The Strongest Female Literary Characters of All Time – Part 1
What can be more appealing than a leading female character in a good book or film? Some of history’s most intriguing literary characters, both fictional and real, have been female. From heroines to young teenage sleuths, female characters have captured our imagination ever since they first appeared in literature. The female is without doubt the most complex of the species, and therefore the most interesting to write and read about. And in this blog we explore some of the strongest female literary characters that have ever appeared in books.
Jane Austen is one of the most prolific writers of her generation, and her skill at describing characters in her books is exceptional. One such character appears in her best seller Pride and Prejudice. The book has at its center a family called the Bennett’s. And Lizzie is the witty but stubborn second daughter. Like the rest of her siblings in this classic 1813 novel, Elizabeth Bennett is not meant to marry for love but instead for money and status purposes. Her character develops right though the book as the plot unfolds, but Lizzie upsets her family by remaining obstinate and sticks to a concept that was unheard of at the time and remains single, waiting for true love.
One of the first female sleuths in literature was Nancy Drew, and Edward Sratemeyer knew exactly what he was doing when he created her. Nancy Drew first appeared in the 1930s and the character was revolutionary, up to then women detectives had been portrayed as little more than sidekicks, glamour that made the coffee. But Nancy Drew was very much the leading lady, it was ground breaking writing as she was just as clever as any male detective, physically as strong and just as fearless. Each novel was a clever piece of mystery, and with Nancy at the core, the books were best sellers.
Who has not read Little Women? It is a classic novel by Louisa May Alcott that tells the story of the March family and all their antics. Jo March is the second eldest of the sisters and her personality is very much a rough and tumble tomboy. This character was really quite adventurous for 1868, as society at the time knew little of such behavior and even though tomboys existed they were rarely written about. Jo is fascinating and a refreshing break from the stereotypical ladies of the day. She is strong willed, literary and confident, these were rare qualities for society ladies of the day, and were actually facets that males were afraid of.
And as such, Jo fights against society, she defies what is expected of her and how women should behave in the 19th century in America. All this contributes to making Jo such a refreshing character and one of the most loved in period literature. We continue our blog in finding the strongest female literary characters of all time in part two of our blog, when Lisbeth Salander and Hermione Granger take center stage.