Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Inspirational Characters

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s list: our Top Ten Most Inspirational Characters. Here are mine:

1. Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. Or you can call her Cordelia. She has the most vivid imagination, she inspires all who meet her and she is loyal to those she loves, even when that loyalty calls for bitter self-sacrifice.

2. Jacky Faber from The Bloody Jack series by L. A. Meyer. Jacky is a sixteen-year-old pirate/privateer (depending on who you ask). She is extremely adventurous, resourceful and talented. While she doesn’t always make the best choices, she never suffers from boredom. She doesn’t forget her Cockney orphan roots and her friends. What I love most about her: she repeatedly outwits seasoned sailors, soldiers and politicians, showing them how clever a girl can be.

3. Catherine from Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman. She thinks of the best pranks to scare away unwanted suitors while discovering what it means to be free.

4. Sherlock Holmes. Yes, he’s a drug addict and a bit arrogant, but I love him. His character inspired so many quirky detectives.

5. Sorcha from Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier. I could have easily listed ten women from Marillier’s books as inspirational characters. It’s difficult to pick just one! Marillier’s women are strong and heroic through the most horrible events. I chose Sorcha because she was the first Marillier heroine I read. She suffers in literal silence as she works to free her brothers from a curse in a novel that is loosely based on the fairy tale “The Six Swans.”

6. Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye. I know a lot of people dislike Holden, sometimes claiming he is too whiny and emo. When I read this classic, however, I empathized with his character. Sometimes I felt like his thoughts echoed my own, even though Salinger wrote his character several decades before I was born. Just like Holden, I am disgusted by all of the “phonies” in the world.

7. Jo March from Little Women. I’ve read Little Women at least four times. I own my mother’s copy and intend to pass it on to my daughter when she is older. Jo grows so much in this novel. She can be impetuous (cutting off her hair for money), and she loves fiercely. Sometimes that love is unrequited. She dares to make choices that many girls of her era would never have contemplated.

8. Eliza Sommers from Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende. She is the headstrong half-Chilean half-English heroine of Allende’s novel set in California during the gold rush. Eliza endures some terrible circumstances and becomes a stronger woman in the process. She also learns to distinguish true love from puppy love, and to give up her deep-seated prejudices.

9. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear. Maisie is an intelligent girl who becomes a nurse during World War I and later a psychologist/private investigator during the War’s aftermath. Maisie solves crimes with unconventional methods, focusing on healing as well as discovery.

10. Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I love Elizabeth Bennet for being herself, for challenging and intriguing Mr. Darcy. She is witty, sincere and unpretentious. I’m sure she’ll make an appearance on many people’s top ten list!


6 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Most Inspirational Characters

  1. Ah, Lizzy Bennett. She’s one of my favorite characters. She can be inspiring for what she does, but also for what she doesn’t do: she doesn’t practice the same falseness and meanness as Miss Bingley and Mrs. Hurst; she doesn’t faint like some school girl when Mr. Darcy rains on her parade. She’s also a source of inspiration because she experiences the pain of having been prideful and prejudiced, and lives through it (and gets the guy too!). Just as she helps readers decide how to be, she also shows them how not to be.

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