Look What You Made Me Do: Thrillers and Victim Blaming

Over the weekend, I took the time to read two different thrillers; Misery by Stephen King and You by Caroline Kepnes. Both are supposed to be super suspenseful and great reads.

I did have a great time reading both of these books, but what I found interesting is that both thrillers included characters blaming others for their actions. Commonly known as “victim-blaming,” this is where the victim is blamed for everything that happened to them. You see this sometimes with rape cases where the girl was wearing “too short” of a skirt or “asking for it.”

It reminded me of the Taylor Swift song “Look What You Made Me Do,” where the actions of one person caused the actions she took. It’s like fire with fire. It’s an eye for an eye. And sadly, I’m not a fan of that.

I know that this is probably some sort of thriller literary device. I’m not 100% sure because I’m fairly new to thrillers, but honestly I don’t like it. I don’t like characters that put all of their misfortune and blame on someone else.

Perhaps it’s because I do a lot of self-reflection and thinking on my own that I can never blame someone else for the actions I take. If someone gets hurt because I accidentally tripped them, the guilt would be insurmountable. I wouldn’t be able to stop apologizing and blaming myself for their misfortune. I might also be in a minority here, but I don’t like the idea that I’m responsible for someone else’s sadness.

But that may also be the difference between me and a serial killer. What I might be missing is the psychosis of someone capable of blaming someone else for their emotions. If I get hurt because someone said something mean to me, I go over all the details with a fine-toothed comb. Was I at fault at all? Did I cause the actions of the other person? I think I spent a few days mulling over whether or not I almost crashed my car and whether it was my fault or not.

So maybe that’s why I didn’t resonate a lot with thrillers and why I don’t like reading them. The victim blaming is really annoying especially when the story is written in the mindset of the killer. I think I’ll stick with my friendly and happy reads from now on.



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