Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Inspirational Characters

I just love Tuesdays don't you? It means that its time for another Top Ten Tuesday list, sponsored by The Broke and the Bookish.

Inspiration in a character can come from just about anywhere. My interperetation of the term 'inspirational' would be those characters who inspire you to be a better person, or to really examine the way you think about a situation, or the way a character's goodness and strength have shaped the events in a story. So with that in mind, here are my top ten.

1. Jane Eyre. I just finished reading this not too long ago (click here for my review!), and I was struck so much by how Jane would not be pushed around, even though societal conventions left most women in similar situations completely meek and docile. She values herself and her beliefs, and will not be shaken, not by love and not by force or hardship. There is something in Jane that I think we all can look to for inspiration-we can all use a little of her backbone at times!

2. Eleanore Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility. She is the most levelheaded and selfless character I know-and always putting the needs of others before herself. While this almost leads to her perfect unhappiness, Jane Austen thankfully remembered poor Eleanore and her struggles and managed to give her the happy ending she so richly deserved.

3. Lady Jane Gray (lots of Janes, huh?). I know she was a real person, but her story is incredibly inspiring to me. She led a miserable 16 years and was forced onto the throne by her grasping family, supplanting the rightful heir, Mary I. But she was a brilliant scholar at that tender age, corresponding with the great minds of the world. She also had an unshakable devoutness for the Protestant faith-she clung to it to the very end, even when converting may have saved her life. To have such strength of belief and sharpness of mind at 16 years old is just amazing to me. Who knows what she may have achieved had she been allowed to live. See my review for the Alison Weir book based on Jane Grey, Innocent Traitor, here.

4. Benny Hogan, Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy. Benny is a larger girl with an even bigger heart who refuses to let anyone's preconceived notions of beauty get her down. She is determined to experience life to the utmost, and even when she is betrayed by those closest to her, she still doesn't shake that powerful inner core. Don't mess with Benny!

5. Elphaba from Wicked by Gregory Maguire. She goes to the farthest lengths to fight for what she believes in, despite major setbacks like green skin. Always misunderstood, she doesn't give up and strives to the very end to try to do what is right. I admire her strength of character very much. Before reading this book I never would have thought I'd be rooting for the Wicked Witch!

6. Novalee Nation from Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts. Talk about being given a bum hand. Everything that possibly can go wrong to Novalee does. But with a core of inner strength and a little kindness from strangers, she manages to rebuild her life, making it richer and more beautiful than it was before.

7. Aliena from Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. Another shining example of not giving up even when the odds are against you. Her perserverance and sharp intellect navigated her and her brother from the depths of despair to shining victory. Richard never would have succeeded if it weren't for capable Aliena. Go girl!

8. Jo March from Little Women. Another strong woman who believes in her family, and also believes in her dreams. She gleefully marches to the beat of her own drummer and finds happiness waiting for her at the bend in the road.

9. Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. She talks her way into your heart with every page. Her thirst for life is truly infectious, inspiring you to see it through the rose colored glasses that she made.

10. Will from The Amber Spyglass and the Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman. I should also include Lyra here too, because they really were a team. But I admire Will's strength in being the sole caretaker of his mother, and for managing to find his way in a completely strange world. And the courage he brings to the team of Will and Lyra is crucial to its success.

I see a pattern up there-I tend to gravitate towards strong women who have to overcome something. How does your list compare?


Red said...

I love that you have Elphaba on here. I didn't think of her. She's a wonderful character that does get you rooting for the Wicked Witch

TwoBibliomaniacs said...

I definitely like your choices of Jane Eyre, Jo March, and Anne Shirley. Aliena is also a great inspiration – like you said; what perserverance! Great list.

TwoBibliomaniacs said...

Thanks for the follow! You've also got yourself a new follower. I'm very anxious to know what you think of The Eyre Affair. I'm on book 3 and love the series. Such a unique idea.

Tribute Books Mama said...

here's mine http://tributebooksmama.blogspot.com/2011/01/top-ten-tuesday-most-inspirational.html

Shanyn said...

Will and Lyra are a great choice! I didn't consider them when making my list but I definitely agree.

brandileigh2003 said...

Jo is a great addition- its been forever since I read that.
Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

I cannot believe I forgot Novalee!! This is one of the few books whose movie was almost as good! I've seen Wicked but am dying to read the book...will have to push it up my list.

Andrea said...

Great list! We shared Anne on our lists. I also love that you included Benny. She is such a wonderful character. I wish I had thought of her as well.

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