1. Elinor Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen
Jane Austen created so many delightful characters but none so touches my heart as Elinor Dashwood. Her kind heart, good sense, love for her family, self-sacrificing and humility are what makes Elinor so dear to me. She is the best sister any girl could have, she knows what is right and works to keep those standards in her own life. She never presumes upon Edward Ferrars though a deep abiding love has formed in her heart. She's also a talented artist, nurse and homemaker and loves country walks and the beauty of nature. Some people say Elinor doesn't have much romantic thought, but I think she just doesn't allow herself the luxury of romance, she keeps her emotions governed though she feels deeply and has great intuition of people and circumstances. I like to think I'm like her because many Which Austen Heroine Are You quizzes come up with her as my result. In reality I find myself becoming more like Marianne daily!
2. Margaret Hale of North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell
When I first read North & South and was introduced to Margaret I knew that in all of literature I had never met a young woman so much like me in personality. Although our life stories differ in particulars (especially the particular of John Thornton) I feel a kindred spirit in her story of loss and learning through adverse circumstances. Her love and care of those around her are a testament of her sweet spirit and abiding faith. So many instances in her life touched my heart and I learned to love her and feel that deep connection to her. I just pray that the ending to my story is as lovely as her's.
3. Anne Elliot of Persuasion by Jane Austen
Amanda Root's portrayal of this selfless, tenderhearted, mothering, reading, loyal heroine was spot on, I think. Anne is another heroine that I identify with in a way but until I had patience like a saint I could never be so constant as Anne. Loving as she did when all hope is gone can only come from a deeply attached heart. And yet still her sense is invaluable and she is always of use to those around her. I admire her and rejoice in her final gain of the man who loves her.
4. Jane Eyre of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Miss Eyre is another heroine who I admire greatly. Her life is just wave after wave of adversity but it does not break her spirit and beliefs. She has a deep faith which many forget but which guides her decisions especially with regard to Mr. Rochester. She is sensible, accomplished, a good teacher, and has a heart that feels very deeply. She deals with her own issues of forgiveness and fighting temptation with a shinning testimony. Her trials only serve to make her ending much sweeter with her family and friends and a fortune to support them all.
5. Amy Dorrit of Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
I've only seen three-fourths of the Little Dorrit miniseries (last part airs on Sunday!) but I've learned to love Amy so well. I suppose there's a pattern here, but her trials and her shining character and unending sweetness is so touching. There's that one scene where her heart is hurting so much for love of Mr. Clennem and for having to refuse John Chivery and yet she still answers her father's demanding questions, bears his disapproval and fixes his supper with such bravery and sweetness. You almost have to cry for her because she won't cry for herself. She always sticks to her principals and is content in a simple life.
6. Catherine Morland of Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Catherine is the picture of youth and innocence. She has the purest heart and although she get's distracted she is never detoured from doing what she knows is right. She's a bit on the silly side and naive but those and a quickly forming liking for him only serves as recommendations to Henry Tilney. Catherine is good-natured, loving, kind, and helps where she can. She does have that tenancy to day dream and worry over things which I find myself doing to. She loves reading, traveling, long drives, country walks, a good mystery, and her family most of all.
7. Molly Gibson of Wives & Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
When I first watched Wives & Daughters and started reading the book I thought 'oh no, not another Cinderella story!' Molly Gibson is the farthest thing from Cinderella, she stand up for herself and she loves her step-sister dearly. She has a good father who keeps her from being used too much and whatever sacrifices she makes she does willingly and with good sense. Her accomplishments and desire to learn are unending and she still has that loyalty and stubborn adherence to her morals. And I love her curly hair!
8. Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery
This bubbly red-head is so full of life and imagination. I love watching her grow up, make mistakes and learn from them. She has a kind heart though and gains good sense as she matures. She captures everyone's heart with her stories and spunky personality and although I'm not very much like her I admire her and love her.
9. Fanny Price of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Fanny is another one of those young ladies you admire but could never be like. Fanny's kind heart, loyalty, patience, self-sacrificing, love of learning, humility and timidity are some of the things that make her great. She's so faithful and has a deep faith and strict moral code that keeps her from even thinking seriously of marrying Mr. Crawford. I wish I had more of her nature and took more stands for what I believe in as Fanny did. And she was richly awarded, however "late" it might seem, it was in the author's best time.
10. Lorna Doone of Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore
I'm not quite sure why I've included her, she's really so much like the rest of my favorite heroines. Lorna Doone is sweet, kindhearted, loving and brave. She does what is right, gives up much and gains even more. I love Amelia Warner's portrayal of her, so sweet and truly good and pure.
So that's my list, I could have included all the Jane Austen heroines and added more from Gaskell and Dickens and a few from Alcott but I tried to add some variety.
Now I want to know who your favorite literary heroines are and why you like them.
Hope your weekend is bright and sunny!