Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Question of Jane Eyre + More Practical Heroines

After I posted my previous list of practical heroines, a few of you expressed your outrage that Jane Eyre was not included. And I had thought about it! Really! But I wound up deciding that, no matter how much I love Jane Eyre (the character) and Jane Eyre (the book), she is . . . just not very practical. She is brave and independent and stubborn, but that's not the same thing. Standing up for yourself to a cousin even though you know it will get you punished and maybe beaten? Not practical. Running away out into the wilderness with no plan or supplies? Not practical. Turning down a respectable offer of marriage when you're an orphan with no prospects, in that cultural context? Not practical. And that's okay! That's why we love her! I'm not saying she's not awesome, just that she doesn't fit the criteria for this particular list. Like real people, we should allow characters to be awesome in many different ways!

Upon further reflection, though, I am surprised that no one mentioned Hermione or Katniss. Thoughts?

And here are some more suggestions for practical heroines that have trickled in:
Ann Aguirre: Sirantha Jaxx series
Cassandra Clare: Clockwork Angel
Karen Cushman: Catherine, Called Birdy
Diana Wynne Jones
Stephanie Perkins: Lola & the Boy Next Door
Diane Setterfield: The Thirteenth Tale

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