You know that feeling when you get one thing, or one subject, or even just one word fixedly stuck in your head, and no matter what you do you can’t get rid of it?
I have it.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present for your pleasure, a couple questions for you on the subject of fictional heroes. And remember, questions are asked to be answered, so please don’t forget to comment with your feedback.
Question 1. Upon reading over the comments on my Little Women review, a common consensus was Professor Bhaer was much too old to marry Jo March (he was said to be around forty, I believe, and Jo was in her early twenties). I heartily agree with this conclusion, but then I thought of something… there are other “older” heroes out there whom we love and adore and treasure and don’t have a problem with, but they are just as old as Professor Bhaer. The two examples which came to mind are Arthur Clennam from Little Dorrit and Mr. Jarndyce from Bleak House (yesyesyes, I know he doesn’t actually get the girl, but he almost does and he’s still a hero, so there). Arthur, who is one of my personal favorite heroes, is said to be twice the age of twenty-year-old Amy Dorrit, but we say, “Who cares about that? Age makes no difference when there is wuv, TWU WUV!” Same with Mr. Jarndyce. Obviously, he and Esther Summerson don’t actually marry, but they were supposed to and I’ve never heard anyone put up a fight about his age. So my question is, why is the Prof “too old,” but other older heroes aren’t?
Question 2. In period dramas, the heroes are usually dashing, gentlemanly, and, more often than not, rich. Their dress is impeccable, they are excellent riders, their cravats are never shabby, and if you are very lucky, they have upwards of five thousand a year. Examples are Mr. Darcy, Mr. Knightley, Sir Percy, and Mr. Thornton. But I must confess I’m often drawn to the more rugged heroes, the ones who work with their hands, the farmers, the “plain” men. A couple of my favorite “rugged” heroes are Nicholas from North and South, Alf Arless (swoon) from Lark Rise to Candleford, and even Robert Martin from Emma (although why he ever fell for a ditz like Harriet is beyond me). Don’t get me wrong, I still adore Mr. Darcy and Mr. Thornton; but there is something even more noble about a man when he’s forced to work in order to survive, but never complains. When his clothes are often dirty, but his character shines. When he has to struggle and sacrifice merely to provide (I’m looking at you, Alf), but does so willingly. So what is your preference for your fictional heroes: the rich, dashing gentleman, or the poor, rugged type? (*And I want to clarify that there is nothing at all wrong with heroes who are rich. My favorite Jane Austen heroes are Mr. Knightley and Mr. Darcy, and they’re about as rich as they come. But I love them for their character, not for their money.)
Alright, lovely readers. Now it’s your turn! Give me your thoughts and replies, and let’s get a good ol’ heroical discussion going. I’ll be around to throw in my two cents as well.
(p.s. speaking of heroes… the other day, i created a captioned picture for the amusement of a few friends, and somehow it ended up on the prestigious “sink me” blog, which is operated by the even more prestigious amy dashwood. so. if you have a sec, you should go check it out.)