Thursday, February 28, 2008

Heroine - Booking Through Thursday

Who is your favorite female lead character? And why? (And yes, of course, you can name more than one . . . I always have trouble narrowing down these things to one name, why should I force you to?)

Thursday has come round very quickly - it's Booking Through Thursday again.

My immediate response to this question was Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, for her quick wittedness, good sense and spirit, then Jo in Little Women because of her independence and intelligence and Cousin Helen in What Katy Did as she was such a good person. But these are all characters from books I read a long time ago; there must be some more modern female characters that I like.

Again, one that came to my mind quickly is Lyra in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, for her courage and determination. Then there is Grace in Margaret Atwood's Amazing Grace, aptly named as I think she is amazing and enigmatic and like the other female characters I like she is full of courage in her desperate situation. Susan Ward in Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner is another strong female character; and Astrid in Astrid and Veronika by Linda Olsson - she is reclusive and an introvert and also a strong, determined woman.

It seems I like strong, determined women with a mind of their own and able to cope with difficult situations. So why is Elizabeth Bennet such a favourite, after all she didn't have to cope with serious illness, or live in poverty, or deal with manipulative, domineering, homicidal men, or make a home in the American west? I think maybe it's because I see her through rose-coloured glasses and because she is the first female character that caught my imagination when I first read Pride and Prejudice, possibly the first adult book I read.


Melody said...

Oh, I love Pride and Prejudice. I find Elizabeth makes a great heroine because she's not afraid to speak up her mind. I enjoyed reading Astrid and Veronika because I find the two female characters unforgettable. Great choice!

Happy BTT!

gautami tripathy said...

I liked Offred too from Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. She has a lasting impact.

Here is my BTT post

Angela Young said...

I so agree that there are others ... but Lizzie was the one that sprang unbidden into my mind when I read the BTT question. So I stuck with her because she embodies the qualities that a woman in 2008 wouldn't be ashamed to possess. But she was - just as she was for you - one of the first I ever fell in love with, one of the first I read, so perhaps that's the real reason she stays with me so tenaciously.

joanna said...

I've never read Pride and Prejudice... I guess I have to! ;-)

I loved Jo in Little Women too - although when I think about it more I like all the characters in that book! It's actually Little Women that got me hooked on reading books that are more worthwhile than the teenage variety.

Stefanie said...

Elizabeth is a favorite of mine too. I think it is because she is smart and witty, stands up for herself, and goes against the grain of her time and the opinion of others.

She Became a Butterfly said...

i just joined the tbr challenge, and i thought i'd check out your blog.

my friend and i just started a book lovers message board, so i thought i'd invite you!!


Barbara H. said...

Jo made my list, too. Ive read P&P but I am not familiar with the others mentioned.

BooksPlease said...

Melody, I agree Elizabeth has the confidence to speak out whoever she meets.

Gautami, I'd forgotten about Offred - she's a good choice.

Angela, that's a good point - Elizabeth is a woman for all times.

Joanna, I'd always recommend reading Pride and Prejudice. I love Jane Austen's books, but P & P is my favourite.

Stefanie, I should have said she's feisty and unafraid.

She Became a Butterfly, I couldn't find your message board!

Barbara, I've enjoyed all those books for different reasons, but they all contain interesting female characters.

Val Gryphin said...

Wow, Elizabeth and Jo have made a lot of people's lists!

GeraniumCat said...

Don't think it matters that Lizzie didn't have to contend with all those problems you mentioned, because we're sure that she would have the strength of character to deal with them? I hadn't thought of Cousin Helen, but she was certainly on influence on me. I must get a copy of What Katy Did, I haven't read it since I was very young.

BooksPlease said...

Geraniumcat, I've been meaning to read What Katy Did again for the Heart of a Child Challenge. Cousin Helen influenced me too! I might start reading it tonight - I still have the book from my childhood.

Maree said...

When I think of Cousin Helen, I think of her smoothing the lines off her forehead for some reason. She's a good choice.

StuckInABook said...

Elizabeth B was the first into my head, too - and she made my final three. I imagine she'll be the most popular, and with good reason!

Chris said...

Lizzie has been on many lists, and for good reason.

Teena said...

I haven't read any of these ... thanks for the tips!

I played too :)

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Of your picks, I've only read Lyra's books -- and then, only the first two.

I've been amazed this week by how many of us have really honed in on strong characters, the type who fight and go for what they want.

We've had a HUGE discussion about in the comment trail over at my post. Come join in; it's been fascinating.