A Really Fantastic Meme: Fictional Characters You Identify With

Here is a really cool blogger with a really cool meme that I could never resist:

Name six fictional characters in whom you could see yourself, and explain why you were able to do so.

As we all know, most of the interesting fictional characters are male. Finding a female character that would not be stupid, pathetic, whiny and even more stupid is a feat of incredible proportions. Nobody expects me to identify with the likes of Anna Karenina, do they? This is

1. Bernarda Alba from Federico Garcia Lorca’s play The House of Bernarda Alba. Bernarda Alba is quite a horrible character. She is a matriarch who rules the lives of her miserable daughters and imposes her will on them in everything. However, given the dearth of powerful female characters in world literature, I have to take whatever I can get. Bernarda Alba is undoubtedly strong and she is a female character who has a personality.

2. Vasilisa Mikulishna is the protagonist of a great Soviet cartoon. She has this beautiful long hair but she cuts it off in order to save her husband who has been imprisoned by the prince of Kiev for bragging about how smart and resourceful his wife is. Scroll the video to 03:48 and you’ll see that she is totally me.

And this was kind of it in terms of female characters I identify with.

3. Gregory House of House, MD. When this show first started airing, I had several people phone me to announce happily, “Clarissa, there is a new show and the main character is you! You have got to watch it.” I can’t say that I see the likeness but people keep insisting that House, c’est moi. So who am I to argue?

4. A lot more than House, I think I am Robert Goren of Law and Order: Criminal Intent. He’s smart, complex, and tortured. I really get that. He also has to be autistic, even though nobody ever spells it out.

5. Fermin de Pas, the protagonist of one of the greatest Spanish novels ever, La Regenta, by Leopoldo Alas. He is ambitious, mean, obsessed with power, manipulative, a social climber, and has an unhealthy relationship with his mother. God, I like him. As you can see, I’m honest enough not to say that identify only with the perfect characters who walk on water.

What characters do I remind you of?

If you are participating in the meme, feel free to leave links to your posts in the comment section.

18 thoughts on “A Really Fantastic Meme: Fictional Characters You Identify With”

  1. I know I mentioned her as one of *my* people I relate to, but you also remind me a bit of Marjane Satrapi, because while she’s in Europe, she often comments on the culture as she sees it “through the eyes of a stranger”, and is firey and not afraid to call people out on their bullshit. She also had a brief marriage when she was about my age, but left the guy and then moved permanently to a foreign country to improve her life after she realized that Iran wasn’t going to offer her any hopeful prospects. She also has a feminist grandmother who is a big inspiration to her.
    There’s also Granny Weatherwax and Professor McGonagall, from the respective Diskworld and Harry Potter book series. Both are older women with magic powers who often act as mentors to the characters in the books. They both have a no-nonsense attitude to them and a commanding presence which makes them highly formidable.

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      1. Her graphic novel/memoir Persepolis is available in most stores (Can you get graphic novels on the Kindle?) and the movie the real life Marjane Satrapi directed based on it was AWESOME. Here’s the trailer of it:

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  2. One genre of character I identify with are people trying too hard to be good. Dorothea Brooke in Middlemarch is one, and Ramon Villaamil in Miau is another.

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  3. Nnedi Okorafor’s protagonists are the kind of female character I suspect you would identify with, as are Nalo Hopkinson’s.

    I also suggest the female characters in Robert Jordan (& Brandon Sanderson’s*)The Wheel of Time series. The Wheel of Time is the most massive story I have ever read, and I cannot think of any other male author who writes such strong, no-nonsense, female characters. I strongly identify with both Egwene and Moiraine.

    *The original author, who wrote under the penname Robert Jordan, died before the series was finished. His editor, who is also his widow, hired Brandon Sanderson to finish the series from Jordan’s extensive notes, as her husband had asked her to do. There are still two volumes to be finished. It is interesting to me that Sanderson understands some of the characters better than Jordan did, at least as I read the texts.

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    1. You hjave not responded to my suggestions of Nnedi Okorafor, Nalo Hopkinson, and Robert Jordan. I really hope you read them. I would love to read your thoughts on them. The Robert Jordan series The Wheel of Time is more than 10000 pages long, all one rich, beautiful, enigmatic story. I would love to find out how you feel about his female characters, as well as the male ones, of course.

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      1. Is it the fantasy genre, though? I’m still kind of terrified of it even after having a good experience with Murakami’s latest fantasy novel.

        That would be an interesting thread: why do I fear fantasy literature so much?

        Are people interested?

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  4. uuugggggggh the wheel of time uggghh. there’s my entire high school run, in books 1-6. garbage sexual politics, and plenty of othering, sort of par for the course with eurocentric fantasy lit. but seriously imaginative world that departs from the tolkein mold, and way better writing than anything by terry brooks or terry goodkind. also all the problems are handled waaaaaay better than in george r.r. martin.

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  5. That would be an interesting thread: why do I fear fantasy literature so much?

    Are people interested?

    I am very much interested. Fantasy is the only kind of literature I really love. It seems that its roots go back to ancient myth. What is the story of Orpheus, or that of Persephone or Pandora, if not fantasy. Truly profound stuff.

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    1. I’d be interested. I tried to read the first book of The Wheel of Time, and it didn’t interest me at all, but people who love that stuff say it gets better in later books. Mostly, fantasy doesn’t interest me, but I’ve never really thought much about why. Except for Terry Pratchett, whose writing I love.

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  6. bloggerclarissa :
    Is it the fantasy genre, though? I’m still kind of terrified of it even after having a good experience with Murakami’s latest fantasy novel.
    That would be an interesting thread: why do I fear fantasy literature so much?
    Are people interested?

    I’d be interested! Two of the characters I cited as reminding me of you are from fantasy as well. Fantasy as a genre definitely has its flaws, but certain series and authors have been a goldmine in providing intelligent, capable woman characters that are relatable and likeable.

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    1. Do it. To paraphrase someone [?], 90% of fantasy lit is crap, but so is 90% of all other writing. There’s no reason to be shy of elves and orcs [unless they’re thinly veiled metaphors for white supremacy].

      Tolkien and Lewis are more or less the foundation, but man are they stuffy. Rudyard Kipling helped set off the genre in much the same way that H. G. Wells “founded” sci-fi, so if you want 19th century canon lit and have a high tolerance for colonialism I recommend him. FWIW Harry Potter ranks among the best in popular contemporary fantasy, but I’ve heard very good things about His Dark Materials [Milton reference right off the bat!] and The Hunger Games. My partner used to swear by Garth Nix, and if you have any shred of hope for Stephen King, The Dark Tower 1-5 is pretty okay.

      As for The Wheel of Time, I’ll warn you: there is lots of braid-pulling, skirt-ruffling, and complaining about men.

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