8 Lessons Heroines from Literature Taught Us
Literature’s heroines are not spoken about as much as I’d like them to be. So here is my list of my eight favourite heroines from English literature and what I have learnt from them. Apart from learning something important from them, one interesting thing that is common amongst all of them is that I have identified with them from the first time I have read their stories.
1. Jo March — A rebel, argumentative, impulsive, smart, creative — ever since I read Little Women for the first time, I knew that Jo was me. She wanted to be independent even when she was young and hated to see her loved ones troubled or sad. Her heart was big and temper fiery. She never minced words and spoke her mind. She hated being a girl for she thought boys had all the fun. Well, though she had to spend her life being a girl, she did ensure her life had adventure and many experiences. Josephine March taught me integrity and honesty.
2. Hermione Granger — No literary is as real to me as her. A Virgo and a nerd, she reminded me of a younger me. But she is far wiser than I still am and that is the reason I’ve had some things to learn from her. The most important thing is that being intelligent is not a weakness. An intelligent woman is perceived as a threat by many men and women, alike. But that is not true and I’ve learnt that. Hermione’s also taught me that it’s okay to fail and a girl doesn’t have to be dainty. This was of course a validation, for I have never been the one to sit & play with dolls, or be prim & propah! Lastly, she’s taught me to always stand up for what I believe in and to never give up on the one I love.
3. George Kirrin –
“If Julian can do it, then so could I.”
Oh yes, sister! That is the spirit I love in a woman and Georgina had it in her. If someone else, especially a boy can do it, why cannot you, a girl? She never allowed anyone to treat her any less and was always ready for any competition — be it of the brain or stamina. While she did go a little overboard with wanting to be a boy, her grit, stamina, intelligence and honesty are worth inspiration.
4. Scarlet O’Hara — Scarlet was manipulative and selfish, and I won’t hesitate to say that I hated her the first time I read Gone With The Wind. Growing up, I realized how real she was and how there is a part of her in all of us. Scarlet’s negative traits can be perceived as positive as well. For instance, her self-confidence was a game changer. She might have been wrong in the ways she employed, but she did teach that it is okay to go after what you want. And her life has definitely taught me how unfruitful playing games can be. To be burnt to ashes and rise from the same ashes — that is what Scarlet O’Hara taught me.
5. Jane Marple — Intelligence is a state of mind and it doesn’t need to dim with age. You can be old and still be extremely sharp, if you keep exercising your brain enough — is what Miss Marple has taught me. One big trick I have learnt from Miss Marple comes to use every day of my life and it is to talk less and listen more. The moment you listen more, you learn more — for people are always willing to talk, even if they are giving away secrets in the process.
6. Lucy Pevensie — If it wasn’t for Lucy, we wouldn’t have known about Narnia, right? So what Lucy taught me is simple — keep your imagination alive. And if you believe in something, it’s okay if others are taking time to be convinced. If you have the conviction, they will be convinced, one day soon.
7. Lizzie Bennett — Self-respect in a woman is of utmost importance to her. It should not be compromised with for anyone, or else, there will be no respect ever. The second daughter of the Bennetts, Lizzie was everything I love in women. When she loved, she gave her all. And when she hated, she spared no emotion. She stood up for her family when needed and forgave Darcy for all this atrocities on a mere apology, because she could see how genuine it was. She fought ferociously for her sister and for her own love.
8. Emma Woodhouse — This character of Austen’s was severely flawed. Only thing going for her was that she meant well. One very important thing she taught was to love yourself despite your flaws. To consider yourself worthy and to never think less of yourself — this is what I have learnt from this heroine of English literature.