A Range of Role Reversal Reads

Dave Astor on Literature

Roll reversals! When you eat a roll from the bottom up. Actually, my topic this week is ROLE reversals…in literature.

There’s plenty of potential drama in those reversals — including how the protagonists act in the unexpected/unfamiliar situations they find themselves in, and how other people react to those characters.

Perhaps the best known example of a role reversal in fiction is Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper, whose two main characters dizzyingly switch stations in life. But role reversals can be more realistic and recognizable.

In a novel I recently read — Kristin Hannah’s heart-wrenching, masterful Home Front — Jolene is deployed as a helicopter pilot in the Iraq War while her attorney husband Michael remains on the…home front…to take care of their two daughters. A somewhat unusual gender reversal. Of course, many women are now in the military, but the novel is set nearly 20 years…

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