Thursday, February 28, 2008

Booking Through Thursday--Who's My Heroine?

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?)

I decided to do Booking Through Thursday today. After all it is a pretty good question.
I guess I would choose Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice because I really do like the character and she came up in conversation just last night. The topic was why women would be attracted to men who look down on them. It occurred to me to use P & P as an example. Of course, most of us know that Mr. Darcy considered Elizabeth beneath him due to her family "connections" and his first confession of love was disdainful at best. It is only after Mr. Darcy has gotten his hands dirty helping Elizabeth's low connections and been humbled by his love that he becomes an acceptable suitor. It strikes me that it is the humbling process or at least the wish to see the man humbled that makes a woman see an arrogant, condescending man as an acceptable partner.

I'm going to also choose Meggie of Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. This is a kid's book but I really enjoyed it myself. I'd put it up there with Harry Potter among the truly memorable books for kids. Meggie is a reader, semi-orphaned and a devoted daughter to her father. She handles multiple adventures with frightening villains and a new brand of magic with considerable spirit.

I also like women detectives, namely VI Warshawski, Kinsey Milhone, Anna Pigeon, Mma Ramotswe, Stephanie Plum and Temperance Brennan. If you want to know authors and books let me know in a comment.

Of course there are many other powerful women characters in literature but I would like to end with one observation. That is that we are still biased towards men in literature. Too many books with strong female protagonists wind up consigned to the chick lit pile. It is hard to get a boy to read a book about a girl but the reverse is not necessarily true. As a kid I read Nancy Drew but I also read the entire Hardy Boys series. Try to catch a boy reading Nancy Drew (at least in public)! And in mainstream novels too many female characters are afterthoughts or actually men in women's clothes, as it were.

Have a great Thursday and thanks for reading.


Kathe said...

V.I. Warshaski....I know that one! But can't remember which book. I do remember Kathleen Turner played her in a movie though, and that I liked the book. (I read both Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys too.)

sarala said...

VI was in Sara Paretsky's series about a detective living in Chicago.

Kathe said...

But was that also the title of maybe the first book? I remember the character, and that it was part of a series. But I can't think of which book I'd read.

Mervi said...

"And in mainstream novels too many female characters are afterthoughts or actually men in women's clothes, as it were."

I fully agree with you there. I rather like Brennan, too, although I prefer the tv-Brennan to the book-Tempe mostly because tv-Brennan has such an appealing geek supporting cast.