Unfettered & Unperson — A-to-Z Blog Challenge, Literary Terms

UAs much fun as this has been, I am ready to be done with this. Is there anyway for us to end the alphabet here? Stop it at U? Probably not since my name would then be Chris Uoteu. Plus, we’d lose out on X, and then how would we find porn in a video store?

Today we have Unfettered and Unperson. Weird terms, but then U is an unusual letter.

Always a shout out to my fans and their support, if you get a chance, click on their names or check out their websites to find out all the interesting things about them. They are quite wonderful people.

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This site is a great achievement for me, but due to being unable to work, I may not be able to keep this site running. With your help, I might be able to.

I need $125 by October 30th, 2017. Anything you can give will help.



Most of us have goals and dreams. There is much we wish to accomplish, but prioritize what must be done over what we want to do. This is normal human behavior. We have responsibilities we must attend to first. We are also compassionate to others, mindful of their needs. We care what others think of us and try to set a good example. We are concerned with food and shelter, and the well-being of those most important to us.

An Unfettered person is nothing like this.

Like most characters we write about, there is a truth in reality. Often times the truth of reality become an extreme in narration. The Unfettered person is no different.

Unlike us normal people (and I say that ironically), an Unfettered person is someone who is committed to a single goal. To this end, they have no limits, inhibitions, or fears in their pursuit in accomplishing their goal. Whatever it takes, and concepts such as sacrifice and morals means little to them. Do note that they can still be interested in doing other things, but will do one task at a time until it is complete, before engaging a new problem.

Traits of an Unfettered Person:

1.Prioritizes ruthlessly
No matter what the goal is, the Unfettered person will sacrifice anything and everything. Whether it is money, friends, family, reputations, career. Not just about losing them, but not be concerned with their lives. It is all a means to an end, aggressively as need be.

They might be willing to not sacrifice someone or something, but only if it has value to them later. But if someone’s life was on the line and their lives held no value to the Unfettered person compared to their goal, they would choose the goal every time.

An example to this kind of devotion was the Operative in Serenity. His sole focus was capturing River Tam, and would kill anyone who outlived their usefulness, and killed anyone to try to draw out his enemy. He put a lot of focus on his goal.


2. Ignores Moral Guidelines
Even a villain adheres to moral guidelines…they may choose to do the opposite, but still adheres to it. An Unfettered is beyond the concepts of Good and Evil. The only thing that matters is the final outcome and anyone who stands in the way of that forfeits their lives.

Perhaps Colonel Jessup from A Few Good Men exemplifies this. While he is defending the freedoms of the country, the defense is his primary goal and anyone who stands in the way of that is a threat. He doesn’t see the mistake of his conviction and will sacrifice the two marines lives in order to accomplish that.


3. Decisive in their actions. When a decision is made, it must be carried out now. While they may not charge head first into battle, they are quick to a decision and can still remain smart on how they do it, but the term impossible is unknown to them.

Picard in First Contact embodied this. Ordering the men to stand their ground, fight hand to hand if need be. When Worf suggested to blow up the ship, he wouldn’t hear of it. He knew he could defeat them and would do everything he could to personally stop them. Once the Captain has made has made up his mind, the decision is final. It took a lot of convincing for him to realized he was being Unfettered.


4. Lacking emotions or emotions don’t affect outcome.
Either a character, when doing something bad, ignores their emotions, or chooses to push them down and deal with them later. In dealing with them later, they may break down and cry and regret their decision, but they will carry on with what they must do.

Uma Thurman’s character in Kill Bill could be seen as such a character. She represses her emotions until Bill is dead, and then at the end cries. This also demonstrates that an Unfettered doesn’t need to remain like this throughout the whole narrative.


5. Devoted to a goal, not bound by principles
Often times, it is a specific goal that drives them and not the principles or the fallout from decision. Some may wish to overthrow a leader to make a new government, but the Unfettered only wishes to take out the leader.

It appears that Unfettered characters make good villains, but they can also be heroes. Often times, their intense focus on an issue is their downfall or their own undoing. You will find many characters that are so focus that they cannot see anything else. Pay careful attention how you write them, as it is easy to typecast them. It will be very difficult to gain sympathy from the readers, but not impossible.


Your Universe is an oppressive regime. More than being powerful at all times, it is important that the leaders can do no wrong. And for one reason or another, someone must disappear. Likely to acknowledge them is an embarrassment. It is not enough they are not seen, all records must be stripped of them existing. This person becomes an Unperson.

Sounds like a work of fiction. If someone told you that this sort of thing happened, you’d likely say, “You’ve watched too many movies.” In actually, this is a real practice called Damnatio Memoriae. It is Latin, meaning “Damnation of memory” It was a practice originating in Ancient Rome, as a punishment to traitors or those who discredit the Roman State. The process was simply to remove all trace of them, which was easier to do then than it is now. Almost every major nation has done this sort of act in the grand history of time.

Unperson is a term that comes for George Orwell’s 1984 novel. Both Unperson and Damnantio Memoriae is built upon the fact that history is written by the winners, and there would be a need to remove anything that would interfere with their ability to rule.

Most famous of examples is Stalin, who removed Nikolai Yezhov upon his death in 1940. This is evident by the photo below. Removing people from existence is often times deliberate, there are times it’s by accident. Especially when you consider documents misplaced or destroyed, you have gaps in history.

Voroshilov,_Molotov,_Stalin,_with_Nikolai_Yezhov The_Commissar_Vanishes_2

In narrative, there are a few ways to accomplish making a person an unperson:

*Higher Power – It’s a Wonderful Life
*Personal records erased – Men in Black
*Everyone pretends they didn’t exist – Wing Commander
*Magic – Trading Mom
*Wish – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

To explain wish a bit, Cordelia, angry at Xander, made a wish to Anya (not knowing her power) that Buffy never came to Sunnydale. In this alternate Reality, no one heard of Buffy because she never came there. She wasn’t exactly erased from history, she still existed, but no one knew of her (except Cordellia) until she introduced herself.


This is also known as the Chuck Cunningham Syndrome. Named for Happy Days older brother of Richie Cunningham, who was written out of the show and then was treated as if they never existed. After the disappearance of the character, they are never mentioned again, but on some rare occasions on various shows, they do come back.


Such as Boy Meets World, when we see that Topanga had an older sister named Nebula. Minkus, who was a character in the first season wasn’t seen until several seasons later, hinting he was on the other side of the campus that we never see. Then there was Cory’s younger sister who was last seen at the end of season 2 and we didn’t see her again until the middle of season 3.


Generally, making a person disappear is a very hard thing to do. While you can use magic to do it, it should never be so simple that it becomes an after thought. More than that, in using conventional means, you still have to deal with the possibility of someone making the character out, say if they disappeared from public eye, or remember they existed when nothing official about them exists. It’s a fun trope to do, but remember that it is a very complicate situation to pull off.

Unfettered & Unperson

Motive. Understanding why people do what they do. Unfettered deals with an individual accomplishing their goals, and Unperson deals with a group accomplishing their goals. It is not something people decide on a whim, and giving background on how they came to this point is crucial. To tell a narrative of it happening with details of the motive, the why they are doing, would make for a very lacking story.

You can write a story and state that they are simply like this because that’s what the story requires, but you still need to understand their background as a writer, as you can give slight allusions to it in the way they speak.

Very few ever start off wanting to go down the path that they do, and are often times created to become that thing. This was highlighted in Batman (1989) that Bruce Wayne became the Batman because Joker killed his parents, and in a strange circle, Joker became what he did because of Batman.


But the same is also true for a government in become oppressive. While some leaders start out wanting to do that, many believe they are serving a higher calling and that through oppression, they are actually helping the people. The belief in a strong government is what keep the people going. Gul Dukat is a good example of that, while he never unperson someone (I don’t think), he’s the kind of person to do it if it meant the betterment of his government.

So again, understanding what led people down this path, understanding their motives is crucial for a writer to know, as it directs how to write their overall character.

Help Keep This Site Running

This site is a great achievement for me, but due to being unable to work, I may not be able to keep this site running. With your help, I might be able to.

I need $125 by October 30th, 2017. Anything you can give will help.



  1. Unpersoning was done in communist Romania (where I grew up) too. Traitors of the party were ostracized, marginalized, and removed from existence even while alive for all intents and purposes, their lives destroyed. No one would talk to them, accept them in their home, greet them on the street, or sell goods to them. Even the fact that this happened was pretty much swept under the rug, and I have no clue if there are any official records of this being done, but my family knows of someone this happened to before I was born.

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