Thursday, February 28, 2008

Booking through Female characters

Who is your favorite female lead character? And why? (And yes, of course, you can name more than one ).

Amongst the classic ones, I like Jane Eyre, the protagonist of the novel by the same name written by Charlotte Bronte. She is orphaned, plain-featured and reserved but very talented, empathetic, hard-working, honest, blunt, and passionate girl. Skilled at studying, drawing, and teaching, she works as a governess at Thornfield Manor and falls in love with her employer, Edward Rochester. However, her strong sense of conscience does not permit her to become his mistress, and she does not return to him until his mad wife is dead and she herself has come into an inheritance. By that time, he has lost his sight and one arm. That does not deter her from marrying him.

Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell stands out because she is strong and saves her family but is incredibly selfish and petty at the same time. She challenges nineteenth-century society's gender roles by running a store and two lumber mills at one point. She survives the war, several marriages, the birth of children, and even a miscarriage. Scarlett presents a fresher, deeper female characterization in a difficult period of history. But for Melanie, she would have been just a hard female. They are perfect foil for each other. Scarlett can never accept defeat.

Offred from The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood too has a lasting impact. Despite her situation, we see a rebellion streak in her. She has that instinct to survive and not to give in.

From what I have read of Picoult, her female characters are very interesting and strong too. For the moment, I can't recall any one else.