(As always, today’s list is brought you courtesy of The Broke and the Bookish. Want to participate in Top 10 Tuesday? Image takes you to the sign up page.)
Although the main purpose of books is to tell stories, I think another big part of the reason for their existence is to inspire. Whether they convince us to try a new food, make a new friend, stand up for ourselves, or change our lives, books are there to inspire thoughts and actions.
Here’s my list of the characters that most inspire me.
- Katsa, Graceling – Kick-ass feminist and all-around extremely strong, talented, and intelligent character. She’s unsatisfied with her life, so she takes the bull by the horns and changes her own circumstances, refusing to fit into anyone’s standards of conventionality.
- Claire, Outlander – A tough-as-nails World War II British nurse who finds herself catapulted back in time to 1743 Scotland. Trapped in a ludicrous situation, Claire makes the best of it, and manages to keep herself sane and her family together. She’s got a mouth like a sailor and doesn’t take crap from anyone. Steadfast and strong, but very loving, with a great sense of humor.
- Sir Percy Blakeney, The Scarlet Pimpernel – A clever British nobleman who rescues innocent French aristocracy from the horrors of “Madame Le Guillotine.” Whip-smart, passionate, moral/principled to a fault, and willing to risk everything for the person he loves.
- Thursday Next, Thursday Next series – Intelligent, resourceful, and very brave. Genuinely kind, and ferociously dedicated to the beauty and importance of the written word.
- Bezellia Grove, The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove – She loves whom she loves, and refuses to apologize for it. Flies in the face of convention in a time when it could be downright dangerous to do so. Very strong, but still human enough to make mistakes. Hopefully in her situation I would be even stronger.
- Oscar Schindler – I include Schindler on my list even though Schindler’s List was based on a true story. As a Nazi businessman, Oscar Schindler first looked at the persecution of the Jews as a chance to secure cheap labor for his factories; but as the war ground on, as Hitler quickly devolved into a psychopath, Schindler began to use his wealth and power to save the very people he first thought should be used as pack mules. The film “Schindler’s List” is extremely powerful, and I hope that I would be brave and strong enough to do what I knew to be right, were I in a similar situation.
- Katherine, Forever… – Is brave enough at 17 to experience her first real love, and all the joys and pains that come along with that. Her feelings and thoughts mirror my own, which made me feel that I wasn’t alone in feeling the way I did.
- Jo March, Little Women – I love Jo because I see her grow up before my eyes. She’s passionate about her writing, and doesn’t rest until she’s helping her family by selling her stories. She’s strong enough to say no to an advantageous proposal that would have made her miserable, and she’s not afraid to be poor once she does fall in love. Smart, but with a temper that makes her more human, and makes me feel closer to her.
- The Little Engine That Could – Okay, so this is a kid’s book — it still applies to adults. It’s about believing in yourself, telling yourself you can do it, and then proving yourself right.
I’m noticing a theme here: bravery. Interesting. That’s certainly worth pondering.
What characters inspire you?
12 thoughts on “Top 10 Inspirational Characters”
I have Thursday Next on my list as well! Definitely someone I wish I was more like.
I’m so glad Thursday is on your list! Almost any time I mention that character, her series or its author, I’m met with blank stares. It’s like no one else has heard of it, which is a cryin’ shame. I’m glad I’m not the only one. 😉
Jo March made my list too! Her character definitely influenced me as a teenager.
I think Jo is a character that can speak to readers at pretty much any level. The novel begins when she is 14 or 15, and goes over a fairly long period of time; you see her grow and change and become the person she’s supposed to be. I love when novels cover a span of time large enough to see a character’s entire development. It’s a tough thing for authors to do well, and Alcott nailed it — she may have hated writing and being popular for Little Women, but she wrote it well.
I saw Katsa on another list – maybe I need to move Fire and Graceling up my TBR list.
Katsa is a great character. She’s very strong, and doesn’t follow a conventional path. She also kicks some serious butt while doing so. (I don’t like Fire as much, but she’s still awesome.) I can’t wait for the sequel, Bitterblue, to come out in April.
Jo has been and will continue to be such an inspiration for generations of girls and women who don’t fit the stereotype role of sugar and spice and everything nice 🙂 She made my list as well.
Jo is one of my favorite characters. Have you read much about Louisa May Alcott’s life? Turns out a lot of Jo’s famous temper was inherited from her creator. 😉 I have always appreciated the fact that despite her not wanting to write the novel, Alcott never let her dislike show in Little Women. I also love that occasionally the author’s voice pops through the narrative, offering a subtle jab at the silliness or insanity going on in the story.
Thanks for stopping by The Enchanted Book! As I read your list, I was struck by the inclusion of Oskar Schindler. I considered including him as I found the character in the book just as powerful as the film. But what makes the character truly stand out is Liam Neeson’s performance. What a film!
Neeson did a fantastic job in the film. A few years ago I got the chance to see both Auschwitz and Birkenau, and it was so eerie to see scenes from the book and film overlap with what I was actually seeing in front of me. Being in those camps, even as a tourist years after the horrible events that took place there, was enough taste of that for a lifetime. It had a big impact on me, and so Mr. Schindler will always be on my list.
Great list! I love Jo – she was such an inspiration to me as a kid. I also am reading Outlander and really love Claire as well.
Reading Lark’s Top 10
Outlander is a good series. I think the next one is supposed to be coming out relatively soon — the last one ended on a gigantic cliffhanger, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!