Would Duke be as memorable without his tattoos?

Use this forum to discuss the May 2018 Book of the Month, "The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid" by Gary Robinson
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Re: Would Duke be as memorable without his tattoos?

Post by KRay93 »

For anyone who engages in a conversation with him (or, in our case, for everyone who reads him), it will be clear that his personality is what makes his character. Now, for a viewer within the fictional world of this book, his visual appearance, and his tattoos would help to attract more viewers, out of his particular talent.
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Post by bootsie0126+ »

Ginnamassa19 wrote: 09 May 2018, 05:18 I feel like it depends! Are we talking about Duke being memorable to the readers or to the people in the book? If it's the former, I feel like his personality would be the defining thing; if it's about first impressions during the show, his tattoos are probably important in catching the eye of the audience. Then again, like what Kendra M Parker said, Duke's stage persona is the bigger part of what keeps the audience rapt--the tattoos are just what he uses to draw people in.

Having said that, I found Duke's personality more interesting than the tattoos :)
What we also have to remember is that Duke was performing with the circus and on street corners during the off season, before he even started to get the tattoos. People knew who he was then but after he started getting the tattoos, the visual affect drew more people to his performance.
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Post by cristinaro »

I don't think Duke would be half as memorable without his tattoos. At the time, tattoos were reserved for sailors, criminals and circus freaks, in other words, as the author metaphorically writes, to "the few brave souls who had enough courage to withstand the social stigma." The fact that he chooses to have so many tattoos on his body is an act of courage and a decision he knew would generate various reactions from bewilderment to disgust. It is also his means of acknowledging the circus people as his family since his tattoos represented either iconic images of the circus life or the famous tattoo designs worn by tattooed men throughout the 20th century. As a sword swallower, he does need people's stares, so tattooing is also part of his strategy to attract a larger audience. It ultimately becomes an expression of his vivid personality and both other characters in the book and readers alike will not imagine Duke without his tattoos.
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Post by lesler »

I think Duke's tattoos are what makes him real. He's into adventure, and his tattoos tell his story visually.
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Post by Jgideon »

His talent and skills are what makes him more recognizable. For instance, there are so many people with tattoos but have no skills or talent that easily pull people to them.
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Post by Callistus Ibenye »

I think his tattoos are parts of his personal effects and appeal and as such has influenced the kind of response he has gotten. I think things would be a bit different for him socially without the tattoos.
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Post by Rosealt+ »

I don't like tattoos that much, so what it is said, it tints someone's character and personality.
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Post by RedLetter »

As someone who has tattoos myself, I know that is the first thing people notice about those of us who have body art. Let's face it, we all notice one's physical appearance first, right? But I believe it is Duke's personality that is most memorable. His outward appearance leads one to believe that he is the stereotypical "badass." But he has a genuine love for his circus family and he loves to put a smile on the face of his audience.
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Post by JuliaKay »

I think in his case, he is more memorable with his tattoos. It is the first thing people will notice and recognize him for.
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Post by chelhack »

Now a day so many people are covered in tattoos, I believe that it would just about take swallowing swords to make someone memeriable.
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Post by alisonedgee »

let's be brutally honest.
most people aren't.
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Post by starshipsaga »

Definitely not the same without the tattoos! I'm a big fan of body art though, and I feel tattoos tell a very personal story of the person and reflect who they are. So no, Duke would not be "Duke" to me without his tattoos, for those reasons and more.
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Post by scratchcat318 »

I feel like the tattoos are what caught people's attention the most throughout the book. However, it was Duke's personality and humor, as well as his crazy performances, that kept people's attention. I feel like if he had the tattoos but didn't have the personality, people wouldn't have continued paying attention to him. So yes, Duke would have been memorable without his tattoos, I believe.
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Post by Brittany J »

Given the time period of the setting, I think his tattoos did set him apart and make him more memorable. Today, they would not have been as shocking but still would add to his stage presence.
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Post by Helen_Combe »

So many people have tattoos nowadays that he wouldn’t stand out in a crowd. However, they used to be confined to certain ’types’ of people, circus people being one of them, so they would be expected.
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