Favorite Female Character from School Books

Friday, August 22, 2014

Day 4 of the Back to School Blogging Challenge! Learn more about the challenge here.

Here we are on Day 4 of the Back to School Blogging Challenge, and today's topic is one of my favorites: Books! I guess it's actually more of a combination of two of my favorite topics, which would be feminism and books. Okay, not actually directly feminism, but awesome women.

The official prompt for today was to choose a character from a book you read for school that you would want to be, and explain why. Honestly, I've read a lot of books for school, and I'm not sure I would want to be any specific character. I'm the type of person who likes to think about being friends with certain characters, not actually being a character. Therefore, I'm going to write about it a little differently, and talk about my favorite female characters from the books I read when I was in school, and tell you why I like them. 

Lizzie Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I read this book for the first time when I was in junior high at the recommendation of my teacher. I really liked it then, but I read it again when I was in high school as preparation for one of my AP Exams, and I think it's definitely hit home more for me. Elizabeth Bennett is intelligent, opinionated, passionate, and at times stubborn. Her courage to be so steadfast in her beliefs is something I love about her, but at the same time she is willing to admit her flaws and ultimately follow her heart. I know that LB is the quintessential favorite female character for Austen fans, but no list of strong female characters would be complete without Miss Bennett. 

Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bront√ę
I was super hesitant to put Jane on the list. I even texted my best friend to see what she thought (which she thought that I shouldn't) but I couldn't resist. The first time I read this book I hated Jane. I thought she was a holier-than-thou, odd, freakish woman... and what is the deal with referring to Mr. Rochester as "master"? But the second time I read it, I realized that Jane Eyre is actually an interesting character. Scarred by a less-than-ideal childhood, yet still devout in her beliefs and grounded in her morals, I came to respect her and her quest for self-respect which is something that I think is a universal struggle for women. 

Skeeter and Aibileen Clark from The Help by Kathryn Stockett
I read this book for fun when I was in high school, after one of the proctors I had for an SAT exam was reading it and recommended it. I loved Skeeter. She's hilarious, sarcastic, and ambitious, which is something I identify with strongly. I applaud her for sticking to her guns about writing The Help even though she basically ruins her reputation (but who gives a crap what Hilly thinks of her anyway?). But Aibileen had double my respect for her grace, poise, and courage that she displayed throughout the story. No one should be treated the way Aibileen was treated, and no one deserves what happens to her, but she rises above it ultimately for the better. This is such a great book, and it is still applicable to the issues of race that we have in this country, even today. 

Janie Crawford from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
This was my favorite book in high school. It was the book that taught me to love reading for fun again, and it was at the recommendation (assignment) of my AP Language teacher which I wrote about earlier this week. Very similar to Aibileen, I think Janie has a tremendous amount of grace in the way that she carries herself, despite the things that have happened to her. I admire her romanticism, the way she still sees the romantic and beautiful things in life no matter what she deals with. When faced with an impossible decision, she did what was right for her and no matter what, that needs to be celebrated. At the same time, I admire Zora Neale Hurston, an amazing anthropologist whose work on African American culture is unparalleled. This book, and Ms. Hurston, are the things that piqued my interest in anthropology, and that interest has blossomed into a passion for studying people. 

Hermione Granger from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Is there ever a list of favorite characters without Hermione? Smart, witty, know-it-all, hilarious, at times pretentious, but steadfastly loyal, kind, and compassionate. I remember reading the first Harry Potter books and thinking about how much I was like Hermione (I was such a know it all. I did my cousins' homework all the time). But she shows that intelligence is not all that makes a person. Your life is not measured in grades, accolades, and awards, but in your friends and the connections you make along the way. Beautiful character, beautiful story. Timeless. Perfect. 

Are there any characters I should add? Any you would take away? Let me know in the comments! 

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