My girlfriend created this meme, which is the final result of a conversation she and I were having earlier today, and I figured I would partake, seeing as I helped inspire it. You can partake too, all you have to do is name six fictional characters in whom you could see yourself, and explain why you were able to do so. Mine are as follows:
1.) Sherlock Holmes- You all know him, his mannerisms, his deductions, his odd yet touching relationships with Irene Alder and the Good Doctor. No matter whether it’s the stories, a Basil Rathbone film, a Robert Downey Jr. film, or a Benedict Cumberbatch masterpiece (I’m biased) he’s been a staple in our culture since his birth in the London fog. Sherlock is my animus, plain and simple, warts and all.
2.) Marjane Satrapi– I suppose this one is cheating, because Marjane is in fact, a real person, as well as the narrator/protagonist in Persepolis. But I’m going to be glib about that and argue that since I’ve never met the real Marjane Satrapi, I can treat her character in the graphic novel as just that, a character. Marjane leads a rather ordinary life in Iran growing up, she loves fries with ketchup, idolizes Bruce Lee, gets in trouble with her parents. It’s through her eyes as an inquisitive, defiant kid we see Iran change as the revolution occurs and the Islamic Republic is born. I began to really see myself in Marjane when she was sent off to school in Austria. It was very close to my own time as a university freshman, learning how to assert myself, finding out what horrid brats people my own age could be, and learning to be defiant and proud of who I was and where I came from. I often find myself pausing now and thinking, “What would Marjane do?” when faced with a tricky new situation.
3.) Snufkin- Ever read The Moomins by Tove Jansson? Whether it’s the comics or the books, you really should. Snufkin is different from the others on this list, because while I do relate to him, I often think of ways I can emulate him as well. Snufkin is a traveller, you might say he was born under a wandering star. He comes to Moominvalley during the summer, and manages to help Moomin and his family with quick thinking and a penchant for bending the rules. I relate to him very well because I get the feeling he is, like me, more of an observer of social situations than a participant. He comes and goes as he pleases, and has fun along the way. He feels no need for holding onto any material objects (save for his big green hat) believing the memory of it is satisfactory.
4.) Nymphadora Tonks- Wotcher! Tonks of Harry Potter fame is cheerful, clumsy, and well-meaning, but when the time comes for action, she’s at the front and centre with the other Aurors, fighting to the last. I began to really empathize with her after she got together with Lupin. Let’s just say I know a thing or two about falling in love with someone society says you shouldn’t, who is ostracised and often left on the margins because people fear and misunderstand them.
5.) Lisbeth Salander– I’ve written about Lisbeth before, because she was the first female protagonist with Asperger Syndrome in a bestselling novel that I’d heard of. Lisbeth is the saving grace of those novels, it would have all unravelled if she weren’t such an interesting character. Like me, she has some scratches to her psyche, and it shows. Even though a lot of people read her as being invincible in all circumstances, it’s obvious to me this wasn’t a skill she was born with, she knows how to struggle and escape, which saves her more than once. Lisbeth reminds me of something that someone, I don’t remember who, told me once: In the aftermath of trauma, three types of people emerge: Victims, Perpetrators, and Survivors. Often, characters in novels who undergo such horrors end up as victims, and there are many, many characters in the Millennium Trilogy who end up as perpetrators. Lisbeth though, is a survivor. I like to think that I am as well.
6.) Leah Price– This character from The Poisonwood Bible and I share a lot more than a name. We watch Leah grow up as her father takes her family into the Congo to preach about Jesus, from a young girl eager to please her father to an independent woman who becomes the voice of compassion and calls to action as the Congo undergoes a series of political transformations. As Leah grows up, she loses her rose-coloured view of her father and his fire and brimstone ways, pities her mother’s sorrow over being unable to help her daughters, and grieves over how their lives have taken a turn for the worse, but never lets it stop her from improving herself. Leah is driven and dedicated, but grapples a lot with her flaws and her past, sometimes becoming world-weary. That’s a trait common among Leahs, I suppose.