Remember the time when summer vacation was just around the corner and your teacher was ready to hand you that list of homework that included a reading list? You wouldn’t stop complaining to your fellow classmates. But now that you’ve read the classics, aren’t you glad you came across some legendary characters in literature?
Let us give you a flashback of some of the female fictional characters that were truly revolutionary in their day and age. We have to definitely give credit to the writers of course, who portrayed their thoughts, ideas and perceptions through these characters.
Jane Eyre (Jane Eyre)
“Crying does not indicate that you are weak. Since birth, it has always been a sign that you are alive.”
Women are known to be emotional and are often illusioned to be “weak” because of this trait. Charlotte Bronte beautifully broke this misconception when she created the character of Jane Eyre in 1847. Jane Eyre bravely addressed the gender constraints of the time and actively defied them. An excerpt from the novel that is a winner is:
“Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags.”
Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice)
We have seen the famous Aishwarya Rai impersonate this character in the movie Bride and Prejudice, and we’re thankful that Elizabeth Bennet got a huge Indian audience who understood the gender and class inequalities that individuals faced in the 19th century. The novel, Pride and Prejudice was written by Jane Austen and originally published in 1813. The father, who also comprehended these divisions in the society and took Elizabeth’s side whenever necessary, was an example of a supporter of feminism. Although, Lizzie needed no help, as she was self sufficient in her views that were not easy to sway.
Josephine March (Little Women)
Referred to as Jo March mostly in the book, she is the outspoken tomboy of the plot. Lousia May Alcott brilliantly paints this character in her book Little Women, taking quite a bit of inspiration from herself indeed. Jo’s persona can be termed as “unusual” for 19th century as she was rebellious, opinioned, and outspoken. Unlike most women in the era, she defied idea that the ideal role for women was being a housewife and wanted a career for herself.
Elinor and Marianne Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility)
In this novel by Jane Austen, the two sisters represent the idea of sense i.e. self-command, discipline, thought, control, guidance through Elinor and the idea of sensibility i.e. emotional and unreasonable through Marianne. To portray a personality that thinks rationally, has thoughts and ideas is equal to breaking stereotype of women. Jane Austen subtly pictures this concept in her story and it is great to know this thought is well received by the audience.
Has that got you thinking of other fictional characters? I’m sure it has. Care to share any female feminist characters you loved? Do tell us about them in the comments section below.
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