Literary characters have always inspired me, be it Mowgli in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book swinging from trees and dancing with monkeys, or Tess from Tess of the D’Urbervilles refusing to take any (insert expletive here) from her husband. These fictional characters allow us to realise that even in the darkest times, there is light from somewhere, and that bravery and loyalty prevail over evil in the end (lame, I know).
Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Bronte. Jane, a playful bookworm, lives with her terrible auntie until she is sent to a boarding school for girls. From the very beginning, she stands up for herself, protests when there is injustice and merely wants to be educated and have fun. When she is older, despite the time period suggesting that women would not have been able to make many decisions, she meets the unlikely man of her dreams and allows him to come to her. When she learns that he is already married, she seems to think ‘screw this’ and runs away, because she is a strong independent woman that don’t need no man. Jane is a well-read sass queen that refuses to let anyone get her down, despite everything being up against her. She gains a career as a governess, despite the fact that most women of the 1800s would have been stay at home mothers, and follows her head rather than her heart when her true love lets her down. GO JANE!
Todd, The Knife of Never Letting Go
‘The Knife of Never Letting Go‘ by Patrick Ness. Todd lives in a dystopian world where girls have been wiped out, and only men and ‘Spackle’ (aliens that cannot talk) remain. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in something called ‘Noise’ (pictures
and writing) and the only thing that people work for is to become a man at the age of thirteen. When Todd finds a girl with no Noise in a swamp, both of them begin an epic journey that requires strength, loyalty and friendship to endure. Despite only knowing this girl for a matter of days, Todd risks his life to save her when she is threatened and allows her to share her knowledge of medicine and space (where she is from) with him. Todd has always inspired me as he trusts his instincts and acknowledges that everything he has ever known has been a lie, even if it means acknowledging that loved ones have lied to him his entire life. He fights for what he believes in and puts himself in incredible danger to save people from further oppression.
Constance Chatterley, Lady Chatterley’s Lover
‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover‘ written by D.H Lawrence. Now, I am not condoning cheating, before anyone launches their laptop/phone at the wall in outrage. Essentially, this book involves Lady Chatterley being emotionally neglected by her husband, leading her to look for love and affection elsewhere. The elsewhere just so happens to be their gardener, Mellors. Due to both parties being involved with equally negative relationships, the two of them fall into a passionate affair. Written in 1928, I have always admired the fact that this woman simply goes out and gets what she wants, despite the fact that women would have been seen as baby-making clothes-washing machines. Again, not saying that having an affair is ok, as it isn’t, but this character may not have had any other choice. Plus, Mellors is played by Sean Bean in the film, so there has to be a level of understanding. Boy, bye.
From ‘The Illustrated Mum‘ by Jacqueline Wilson. Dolphin and her sister Star are forced to struggle with their Mum’s alcoholism and late nights, along with her erratic mood swings and neglect. The main thing that I always found fascinating about this character is that, despite her age, she manages to separate the addict from the real person when it comes to her Mother, and tries to help her to become herself again, as she knows that all she really needs is help. I was always able to relate to her in the sense that she feels aesthetically plain as well, yet finds confidence in her wit and intelligence (I am not claiming to have either).
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