Thursday, January 7, 2016

Six of My Favorite Literary Characters from My Childhood

Some of my most influential literary characters are listed below.  These are all books I read up until college and as I was writing this post I came to a realization about the characters I chose to grasp onto.  Check in next week for more Favorite Literary Characters from my adult-hood.

Margaret Simon from Are You There God?  It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume.
I probably read this book 5 times between third grade and when I went to high school. Margaret and I were on the same page.

Dicey Tillerman from Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt.
Dicey takes her three younger siblings on a trek to find their only family when their mother disappears.  She makes sure they have food, they stay out of trouble (for the most part) and they find somewhere safe.  Dicey amazed me and I remember rooting for her and worrying about MayBeth and Sammy just as she was.

Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery.Anne is probably the most influential character in my life.  She is full of life and creative and strong-willed.  She tells the truth and knows exactly what she wants.  Anne lived for the dramatic and I loved all her crazy imaginings, but I was really the more conservative Diana Barry.  I think that's why I loved Anne so much.  She inspired me to write and to love stories.  When Diana sent her story in to the contest, I felt just as sick as Anne did, and when Gilbert Blythe teased her, I was infuriated! But I had a crush on him from the get go and throughout the series, I waited desperately for them to finally come together.  I've written about Anne and Anne of Green Gables a few times.
Character Spotlights:  Anne,   Gilbert
Other mentions:  Happy Birthday L.M. Montgomery,  Motherly Literary Figures

Jo March from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
I already wanted to be a writer when I met Jo March and her family.  She just made it more of a necessity.  I loved that she was always in charge, loud, and not one to always follow the rules of society.  Very opposite of me.  I am and have always been quiet and a rule-follower, but I tried to make myself a little writing nook like I imagined hers to be.  And I still get angry at Amy for burning her manuscript.  So angry.

Scarlett O'Hara from Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.
To be honest, I watched the movie well before I read the book in high school, so most of my love of Scarlett comes from watching the movie.  My cousin loved the movie and introduced me to it.  Scarlett was in control--she was a spoiled brat who used some incredibly hateful means to get what she wanted--but she was in charge.  Really she was an awful person, but I loved her as a character, and I remember my mom talking with me about the type of person Scarlett was and whether she was right in her actions or not.

Lizzie Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Although I didn't read P&P until I was in college, I still consider Lizzie's character and important one to my understanding of myself.  I loved that she was smarter than anyone else in her family and she knew it.  Everyone knew it.

One thing that I noticed here is that all of these characters that I attached to as I grew up were the opposite of what I saw in myself--except for Margaret.  Maybe I was searching for the part of myself that is louder, more confident, more dramatic, and not afraid to take charge of a situation?  Maybe I was searching for more of that in myself.  Maybe it worked, because I do feel more in charge and confident in myself than I ever did growing up.

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