Can you believe it is March already? In just 2 days we will observe International Women’s Day, a day to recognize the contributions of women regardless of background. In conjunction with that, I dedicate this month’s Fiction Alert to women in fiction.
Many women have shaped fiction books and women’s writing and many women featured in fiction books have shaped us in real life. Written some one thousand year ago, Tales of the Genji remains one of the oldest women’s writing to date. Western literature took a while longer before women’s work were allowed to be published. Before that revolution, women writers wrote under male aliases, such as George Sand and George Eliot. Closer to our time, some women writers still choose adopt gender-neutral pen names by initializing their first names, such as J K Rowling and S E Hinton.
Apart from women writers, women characters in book have shaped generations of girls growing up. These characters are role models to young minds, good friends to spend an evening weeping with, nemesis to hate, and reflections of ourselves. Personally, growing up, Paula Danziger’s The Cat Ate My Gymsuit gave me a friend who was slightly similar to me (despite residing at the other end of the world). Later in life, I turned to the likes of Bridget Jones (in terms of unfettered candour, not smoking and drinking habits). I cannot say for sure how life-changing these books and role models have been to me, but certainly, they have at some point provided emotional support to me.
Hence I felt perhaps I should compile a list of memorable, resolute and independent female characters in books that made an impression on me, and perhaps some of you share similar sentiments.
1. Jane Eyre in Jane Eyre
2. Wonapalei in Island of The Blue Dolphins
3. Hermione Granger in Harry Potter series
4. Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games trilogy
6. Janie Crawford in Their Eyes Were Watching God
7. Abileen in The Help
8. Ayla in The Clan of the Cave Bear
Who are the female characters who have left an impression on you? Share with us your thoughts!