Stereotypes--I'm phobic about them. But can a MINOR character be one--

if they move the plot along?
Let me be clear. There are minor characters who are:
a former Madam and two of her girls and a couple of Mob type guys.
Would those kinds of people be considered to be stereotypical?
my novel takes place in the early 1950's btw.
Your thoughts--writers AND readers?

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What's stereotypical about post-war depression? You might as well add post-traumatic stress syndrome. I just used that for an 18th century setting. War is war.
sorry, bad phrasing on my part.
I'll edit.
No, what I mean is in this sort of novel there are (minor characters) a former Madam, prostitutes--and a mob guy.
I read so much about not using stereotypes--and so on, that I just got nervous.
Avoiding a cliche can stand out as much as including one.
John! Leave it to you to light up this (angst ridden on my part) discussion!
REALLY?!
So in other words if you have Mob guys who are Hungarians and not a Madam, but the Queen of the gypsies who did occasionally dip into procuring les femmes for sex-mad fortune-telling clients--THAT might become the cliche?
See, I edited it because I totally confused I.J.!
Naomi, thank you!
I'm so paranoid--just a bit nuts, questioning too much!
I see and I agree with you.
so glad you replied.
One-dimensional stereotypes would be a problem. Characters that have some of the aspects of the stereotype, but other, less expected characteristics, should work fine. Remember, stereotypes came from somewhere; people didn't just decide to invent them. If you're worried about a mobster seeming stereotypical, give him some endearing quality. (Tony Soprano loved animals.) The hooker with a heart of gold can say all the right things, but show herselfto be uncaring in some way. Have some fun with it.
Dana, thanks.
Just over-worried I guess!
I agree and will take on board what you say, makes a lot of sense!
In Chicago, mobs in the 1950s were not just Italian. There were Irish and Polish and Czech and black outfits. In St. Louis there were all of the above, plus a growing Lebanese contingent.

Another thing to remember about stereotypes is how they come into use - and that's because there's some truth to them.
thanks Tom!
great reply and I appreciate it.
I like that, yes there is truth in them.
didn't know that about the other ethnic groups in Chicago. but it makes a lot of sense.

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