Favorite Fictional Character: a meme

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I don't usually participate in memes, but I thought this one sounded interesting and fun. This one is from Wordsmithonia. Basically, you choose one of your many favorite fictional characters, and write about them. The fictional character can be from anywhere, and does not necessarily have to be from the literary world. For my first post though, I think it's only appropriate to choose from the world of books, don't you think? ;)

One of my favorite fictional book characters ever, is Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
In the book, she was described as a "sickly and sour-faced" little girl. She was also usually very bitter, quiet, and hot-tempered, who was teased and laughed at by her peers. She grew up without anybody paying much attention to her, except their maid or her "ayah." When an outbreak of cholera hit India, where she lived, she was sent to live in England in a mansion, under her uncle's care -- a reclusive widower. There, she discovers a key to a secret garden, once owned by her uncle's wife. In the mansion, and through the garden, she meets several interesting characters -- the robin, Colin, and Dickon, among many others. Through the garden that she tended, along with her friends, she grew up -- not just with her age -- but generally, as a young girl and as a person.

How could you not like Mary Lennox? She was simply a very misunderstood and lonely girl, for she lacked the kind of love she was looking so desperately for. She did not have family that cared for her or real friends to play with and run to in times of need. In a child's life,I believe those are just some of the most important aspects. When we are deprived of love and compassion from others at such an early age, how do we keep going and growing up, with a smile on our faces?
In a way, her character spoke for all of us -- or at least, a small part of us -- that once felt alone, degraded, misjudged, and misunderstood. Maybe that's why it's so easy to empathize with her. I remember rooting for her, wanting her to get what she so truly deserves. In the end, when she finally got it, she has developed into a sweet, caring, and compassionate girl, ready to face the world -- finally with a support system right behind her.
Nothing beats the classic book, but I recommend watching the movie adaptation as well. I personally thought that it was really good too.


  1. +JMJ+

    I identify with Mary, too, though it was another Burnett character, Sarah Crewe, whom I grew up with.

    Still, what I wouldn't give to live in a huge, mysterious house on the glorious Yorkshire moors!

  2. I agree with you Enbrethiliel, A Little Princess is one of my all time favorite books! I Love Sarah Crewe, she reminds me of what I imagine I was like when i was little, haha I wish!

  3. I think we all wanted our childhood to be like Sarah Crewe's, when we were younger! haha. Oh and that scene where she woke up with a feast in their room -- classic.

  4. I loved Mary Lennox for the very same reasons why you did. Great post!

  5. +JMJ+

    Actually, as much as I wanted to be like Sarah, I think I'd prefer to swap places with Mary! =P Sarah has to endure a sort of baptism by fire that no child should have to go through. Mary is teased and shunned--but that's entirely her own fault!

    Besides, there's something about daily adventures on the moors which beats the wealth from diamond mines any day! ;)

  6. Alas, I stand with the Sara Crewe crowd--she demonstrated the power of imagination, and that really struck a chord. And then there was the monkey! In truth, I never registered the diamond mine wealth until I watched the movie version of several years ago...guess I was just an oblivious kid.

  7. A Little Princess is a childhood fave that I still reread. I didn't read a Secret Garden till an adult and fell it love with it. I'm an avid gardener and when Mary made little pretend gardens in India it just broke my heart--- poor little thing.
    I like both girls but Mary seems more real.

    No one ever seems to brag about Cedric-- Little Lord Fauntleroy. I find his story charming as well.


  8. +JMJ+

    Lesa, I haven't even read Little Lord Faunterloy yet!

    Do you suppose his relative lack of popularity is due to girls finding it easier to identify with Sarah and Mary--and boys not being drawn to Burnett's books?

    (The above question is open to everyone, of course!)

  9. You should read it-- Cedric is precious, charming, guileless. Closer in type to Sara than Mary. In this story the grandfather in England is more of a 'mary'-- lonely, disgruntled, sour-- but he blossoms! I cry over Cedric just like I do over Sara.

    I've pondered why Cedric isn't as noticed--- I plan to reread all 3 soon and will do a post about this topic-- well soon being summer break.

    Need to do research-- maybe he is more popular in the UK. There was at least one movie made-- but several movies of Sara and Mary.

    The point you raise is valid. Especially among casual readers but I would think a bookish child wouldn't discriminate by gender. Bookworms are curious and want to read it all. Personally, I've always read as many 'boy' stories as 'girl' stories. I know my younger brother read my 'little princess' book several times. We may be odd balls, though.

    what do any of you think? Not about 'oddballs' ;)-- about bookworms being too curious to discriminate.

    Wonder if the parents are choosing for their children based on gender?


  10. I work at a tutoring center for children (7-8yrs old), and their weekly homework is to go the library and borrow a bunch of books to read. I noticed that, if the child doesn't read often or hasn't developed a love for books yet, parents either pick for them, or "force" them to pick anything that looks interesting. It seems that they do pick books based on gender. I guess in a way, it's because it is a lot easier to relate to the characters and their lives if it is somehow similar to the reader.
    As a child, I read Nancy Drew, The Babysitter's Club, Sweet Valley -- mostly with female protagonists.
    I read The Boxcar Children & The Hardy Boys, but for some reason, they just were not interesting enough for simply because they were boys.
    So I guess, gender does play a bit of a part there :)

    Oh, and Little Lord Faunterloy is officially in my TBR list.

  11. That was a great question, Lesa! I'd love to read your post about this, if you ever write about it :)

  12. +JMJ+

    Lesa, I think it's girl bookworms who are less likely to discriminate among books. I can totally see a girl who loved Sarah and Mary being willing to try Cedric. In fact . . . I'd say the reason I never did was that it was just harder to find Little Lord Faunterloy! I think A Little Princess and The Secret Garden just get issued more often.

    Those are also titles that can still stand up to a lot of the new competition being published today. But if a boy had to choose between, say, Little Lord Faunterloy and The Lightning Thief, which book do you think he'd pick? ;) Besides, have you seen some of the covers Cedric's book gets???