Monday, October 12, 2015

4 Things I Learned From the Coolest Women in Literature

There are very few literary heroines with whom I feel a real connection. I know that sounds lofty, but just think of how nice it is to read about a protagonist who thinks like you. I rarely identified with what characters looked like, but I definitely felt a kinship with the nerdy bookworm girls. No joke: I grew up feeling an actual friendship for Jo March because something about her approach to life made me want to be better. Even the mundane things she did sounded cool.

In fond tribute of a literary heroine who made me think that even I could be a writer, here are a few kick-butt literary women who taught me a few things about life:

“I'd have a stable full of Arabian steeds, rooms piled high with books, and I'd write out of a magic inkstand, so that my works should be as famous as Laurie's music. I want to do something splendid before I go into my castle--something heroic, or wonderful--that won't be forgotten after I'm dead. I don't know what, but I'm on the watch for it, and mean to astonish you all, some day. I think I shall write books, and get rich and famous; that would suit me, so that is my favorite dream.”

“Oh, comply!” it said. “. . . soothe him; save him; love him; tell him you love him and will be his. Who in the world cares for you? or who will be injured by what you do?” Still indomitable was the reply: “I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself. I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man. I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad—as I am now. Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation. . . . They have a worth—so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is because I am insane—quite insane: with my veins running fire, and my heart beating faster than I can count its throbs.

Beauty: You called me beautiful last night.
Beast: You do not believe me then?
Beauty: Well - no. Any number of mirrors have told me otherwise.
Beast: You will find no mirrors here, for I cannot bear them: nor any quiet water in ponds. And since I am the only one who sees you, why are you not then beautiful?

Beatrice. Good Lord, for alliance! Thus goes every one to the world but I, and I am sunburnt; I may sit in a corner and cry heigh-ho for a husband!
Don Pedro. Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.
Beatrice. I would rather have one of your father's getting. Hath your grace ne'er a brother like you? Your father got excellent husbands, if a maid could come by them.
Don Pedro. Will you have me, lady?
Beatrice. No, my lord, unless I might have another for working-days: your grace is too costly to wear
every day. But, I beseech your grace, pardon me: I was born to speak all mirth and no matter.

You can find Jo March in Little Women, Jane Eyre in Jane Eyre (duh), Beauty in Robin McKinley's Beauty, and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing

In addition to talking to Jo March when no one else was around, Little Michelle used to build secret horse barns* out of woodchips, designed toga dresses, and build blanket forts that covered the entire basement. In short, Little Michelle was frickin’ adorable.

*Secret because she hid them in the backyard, where she thought Mom and Dad couldn’t see she was messing with their landscaping. Yeah…they totally never noticed entire piles of woodchip mulch being moved and glued into structures big enough for Grand Champions horses…

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