Don’t Hate Them- Characters I Love

So many characters that people dislike!  I decided to do some googling to see what the most hated characters were and boy did I have a bunch to read.  But anyway, here are some characters I saw getting a lot of hate that I just had to defend.   You don’t have to love these characters, just try and think about things from their perspective for a bit.

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Scarlett O’Hara:  Look I know she’s selfish, I know she was cruel to her sister, and that she tried to seduce Ashley Wilkes. I get it. And I don’t condone most of what she did. I just understand her, and I admire her strength.  Imagine if Scarlett had been passive or just one of the other women in the books. The whole O’Hara family would have starved! Scarlett got things done, and I think she deserves some understanding for that.  A lot of people also seemed to think that her not wanting to be hungry again was bad motivation. But have you ever had to worry about where your next meal was coming from? Have you ever seen starving people? I have. I’ve lived in third world countries before. Being hungry is terrible. Being poor really really sucks.  And so I totally understand the driving desire to be comfortable and make sure the people around you don’t go hungry.

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Anna Karenina:  I haven’t read this book in awhile but I’m planning to read it again soon. Anna is a ”bad woman”, a mother of a young son, who gets swept up in a love affair that ends her life.  I think people tend to forget that Anna lived in a time when divorce was not an option for members of society.  I think people also forget that Anna was a woman who was used by the men around her.  Her husband used her for business, and saw her simply as a womb for his children, and a comfort for his bed.  Did he ever stop to ask himself how she felt, what she thought?  Their marriage was all about him, when marriage should be about both.  It’s a giving and taking, not just a giving.  Sadly men of that day weren’t really taught that.
Anna was also used by her lover Vronsky. I find it hard to believe that he truly loved her. If he had he would have stopped for a moment to think about what he was doing.
Anna was not accustomed to passion so is it any wonder that it turned her head?  Now I’m not condoning all of her actions, I’m only saying I feel I understand her.

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Kitty Bennett & Mary Bennett:  Of all the Bennett sister, Kitty and Mary are the ones most left out, forgotten or just plain misunderstood.  Kitty is my least favorite of the two because she is silly, but I also think we never really got to see her character as a whole.  She’s always in Lydia’s shadow and I’m sure that made her feel forgotten. I also think it’s probable that had her older sisters been more attentive, she would have followed their example. When I think of Kitty I think of the younger sister who begged for her older sisters to pay attention to her, and when they didn’t of course she turned to Lydia. Kitty is a follower, and so I don’t think it was purely her fault that she was a silly teenager.

Mary is also forgotten about! Considered to the the ”ugly” one of the Bennett sisters. I would have liked to know more about her. Perhaps the reason she was so obsessed with religion is because she was the least pretty. Perhaps she thought that no one would ever love her?
Both of these characters need a lot less judging and a lot more understanding. 🙂

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Cathy & Heathcliff: There appears to be two sides that people are on in regards to Cathy and Heathcliff. The first one is “They’re so romantic!”  The other is “They’re terrible people and how can anyone like them?    And I don’t agree with either.  I think both groups are missing the point of Wuthering Heights.  Yes parts of this book is romantic, a poor gypsy boy hopelessly in love with the adventurous girl, who is the only one who seems to care for him.  And yes it’s romantic that they love each other so much and so deeply.  It’s also true that Cathy and Heathcliff aren’t good people.  Cathy is selfish to the point where she would hurt the man she loved.  Heathcliff is abusive to the point where he wants to destroy the lives of everyone he knows.   But I think these two deserve more sympathy than hate.  It’s understandable that Cathy wishes to be rich and comfortable, rather than strapped to the servant boy. She can see her life with both so clearly.   And it’s understandable that Heathcliff is so cruel, after all what else have people been to him his entire life but cruel.  We have to keep in mind the attitude that people had towards gypsies, or anyone for that matter who was not white and rich.

Above all Wuthering Heights is a love story gone wrong and passions left unchecked.  It shows the truth in life, which is: we don’t always end up with the people we love, or in the life we want.  Life is what we make of it.  And actions always have consequences.

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Madam Bovary: A lot of my feelings about this character are the same as they are for Anna Karenina.  Again a woman used by the men around her. Again a woman who lived in a stifling time.  Emma Bovary was an ornament for her husband, someone pretty who made him look good, someone who kept his house in order and someone that satisfied his sexual desires.  Does he ever once stop to ask how he can take care of her?  A lot of people hold it against her that she was silly enough to believe the romance she found in books could be found in real life.   But it seems to me no one in her life taught her about this. Where were her parents that should have been better preparing her for life? She certainly didn’t get any help from the convent school she went to. I think so many people who read this book forget the time in which is was set. A time where women’s only meaning in life was to make their husbands look good and bear children. Is it any wonder that she turned to the wrong things in order to find meaning in her life?

 

So here we are at the end.  How do you feel about these characters?  I hope I made a few good points about them.  Tell me about some characters that you love that you feel people don’t appreciate or misunderstand. 

 

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Hate Them- Characters I Love”

  1. So glad to see someone else feeling the same way about these characters.

    While reading Wuthering Heights I couldn’t help but feel like Nelly Dean was telling the story by taking sides and not giving us the whole truth. Maybe just me.

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