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Five Women of Strength From Fiction

Updated on June 2, 2017

Women of Strength

The great leader Mahatma Gandhi remarked appropriately:

"Strength does not come from physical capacity, it comes from an indomitable will."

There are various fictional women characters who are very inspiring. Jane Eyre, Hester Prynne, Elizabeth Bennet, Tess, Katniss Everdeen from fiction are some such "women of strength". They possess an indomitable will, which help them acquire the impossible even under the passive circumstances. They are fighters and survivors. Their actions are full of decisiveness and their undeterred strength of character does make them powerful enough to progress the cause of change.

1. Jane Eyre by Chrarlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre written by Chrarlotte Bronte was published in 1847. It is the story of struggle and experiences of protagonist Jane Eyre. The novel chronicles her growth to adulthood and independence. The focus is always on gradual unfolding of her emotional, moral and spiritual sensibility. The novel also deals with intensity of her love for Mr. Rochester.

At the beginning of novel, Jane is seen as an orphaned, isolated and powerless ten-year-old girl. She lives with one of her aunt and cousins who dislike her. As the novel progresses, she grows in strength. She distinguishes herself at Lowood School with her hard work, respectful manners and great intellectual abilities. later on she accepts the job of governess at Thornfield, and here she falls in love with her employer Edward Rochester.

Drama unfolds with her knowledge of Mr. Rochester being already married. Feeling hurt and deceived, she runs away and goes to Marsh End, where she gradually comes out of her pain and regains her spiritual focus. during this period she discovers her own strength. By novel's end she has become a powerful, independent woman.

Jane Eyre Movie Trailer

2. Hester Prynne

The scarlet Letter is great novel written by Nathaniel Hawthrone. Hester prynne is the protagonist of this novel. The story depicts the journey of her growth and change, and how from shame she leads herself to triumphant awesomeness.

The reader always wonders, "What is the source of this strength?" At the beginning of the novel, Hester determines that she must "sustain and carry" her burden forward "by the ordinary resources of her nature, or sink with it. She could no longer borrow from the future to help her through the present."

She feels alone and has nothing but her strength of spirit to sustain her. She highhandedly bears the responsibility of her child. She is ready to bear her punishment declared by the puritan society which is symbolized by the embroidered scarlet letter "A".

In the end, Hester's strength, honesty, and compassion carry her through a life she had not imagined. Hester lives on, quietly, and becomes something of a legend in the colony of Boston. The scarlet letter made her what she became, and, in the end, she grew stronger and more at peace through her suffering.Her undisturbed calm leads to the changing attitude of the community when they acknowledge that the "A" is for "Able."

The Scarlet Letter- Movie Trailer

3. Elizabeth Bennet

Elizabeth is regarded as the most admirable and endearing of Jane Austen's heroines. She definitely is one of the most beloved characters in British Literature.

Elizabeth Bennet is an unfailingly attractive character. A beautiful young girl with great intellect. She is witty and has a great sense of judgement. Her self-confidence comes from a keen critical mind and is clear through her quick-witted dialogues.

Because of her exceptional powers of observation, Elizabeth's sense of the difference between the wise and foolish, for the most part, is very good.In spite of her mistake in misjudging Wickham and Darcy, and her more blamable fault of sticking stubbornly to that judgment until forced to see her error, Elizabeth is usually right about people.

However, this ability to size people up leads her too far at times. She proceeds from reasonable first impressions of Darcy and Wickham to definite and wrong conclusions about their characters. Her confidence in her own discernment — a combination of both pride and prejudice — is what leads her into her worst errors.

Elizabeth Bannet

4. Katniss Everdeen

Suzanne Collins, in The Hunger Games introduces readers to a very strong female character Katniss Everdeen. Katniss Everdeen, is a sixteen-year-old girl who is far more mature than her age. She is the protagonist and narrator as well.

Katniss is very protective of her younger sister Prim, and she volunteers to take her place in the Hunger Games to protect her. Being elder sister Katniss is responsible for her family's well being. She has good hunting and foraging skills which she learned from her father who died in a mine explosion.

Hunting, however, is illegal and punishable by death. But she does it to feed his starving family. By hunting she also indicates her rebellious nature. Moreover, what she catches or collects that her family doesn’t need to eat, she sells in the district’s black market, disregarding the government rules once again.This disregard, however, resulted out of necessity rather than an inherent defiance.

As a result of harsh conditions she lived in, Katniss grows into a tough and practical girl. For her advantage, the skills and qualities she developed to cope with the everyday challenges of being poor, including her ability to hunt, her toughness, and her resourcefulness, turn out to be her strength through the games.

She succeeds in the games and comes out victorious. But as a person she does not change. Success does not spoil her and her compassion is intact even after all the killing business throughout the games. This lack of change, however, can be seen as a victory for Katniss. She maintains her sense of identity and integrity throughout the course of events in the novel.

5. Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Tess Durbeyfield a sixteen years old girl, strikingly beautiful and intelligent, distinguished by her deep moral sensitivity and passionate intensity, is a great creation by Thomas Hardy. But she is also more than a distinctive individual: Hardy makes her into somewhat of a mythic heroine. The narrator himself sometimes describes Tess as more than an individual woman, but as something closer to a mythical incarnation of womanhood.

Tess Durbeyfield is sent to claim kinship with the wealthier side of her family, the d'Urbervilles, by her poor family. After being seduced by Alec d'Urberville, she bears his child, which dies in infancy.

She leaves her home to start a new life at Talbothays, where she falls in love with Angel Clare and marries him. After his knowledge of her indiscretion before marriage he leaves her. Again Tess struggles through a very hard conditions all alone. Her family duties again leads her to marry Alec.

Although Tess is dutiful and obedient as the novel begins, she gains great strength and fortitude through her suffering, but remains unwavering in her love for Angel Clare. In her anger and desperation Tess kills Alec who has been responsible for her suffering most of her life. At last she is reunited with Angel Clare but only for few moment before her execution.



You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise. - Maya Angelou

These lines are true to the core and fit regarding the life and character of above mentioned five fictional female characters. They are strong and independent women and feminists of their time. All of them stand up to authority and wrongs. They fight for their cause and endear through the tough times. They are radical women and their beauty is not just skin deep but deep down to their soul.


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