Eyes, Heart, or Both

“There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect.”  G.K. Chesterton

Eyes 3

Baby Blue Eyes

I’ve been thinking a lot about characters this week.  And real people who are characters.

I’ve been thinking also about what makes me take a second look at a person and think: I want to get to know more about you.

My mind kept circling back to two items.  Eyes and heart.

For eyes it’s not so much the color or the shape, but it’s what those eyes reflect.  Such characteristics as joy, sadness, intelligence, illness, age, youth, goodness,guile, evil.  You get the picture.

Eyes 1

What about these?

As for the heart?  Well, some of the least healthy hearts are really those that have the greatest amount of love and joy in them.  They are heart healthy in personhood if not in cardiac terms.  In know several.

On the other hand, some of the healthiest hearts I’ve known appear the most selfish.  They might have perfect hearts, but not perfect personhood.

I play around with these ideas as I flesh out my characters.  Just as an excellent cardiac surgeon and cardiologist might be able to repair and make healthy a sick heart, as a writer, I can do the same to a character whose got some personhood that can sparkle if I do my job well.

Ah, but what about those eyes?  Well, modern medicine can make tired, old eyes look better, and I guess a writer can do the same.  But somehow I think the essence of who and what a character is emerges from his or her will and intellect.  So as a writer, I can’t do much to change the essence in my characters’ eyes and what they express.  Only my characters can lead the way in that process.  Their eyes are direct links to their souls.

Eyes 2

Dark Eyes

I guess that’s true in real life also.  We can change our eye color with contacts, get rid of puffiness, bags and dark circles with a variety of methods from Preparation H to cosmetic surgery.  But that light from within is ours alone.  Only we can change it.  Or keep it aglow.

I must remember that as I work with my characters and as I react to those around me whom I love.

What’s your view on hearts and eyes?

Explore posts in the same categories: Character traits, Eyes, Writing

6 Comments on “Eyes, Heart, or Both”

  1. Edie Says:

    Our brains are right behind our eyes, and I’ve heard Dr. Oz say we can see behind them. I think it’s true, that they reflect feelings. It’s why we look people in our eyes when we talk — or why we don’t look them in the eyes.

  2. Nancy Kaye Says:

    I love the Preparation H comment. Didn’t we talk about that at club? I, of course, thought of Sandy whose heart is weak physically, but so strong at loving others.
    I love looking at the eyes of my grandchildren. Megan and Ryan have the most beautiful blue eyes. Ryan’s are full of the devil. Megan’s are shy. Then we have Alaina’s snappy, chocolate brown eyes which never miss anything. Looking into Ben’s eyes is like looking into my own. Eyes do reflect the soul and personality.

  3. caseyclifford Says:


    My hubby said after he read that posting that the eyes have some neurological tissue and are the only neurological tissue exposed to external viewing. At least without invasive or medical processes.

    I find this very interesting since that would suggest a person’s eyes are so much more vulnerable and thus we might try to avoid another person’s eyes in an emotional situation or tense situation.

  4. caseyclifford Says:


    Club mentioned a couple other home products but I can’t remember them. I’ve also heard about cucumbers etc.

    I had Sandy in mind as well as my hubby and of course, my deceased friend, Mary Jo. I love photographing and zeroing in and cropping eyes of children. They are so beguiling. Always.

  5. Kathy (Dieter) G. Says:

    My Daddy always said, “You can see it in the eyes” whenever we brought a new beau home. He could tell immediately if it was in the eyes if this one was one to hold onto and would last. He must have known what he was talking about because he saw it in the eyes of all of my siblings’ spouses before most of us did. A wise man in his simple ways and faith. Still miss him everyday!!

  6. caseyclifford Says:


    You daddy was the wisest of men. As was his father whom you never met.

    Thank you so much for stopping by. I miss your daddy and all of you more than you know.

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