There are many amiable characters in the archives and there are guys like the eponymous star of Hugh Cron’s Hans.
I’d describe *Hans’ personality as a meal composed of shit stew, bastard sandwich and a pissed in lager. And yet there is something keenly tragic about the man that (in Hugh’s story, at least) prevents people from liquifying Hans’ head with a hammer.
(*Technically, this should be Hans’s but “s’s” gets awfully squishy sounding in my mind–so I’m going to break away from standard usage from here on out.)
Q: Hans’ life is structured. He marks time and counts the hours until the next time he can spread the warmth. I view him as thinking himself feral, but actually unknowingly institutionalized, like a convict, his actions scheduled not by himself but by an authority. In this case the boss is the social structure. Your feelings? (Sorry for the poorly built question that was mostly opinion with a question mark glued on at the end; but third this three ways and this one made the most sense.)
Q: What prevents people from killing Hans?
Thanks as always. This always gives me a buzz – Makes my head hurt a wee bit though!
Hans is from a different time or maybe I should say a different attitude. I don’t think he knows who he is and only accepts himself as someone who takes what he needs and lives his life around this ideal. Hans comes from a time and a place where there are no diagnosis, no accepted personality traits, no understanding by him or who is around him. He is Hans. Pure and simple.
So I reckon that your mention of him being feral is as close as it gets and is as true as it is. And yes, he is in a way institutionalised, maybe localised as well.
Some of us are more moulded by our surroundings and backgrounds than others. Now that can be positive or destructive. In Hans case, I’m not sure. He is getting what he wants but he would never know what made him truly happy or how to conduct himself to become that.
This is a belter of a question!
I wonder if folks like Hans are disappearing? Maybe due to diagnosis, benefit seeking or intervention (Wanted or otherwise).
The reason I mention this is in answer to your question. In villages, the community was the whole village. In towns and cities, the specific areas were communities. These communities had an identity and even the unsavoury characters were part of that identity. Everyone had a place. Even if this place was them getting a slap if they were too out of order. Everyone knew how far they could go and as long as they didn’t step over the line, they were tolerated no matter how objectionable, cantankerous or annoying. They were simply a part of that specific community. Hans was just this side of that line.
In days gone by, this all played out in pubs but so many local pubs have closed down leaving large chains that encourage family units with young kids to sit down and have a burger.
I think the families should fuck off to restaurants or their own homes and the district pubs should still be there as acceptance for the likes of Hans.
Thanks again Leila – This was a blast re-visiting that cantankerous auld bastard!!