Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Lori's Top Ten Favorite Characters in the Classics Genre



This week's Top Ten Tuesday is looking at our favorite characters in whatever genre you choose.

I'm a huge fan of the classics, so I chose that genre.  I don't think these are necessarily going to be in order--because it would be like choosing a favorite child (actually, I'm not sure that's really that hard; then again, I'm an only child).  And the ten I chose today might not be the ten I'd choose if I were to do this again in a week.  There are just SO MANY good characters in classic literature!  Also, I want to talk a moment about the word "favorite."  Part of the reason that I love reading is the exploration of characters and personalities.  As a result, I have some favorite characters that I don't like, but as far as characters created by an author, they are a favorite because they are so interesting to read about.

Anyway!  Looking forward to seeing who you mention!

1.  Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird.  He's a favorite because I think he is a fantastic role model for everyone.  He is a model of integrity.  A model of putting your money where your mouth is.  A font of wisdom.  Super intelligent.  Very well-read.  Yes, he's human and he makes mistakes.  Basically, someone we could all learn from.







2.  Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With the Wind.  I don't think I can actually write a post without mentioning Scarlett or Gone With the Wind.  This book and this character in particular just had such an impact on me.  Scarlett is an interesting study.  She is quite the spoiled brat at the beginning of the novel.  But then the War and Reconstruction cause her to become more self-sufficient.  She's still mostly spoiled in that she thinks of herself a lot, but she's willing to do what it takes to make sure she and her family are able to survive, which I think takes a lot of bravery and strength.




3.  The characters from Catch-22.  My love knows no bounds for these characters.  They are all so interesting and amusing and complex.  They are put in this insane setting, filled with so many contradictions, yet they react in heart-breaking and humorous-because-it's-not-you ways.  A Major (name Major Major Major) climbs out the window every time someone comes to his office.  Someone shows up naked for drill.  Someone can't get out of the army on a mental health discharge.  Someone makes chocolate covered cotton.  They have some fantastic one-liners as they struggle with the military bureaucracy.  But, reader beware, you'll either love or hate this book and it all has to do with your type of thinking.


4.  Humbert Humbert from Lolita.  But he's a pedophile!  Yeah, he is.  I said he's a favorite; I didn't say that I liked him, liked him.  Big difference.  As far as characters go, he's a favorite because he's so interesting.  I think he very methodically and scientifically spells out his thought-process as the novel progresses.  And I think it's a very interesting character study to get into the mind of a deviant.






5.  Huck Finn from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  I love Huck.  He has a fantastic voice.  Because of his outcast nature, he is able to comment very frankly on the events going on around him.  His simplicity allows him to cut through the crap and call it like he sees it.  Throughout the novel (save the last ten chapters), he undergoes a major transformation and gains freedom and maturity that he never would have normally had.






6.  Lee from East of Eden.  Lee is a very versatile character.  He fulfills many roles for Adam Trask's family.  His attitude of the humble Chinese servant is really just an act.  He is a very intelligent and strong character, who can see the larger picture due to his outside status.  The thing that makes me love him the most is his profound discussion on the theory of timshel.  Love!  Plus Lee's dream is to own a bookstore.







7.  Francie Nolan from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.  If I had read this book when I was younger (as opposed to in college), I think Francie would have been one of my heroes.  She is the daughter of Irish immigrants and must struggle to find her place in American society.  She has many hopes and dreams for the future, which include reading and receiving an education, that are dashed by her family's poverty and immigrant status.  The novel overall sends a great message about reading.





8.  Guy Montag from Fahrenheit 451.  I really liked the evolution of this character.  At first he was a part of the system that burned books because people had no need for them, which led them to become evil.  Without giving away too much, he becomes conflicted about this idea.  Throughout the novel, he realizes how he needs to be discerning in his information and not just take what he hears at face value.  I think the character really speaks to those of us growing up in a pervasive media age.  We are surrounded by excuses to not read.  It's an issue that won't go away.




9.  Isabel Archer from The Portrait of a Lady.  Isabel faces the struggle between holding up convention and living out her desires for independence.  As a young lady, she comes to Europe and (eventually) inherits a fortune and gets married, then she faces her tremendous struggle.  But the line that endears her to me is:
“I always want to know the things one shouldn't do.""So as to do them?" asked her aunt."So as to choose." said Isabel.
I think that this desire to know both sides so as to choose for oneself is a very important quality in characters and in people.  And though I would not necessarily have done what she did, I think the struggle and development of the plot and characters are just fantastic.

10.  Robert Jordan from For Whom the Bell Tolls.  I love ruggedly individualistic characters who have a strong moral code.  Jordan is the shining example of Hemingway's credo that the important thing is that one does the right thing, even if it happens at the last possible moment; that one makes their life matter, even in a small way.  He is all about bravery and camaraderie and doing the right thing, even if it means death.







There are my ten.  What are yours?


57 comments :

  1. I love your list! I think Atticus and Francie would make mine if I did the same genre - they're such iconic, big-hearted protagonists. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Oh my gosh I adooooore Atticus!! One of my fav books of all time! Great list! :)

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  3. Awesome list! I've been meaning to re-read Catch-22, it was such an interesting book but the details are a little hazy to me now.

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  4. Love your list. Huck is a favorite of mine, too, but not on my list today.

    My list.

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    1. I may have posted my link on Mr. Linky twice. I saw my name but then when I came back it had disappeared. Tried again. Guess it will show up eventually.

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  5. I love TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD! :)

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland
    http://aliceinreaderland.com/2013/02/18/favorite-characters/

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  6. I kind of have a crush on Guy Montag...

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  7. Yikes! I feel a bit under-read in the classics after reading your list, though I do agree with Guy Montag. Never made it through Gone with the Wind--I always seem to get stuck somewhere between page 50 and 100, though it's been many years since I tried.

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  8. Hehe out of the one's I've read on your list I don't know if I finished them. I really wish that I could push through but a lass. Still have to get to a bunch of these.

    Marissa @ Rae Gun Ramblings

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  9. Oops. Copied the wrong link for #32. Sorry about that.

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  10. Love this list! A few of the classics on my tbr list are going to get bumped up a bit.

    I actually got to participate this week! I linked up my list! :)

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  11. Very, very nice list! Haven't read ANY of those books, so maybe I should get on that ;)

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  12. Atticus would definitely be on my list if I had done the classics. He's my favorite male character period. Love him so much.

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  13. I love classic literary fiction as well! "To Kill A Mockingbird" and "Gone With The Wind are some of my favorites as well! Have you ever read the book "Jubilee Trail"? I think that you would love it after reading your list!

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  14. Really terrific choices! I've always loved Catch-22, and need to find time to read it again one of these days. I didn't end up reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn until I was an adult -- but it's one that I'd wish I'd had the opportunity to read as a teen. What a wonderful book!

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  15. Awesome picks! Love Scarlet O'Hara as well...

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  16. #s 1, 2, and 5 will make my list of top 5 classic characters too!

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  17. I love the butler in Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone. One of his most endearing qualities is how he often refers to Daniel deFoes' Robinson Crusoe as his source of wisdom. After reading The Moonstone I read Robinson Crusoe, the butler was correct, the book holds much wise and profound advice.

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  18. I love Atticus and Francine!! You made some really neat choices on this list! I did Urban Fantasy, so my picks are completely different...

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  19. A great list. I also chose classics as my genre. You have a far better knowledge of them than I do however.

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  20. Ahhh Atticus Finch!! That man is brilliant and wonderful and here I am talking about him like he's real! LOL
    Also...Guy Montag - AMAZING. And little Francie is just a wonderful character! I'm loving this list - really and truly!

    Sierra @ Yearning to Read

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  21. Great list, even though Scarlet is definitely no favourite of mine; she landed on my Top Ten Most Frustrating Characters List. Also, I believe many people chose either YA or the classics as their genre today, but I thought it would be interesting to write about my favourite characters in crime fiction. Here's my TTT list.

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  22. Scarlett is one of my favorite characters from classic novels too. Great list, although it reminds me that I have to read Catch-22 & To Kill a Mockingbird yet. :)
    Dragana @ Bookworm Dreams
    My top ten favorite characters

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  24. This was the first time for me to participate in TTT; what a fun meme! Thank you for hosting.

    Here is my Top Ten Troubled Women in Classic Novels:

    TTT

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  25. I am not much of a classic reader myself but I do agree on Atticus Finch. Your list does make me curious about Huckleberry Finn.

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  26. A Tree Goes in Brooklyn was one of my first "big reads" when I was younger, and I remember being so struck by the depth of that story.

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  27. Thank you for making the point that a favorite character doesn't have to be a character that you think is admirable or good. :) Great list!

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  28. OMG what a great list!! I named my son Atticus after Mr Finch! def one of my fav's!!!

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  29. Hi there i have to tell you i have all the books in this post but i haven't read one yet Must...Get...Reading....

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  30. Great list! It's a little embarrassing to realize how few of these I've read. I agree that a favorite character doesn't necessarily have to be one you like, but is nonetheless interesting or fascinating.

    I chose fantasy (adult and YA) for my list. I'm off to check out some of the others!

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  31. Francie Nolan made my list too! Only, I counted her in with my historical fiction list. It count right? I mean, book from the 50s written about the turn of the century? Maybe a stretch. Good choices in the classics!

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  32. I haven't read most of these, but I totally love that you included Francie Nolan and Atticus Finch. Huck Finn is also another great choice. I know it's cliche, but I love Elizabeth Bennett from Pride And Prejudice. A lot of these are going on my classics I need to read list, so great choices!

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  33. I'm glad Atticus was #1. He is awesome!

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  34. You liked Huck? Wow. I couldn't stand him. hahaha. Great list though!

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  35. I'm here after a long time. Like the new look of your blog, and will hopefully participate in the meme next week.

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  36. Lee! Yes! That passage about "timshel" is one of my all-time favorites in any book.

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  37. I adore both Atticus Finch and Lee. If I were to do a list of favorite characters in classics, they'd both show up on that list. :D Great choices!

    My TTT Post

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  38. I love that you chose the classics! I love Fahrenheit 451 and most of the other books you chose are ones I'd really like to get around to reading someday :)

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  39. oh bum I put my name in wrong, oh well! I love your list of characters, I need to get around to reading some more classics :)

    My Top Ten Tuesday

    My Top Ten Tuesday

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  40. Love this topic!! I did YA dystopian characters!

    Mary @ Travels With Mary

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  41. Love Scarlett, love Huck Finn - thanks for reminding me about the latter. Man, that book is good.

    I did contemporaries. I didn't mean to, it just happened =P

    My Top Ten Tuesday

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  42. Loved this list, it was a lot of fun.

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  43. Great list - lots of strong characters. I did mine on characters from my childhood.

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  44. This was a great meme! Thank you for hosting! You've got a great list here. I did mine on Top Ten Favorite Characters from Picture Books. It was a lot of fun.

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  45. Love the characters in Catch 22 so much! :-D Great list!

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  46. Atticus and Scarlett are great picks! Scarlett is definitely one of my favorite characters of all time! She's so...interesting! She's not altogether like-able and yet...you can't stop reading about her! Just re-watched the movie at an old movie theater over the weekend! Such a fab character!

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  47. I've only read one book from the list and that was To Kill a Mockingbird . I thought it was as great book, and I agree with why you love Atticus Finch so much. I have to read it again in high school, but I honestly have nothing against it.

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  48. I just participated in this for the first time. I wasn't sure if there was an official way to link back to your blog but I included it in my post.

    Out of your list I too have only read To Kill A Mockingbird. It is a great story with good characters. Farenheit 451 is definitely on my "to read" list!

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  49. Ugh, I could not stand catch 22. I couldn't even finish it, and that is indeed rare. It felt like a senseless boring nightmare lol. but to each their own.

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  50. My first Top Ten Tuesday post. I had fun with this.

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  51. You nailed this list..just nailed it..awesome picks!

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