Who is your favorite classic character? That’s a little like picking my favorite child, but in this instance, I’ll give it a try…by first mentioning the also rans:
Faramir from The Lord of the Rings: If you’ve read it, I don’t need to explain why. Heroic, egoless, devoted son and brother.
Starbuck from Moby Dick: Brave without bravado, duty bound, wise and gentle.
Denver from Beloved: in the beginning, frightened and angry, in the end heroic and loving
Francisco d’Anconia from Atlas Shrugged: I thought his speech at the dinner party, was better than John Galt’s definitive broadcast.
Nick Andros from The Stand: How I love Nick. He nearly rationalizes leaving the feeble-minded man-child Tom. Nick has problems of his own after all – a deaf-mute in post-apocalyptic chaos – Tom will only increase Nick’s struggles, but Tom will not survive long on his own…Nick will not, cannot leave him.
Marmee from Little Women: More than just a loving devoted mother (which is plenty in and of itself). Marmee was ahead of her time, and made her little women know they had value beyond which 19thCentury America readily acknowledged.
But my favorite of favorites is Sydney Carton from my favorite of favorites novel, A Tale of Two Cities. Two words – sacrificial love.
***** BONUS FEATURE *****
In a similar theme, Paula from The Vince Review asks: Which Character [from classic fiction] Would You Save?
There’s so many to choose from. I think the first character in literature whose death broke my heart, was John Thornton from The Call of the Wild. I wanted Thornton and the dog Buck to spend a lifetime together. Of course, that would have been contrary to the entire point of the story, but I was 10 and didn’t really get it. Next was Thorin Oakenshield from The Hobbit, and then I should mention Boromir and Theoden from The Lord of the Rings. I read these the first time at age 11, but now, reading them as an adult, I find their deaths…hmmm…more crucial to the poignancy of the story. I still love all three, but their deaths were epic, heroic, and I think I’d let them stand.
The rest of these, I read as an adult, and though saddened by their deaths, I see them as important to the story: Piggy from Lord of the Flies; Starbuck from Moby Dick; John Singer, the deaf mute, from The Heart is a Lonely Hunter; Nick Andros, also deaf mute, from The Stand; Lennie from Of Mice and Men.
And last (almost last), I come to Sydney Carton again, from A Tale of Two Cities…but how could I begrudge him his most noble act, his great peace. No!, Sydney died for something glorious; I shall neither deprive nor spare him. But the girl, the poor, frightened girl, who went to la guillotine with Sydney, an innocent victim of the mob’s bloodlust. Oh, my heart bled for her. If I can spare but one, it shall be her.