Literary Heroines; Who I am and Who I'd like to be
Every story has a protagonist and an antagonist. The protagonist is the person we rally behind, the person we view as the "hero" of the story. The antagonist, in short, is the villain. But what makes us want to follow the hero? What makes us so interested in him?
We like to imagine ourselves in his shoes.
The reason heroes get all the glory is because they are the ones who solve the puzzle. They are the ones who save the princess, the damsel, the world. They have attributes we admire, or that we might have. They make us think, 'Hey, if he can do it, why can't I?'
This goes for the heroine, too.
We women don't really have many heroines. At least, in the fictional world, anyway. So many writers choose to use males, old and young, as the protagonist, which leaves us girls to be stuck with that Damsel In Distress character who gives the protagonist a reason to do what he is doing.
Why can't we have our day in the sun? Why are there so few heroines for us? Why did Spryte have to pick this topic, of all the literary topics she could've picked, for me to write a hub about?
That last one's a great question, though I sure as heck ain't the one to answer it.
Seeing as heroines don't typically have a cookie-cutter shape to them, I've picked my top five protagonistic females from my favorite literary works of art to share with you. I will explain why I like them, what things I believe I have in common with them, and what characteristics I wish I had that they've got an abundance of.
Ready? Here we go!
Bella Swan, from Twilight
A lot of girls can relate to Bella. She's shy, quiet, loyal, trustworthy, and responsible. She also has low self esteem, which is a very big problem for teenage girls everywhere.
Bella is one of my favorite protagonists because she isn't afraid to speak her mind, despite wishing she could crawl under a rock when it's all over. She follows her heart, even when her mind argues with it. Not exactly a sensible attribute, but it is a female attribute nonetheless, and we're all guilty of it. Despite the fact she's almost always in danger, she looks past the problems toward a possible solution. She sticks up for her friends and tries her damnedest to make sure they'll be okay before she even bothers to worry about herself.
Plus, Edward is hott, and I am so jealous. ^_^
I am very much like Bella. About the only thing that differs is appearance (I have medium length red hair and glasses, she has long, straight brown hair. I'm a fat cow, she's not. So on and so on). I stick up for my friends. I have a hard time worrying about myself and my safety before considering others. I'm constantly speaking my mind. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to prove my trustworthiness and responsibility. I hate Phy. Ed. class.
Now, if only I could have an Edward...
Mmm... Edward... *drools*
Elphaba, from Wicked
Elphaba went through serious emotional trauma as a chlid (yeah, it was bound to happen; she was born green, after all). She was constantly ridiculed in school, picked on by the popular crowd, feared by the general public later in life, and (supposedly) killed out of that fear. She was despised, loathed, and just plain wicked.
And yet she lived her life with her head held high, searching for the truth and never giving up. She was headstrong, stubborn, determined, and compassionate. Sure, she lost her head when her temper flared, but who doesn't?
If I could be as strong as her, and as brave, life would be easy.
I admire Elphaba for her wit and her wisdom, her honesty and her stubborness, her love and her sense of right and wrong. Thank goodness I'm not green!
Maddy Smith, from Runemarks
Runemarks is a beautiful story about Norse mythology and the effects Christianity had on it. While it doesn't come right out and say it's about Christianity, the idea is implied easily throughout the story itself.
Maddy Smith is a young girl born with a backwards rune on her hand. Because of her rune, she is shunned by her community, even her family, for being of "the old ways." She befriends a fellow outcast called One Eye, who also has a backwards rune. Through the course of the story, she meets Loki, the mischief maker, discovers One Eye is really Odin, travels all the way to the bottom of the Worlds, and saves humanity from an onslaught of undead.
I absolutely LOVE this book. Now that I think about it, I'm going to have to go and reread it again... Darn you, Spryte! (lol) Anyway, I love Maddy because she's so determined to set things right, and not afraid of the dangers that lay ahead of her. She won't tolerate injustice, and always sticks up for her friends in need. She's a clear thinker in a crisis with a big brain and a bigger heart.
Maddy reminds me of myself with her determination and belief in justice. Now, to work on not freaking out when everyone else is in a panic... Wouldn't that be nice!
Tally, from the Uglies series
If you haven't read these books, you should. Do it! DO IT NOW!
... Okay... Moving on!
Tally's journey begins when she is still a young teenager. Ready to see what the next phase in life is like, she and her friend Shay sneak out to Prettytown to see what the Pretties are like, and to find out what's happened to her old friend who recently moved in there. Once they find out what it's like, the girls decide to run away to the forests outside of their city. This is where the true story begins...
I'd go into more, but I don't know who's read the books and who hasn't.
Tally is one of my favorite protagonists, but at the same time, she isn't. I love her sense of adventure and ability to risk it all for a thrill, but I know taking extreme risks is probably the least responsible thing anyone could do as a young teen. As she grows older and learns what it's really like to take responsibility for her actions, she grows on me. I think that's one of the reasons I really like her. She's a character you can grow with.
I wouldn't mind being as adventurous as she is, but I'll gladly stay away from her risk-taking.
Kitty Jones, from The Bartimaeus Trilogy
Kitty starts out as part of the antagonist group, the Resistance. She strives for equality among commoners and magicians, and is hell-bent to see things change in her lifetime. Despite being Nathaniel's enemy in the beginning, they form an alliance, then a friendship as the trilogy closes.
Kitty is another strong-willed, stubborn, determined heroine I wish I could be. I don't know if anyone else has seen that pattern yet. With a bag full of spunk and smart-ass remarks, she and I are two peas in a pod. If you could mix Kitty and Bella together into one person, you'd have me. She listens to her morals, follows them, and works to make them fit with the world she lives in.
The one thing I would have to say I wouldn't want from Kitty is her inability to see danger around the corner. She gets so caught up in her work, that she fails to see when she's in a trap, though she's much better at it than Nathaniel will ever be. Ah, how boys are stupid.
Thank you, Spryte, for giving me the opportunity to share a couple of other books I enjoy that I didn't mention in my book hub, and for bestowing upon me this wonderful request. I hope you enjoy it! As for everyone else, feel free to leave comments! Who is your favorite female protagonist? Why is she your favorite? Which heroine do you think most resembles you? I want to hear from everybody on this one! Feedback is always appreciated!
Now, I have one request for all you book nerds out there...
MAIL ME SOME BOOKS! I BEG OF YOU!
I have run out of books I own that I have not read. This is a very bad thing. Just today, I nearly had a literary crisis meltdown. So please, send me some good books! I desperately need more! More, I say, more! Before I am forced to sell my other wordly posessions in order to obtain space and money to expand my library! ... Well, I'm going to have to do that anyway, but that's beside the point. Point is, I NEED ME SOME BOOKZ! >.< Ah well, I'm going book shopping on Sunday anyway, so I should be fine. But donations are well appreciated!
*big happy smiley face with glitter all around*