Favourite Characters From Fiction
Little Women (USA)
Great characterisation can be difficult to achieve in novels. Some authors have this gift; possessing the ability to bring reality and so much personality to their characters, that they positively jump out off the pages Great writers also have the power to connect you, the reader to the characters they construct. Whilst reading, it is the characters that one can relate to and be inspired by that stand out the most. All but one of the characters who became my favourites were read as a teenager, a time when you are finding out about yourself and who you want to become.
Jo March, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Probably my favourite of all time. Vivacious and headstrong, independent and loving. She is who, author Louisa May-Alcott wishes she could have been. The author drew on her own life and upbringing amongst sisters in this novel. Little Women is the story of four sisters growing up in Boston during the American Civil War. Jo is something of a tomboy and has a love of writing. In the book she is constantly writing and as a means to entertain, the sisters carry on their games from childhood in which Jo writes plays and produces a newspaper. Thoroughly modern, with a different outlook to life than her more reserved elder sister, Meg and certainly very different to the times. Women were expected to have family not opinions, nor education and to behave a certain way. Jo March is torn between her loyalty to family and her love of writing. She, with her mothers blessing, eventually leaves to pursue her career.
Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen
Another equally strong female character is found in Elizabeth Bennet. She is regarded as something of a literacy heroine. As with Alcott, Austen also draws on her own life and it is believed that some of herself is in Elizabeth Bennet. She is quite opinionated and a real romantic. She is a bit of a dreamer too and loves reading. "Only the deepest love will persuade me into matrimony, which is why I will end up an old maid." She is cynical in some ways about love but that she only wants true love, shows how much of a romantic she is. She has personality, kindness and intelligence. Coming from a large family of sisters, the youngest of whom are loud, brash and poorly behaved. Her mother has similar poor behaviour and is not so fond of Lizzie. Closer to her father, his biggest desire is to see her happy despite pressing issues around the inheritance of the family home. Central to the book is of course her relationship with Darcy, which does not start out well at all. They make the other better and they both get their happy ending- like all good romantic tales should.
Sam Appleby, The Butterfly Box- Santa Montefiore
She was my favourite author (for a time) as a teen and I must have read this book several times over. I adored it and missed the characters when I finished it. The book is a saga, following the lives and loves of Federica Campione. From Italy, she moves to Cornwall with her mother and younger brother. She grows up, a childhood spent living on the coast and has a second family in the Appleby's whom are her neighbours. They are a big and eccentric family and she forms a close connection with them. Sam Appleby is the families eldest son, clever. Wise beyond his years, incredibly kind and with a love of nature. As the book progresses Sam, realises almost before it is too late his love for Federica of which he had spurned due to an age gap when they were growing up. I liked his character due to his nature, he was a bit of a silent hero in the lengths he would go for other people. He lived in an idyllic setting, right on the coast and my like for him was due to sharing the same value's/interests such as reading, family and others besides. Montefiore does so well in bringing depth and honesty to her characters. Having read most of the novels she has published, it is something that runs right through all of them
Emma Morley, One Day- David Nicholls
It is the most recent read of the books mentioned. After a bit of a run of disappointing books, One Day came at the perfect time. Adore this book. From its setting, how it's written, the story and it being about love. It follows the lives, over 20 years of two friends who met at university: Emma and Dexter. Each chapter begins with a quote and revisits each on the same day of July the 15th over this 20 year span. The character of Emma is a somewhat geeky individual, the book opens at her and Dexter's graduation and so begins their connection. It is a friendship that lasts for years and years, various obstacles prevent the pair from becoming more than friends. Emma has a candle burning for Dexter, he is unfortunately foolish and ignorant. Found the character of Emma to be very believable. There were things I could relate to, from way of thinking, to interests and some personality traits. There is part of the book in which she is drifting, she moved to London with grand ambitions in writing which do not come off. She ends up working in a Mexican restaurant and gets a bit stuck for a time. At present, well since I left university admittedly- several years ago now, I have been drifting through life. The book brought some optimism and inspiration in that Emma does find her calling.
Aragorn, Lord of the Rings Series- JRR Tolkien
My interest in fantasy has certainly waned since I was younger. I positively devoured the Tolkien novels growing up. Aragorn was a character I found the most interesting in the series. He is pretty deep, wise, selfless and brave. A noble hero. Humble too, as he had a fear of failure and he was very conscious of avoiding repeating the ills and mistakes of Isildur. Really enjoyed reading his journey to King in the books.
“All that is gold does not glitter. Not all those who wander are lost.
The old that is strong does not wither. Deep roots are not reached by frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken. A light from the shadows shall spring.
Renewed shall be blade that was broken: The crownless again shall be king.” (A poem about Aragorn by Bilbo Baggins)