novels. I think I would laugh seeing a person having to deal with having to pee during the apocalypse, or having an upset stomach or even the flu while they were traveling on a long-term adventure.
Or imagine a vampire attacking one on the loo - kind of takes the gravity out of the situation (though some might say it adds substance to it ...).
Yes! All of these things would be hilarious to read, and yet it would allow readers to truly put themselves in the shoes of the main characters. :lol2:

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Post by Sanyesto » 30 Mar 2018, 15:54

Bodily functions are quite frightening although sometimes funny.

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Post by LoisCHenderson » 30 Mar 2018, 22:49

Sanyesto wrote:
30 Mar 2018, 15:54
Bodily functions are quite frightening although sometimes funny.
Do you remember that movie where a whole group of scientists gets miniaturised to explore inside the human body? The worst part of such an adventure must surely be its ending LOL!!

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Post by becsimpson » 31 Mar 2018, 15:57

EXACTLY! I've wondered this so often, when watching movies, TV shows and reading books. Especially post-apocalyptic stuff. I legitimately want to see people dealing with real issues like women being on their periods and not having anything to assist with it, because that is reality. I know it's really only a small point in terms of the overall plot so that's probably why it's not brought up often, but it would make everything so much more realistic and relatable if it was.
BriennaiJ wrote:
29 Mar 2018, 19:00
I have to say that I have not read any books recently that really describe bodily functions. However, I think that they would be an interesting addition to some novels. Especially fantasy novels. I think I would laugh seeing a person having to deal with having to pee during the apocalypse, or having an upset stomach or even the flu while they were traveling on a long-term adventure.

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Post by Bettercallyourbookie » 31 Mar 2018, 20:36

Many of the books that I read involve larger issues than bodily function, like running from a corrupt government or coping with the apocalypse. Because there are so many other issues, the author rarely has time to comment on things that we normal people take for granted, like finding time to go to the bathroom. :lol:

While I think it would be an effective way to create a sense of realism, I think it would be hard to incorporate it in a way that isn't distracting or weird. Or to make sure it doesn't change the tone of the writing.

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Post by LoisCHenderson » 31 Mar 2018, 21:56

Bettercallyourbookie wrote:
31 Mar 2018, 20:36
Many of the books that I read involve larger issues than bodily function, like running from a corrupt government or coping with the apocalypse. Because there are so many other issues, the author rarely has time to comment on things that we normal people take for granted, like finding time to go to the bathroom. :lol:

While I think it would be an effective way to create a sense of realism, I think it would be hard to incorporate it in a way that isn't distracting or weird. Or to make sure it doesn't change the tone of the writing.
Nice answer - thanks!

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Post by EMoffat » 02 Apr 2018, 01:05

I see nothing wrong with writing about them as long as the context calls for it. They are, after all, natural and why should we be embarrassed about them or about reading about them? Maybe if they were included more often in literature people would be less embarrassed!

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Post by LoisCHenderson » 02 Apr 2018, 01:22

EMoffat wrote:
02 Apr 2018, 01:05
I see nothing wrong with writing about them as long as the context calls for it. They are, after all, natural and why should we be embarrassed about them or about reading about them? Maybe if they were included more often in literature people would be less embarrassed!
Too true!

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Post by Acwoolet » 02 Apr 2018, 08:19

I don’t usually mind bodily functions described in books, most of the time it’s fairly humorous like it was in this one. There was one book I read though, that I couldn’t get through a single chapter with out a character stating they had to go to the bathroom or reminding another adult that they should try to go. It was very strange and was kind of irritating.

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Post by Sketches_by_Shell » 02 Apr 2018, 15:02

It has been a habit of writers to leave out bodily functions from a story unless they are deemed necessary to share details. I often wonder why people in TV shows, and in books do not ever eat! That must be why they do not need to show bodily functions, the characters never eat. Even when they do order food, they very rarely show them eating. I at least want to know that they have taken in some form of nourishment. Going to the bathroom could be handled in a tasteful way, or better yet in today's society, a more distasteful way to add humor, or even to invoke empathy for a character. Remember in Bridesmaids when she had to "go" in the sink? That was hilarious, and then in the street? That was even more hilarious.

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Post by lbhatters » 02 Apr 2018, 21:43

I have an author friend who wrote a book about incidences of bodily function mishaps. I suppose that it's probably funny to read. Unfortunately I'm not inclined to read a book that's completely devoted to the topic. However, if it's interspersed within a story with only a few incidents, and if they are funny, I wouldn't mind it or would likely like it if they were funny.

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Post by LoisCHenderson » 03 Apr 2018, 02:16

Acwoolet wrote:
02 Apr 2018, 08:19
I don’t usually mind bodily functions described in books, most of the time it’s fairly humorous like it was in this one. There was one book I read though, that I couldn’t get through a single chapter with out a character stating they had to go to the bathroom or reminding another adult that they should try to go. It was very strange and was kind of irritating.
:D A bit like the Billy Bunter novels, where few pages went by without some food being devoured... No Pulitzer prize for that one!

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