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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?