My favourite literary character of all time would have to be Anne Shirley of “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery. This is a difficult question so there are many runners-up as well. I love Anne, who I discovered in sixth grade, thanks to my infinitely kind, understanding and loving school librarian, Mrs. North. Anne is so vivid, talkative, imaginative and open. She had so little love in her life until she came to Green Gables that her openness, receptivity and appreciation for any affection that came her way was truly inspiring. It’s obvious that despite having received little love, she had immense love to give and she both gave and received that love in large measure when she came to Green Gables.
My MBA professor, Rhona Berengut, used to say in our “Interpersonal Managerial Skills” class that “we often think our feelings instead of feeling our feelings”. Anne is an example of someone who is not afraid to feel her feelings; good or bad, she feels them deeply and thus always emerges from each experience with new wisdom and maturity.
Other aspects of Anne I love are her talent in expressing herself, her love of language and literature, her determination to succeed academically and her loyalty and gratitude to the dear ones in her life (Matthew, Marilla, Diana, Mrs. Allan, Miss Josephine Barry, eventually Gilbert, Rebecca Dew, etc.).
Now for the runners-up:
1) Mike Jackson (no, not that one): the boy-hero of “Mike at Wrykyn”, and a central figure in “Mike and Psmith” and “Psmith in the City”, all by P.G. Wodehouse. He is stoic, immensely talented at cricket, loyal, affectionate under the surface and supportive of family and friends. This is a rather pale description of a remarkable literary figure so you’ll have to read at least “Mike at Wrykyn” to see what I mean. Thanks to Arrow Publishing for reprinting Mr. Wodehouse’s wonderful works!
2) Mary Anne Spier of “The Baby-Sitters Club” by Ann M. Martin: Shy, sweet, sensitive and supportive. Extremely mature, responsible and self-aware for her age (thirteen). Gradually becomes more confident and assertive, which makes her an even more attractive character.
3) Jessica Wakefield of the “Sweet Valley” series created by Francine Pascal: My high school best friend and I agreed that because we both resembled the more steady twin Elizabeth, we naturally found Jessica more interesting. She’s fun, exciting, lively and vibrant. She always bounces back with an enviable resilience. Nothing gets her down for long! As one character put it, “she knows what she wants and goes after it with everything she’s got!” And despite a reputation for being heedless and impulsive, she has been known to make the sweetest and most tender gestures for her twin. I love her incredible spontaneity.
4) Laura Ingalls Wilder, heroine and author of the “Little House” series. My mother got “Little House on the Prairie” for me and that is one of the reasons it is precious. Laura is creative, courageous and definitely more of a trailblazer than elder sister Mary. Loved the intelligence and responsiveness she displayed as a child. The responsibility and dedication shown by the young woman makes her an inspiring role model.
5) Tintin, by Herge. Adventurous, brave, well-travelled, shows amazing presence of mind, passionate about justice, supporter of the underdog, yet is modest, fun and humorous. Can take a joke on himself very well. He is well-deserving of his dog Snowy’s loyal affection.
Who are your favourite literary characters? Perhaps we have some in common.
Look out for my post next week on my favourite authors. I’ll be including some non-fiction authors as well!