To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’ve put together a list of our top ten feistiest females in fiction. Their tenacity and determination has attracted attention across decades. Who’s your favourite?
1.Lizzie Bennet (Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen)
“Elizabeth was excessively disappointed…but it was her business to be satisfied — and certainly her temper to be happy; and all was soon right again.” ― Jane Austen
Despite what ‘should be done’ Lizzie Bennett follows her heart. She doesn’t marry the horrid Mr Collins but stays sassy despising Mr Darcy with whom she just happens to fall madly in love with, surprising herself above all.
2. Matilda Wormwood (Matilda – Roald Dahl)
“You seemed so far away,” Miss Honey whispered, awestruck.
“Oh, I was. I was flying past the stars on silver wings,” Matilda said. “It was wonderful.”
Matilda has a strong mind. Her wisdom succeeds her elders and she doesn’t let their ignorance affect her. She makes her own choices and remains true to herself. Her kind heart helps many others along the way.
3. Hester Prynne (The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne)
Hester has been named as one of the “first and most important female protagonists in American Literature.” Despite her ‘dreadful sin’, she survives the horrific trails of society. As a sign of her wrongdoing she wears the letter A as a sermon on her chest. The townspeople are in awe, and she only makes the A bigger, in a more fashionable light. Her skill for needlework stuns all and she wants to show her Scarlet Letter to everyone.
4. Éponine (Les Misérables – Victor Hugo)
Éponine’s love for Marius in Les Mis is touching. Her horrid upbringing with the Thenardiers doesn’t seem to affect her sense of character. Regardless of her own feelings towards Marius, she recognises that he is in love with Cosette, so she helps him meet his true love. The city explodes in uproar and war, and she eventually ends up giving her life in battle. A true tragedy, but a heroine nonetheless.
5. Elphaba Thropp (Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West – Gregory Maguire)
“Remember this: Nothing is written in the stars. Not these stars, nor any others. No one controls your destiny.” – Gregory Maguire.
Elphaba doesn’t let the colour of her skin define her. She escapes her hometown for university where she learns to practice magic. This audacious character defies gravity wherever she goes, staying true to herself and her closest friends.
6. Scarlett O’Hara (Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell)
Despite her trialled upbringing Scarlett O’Hara triumphs over adversity and perseveres. She can be vicious, a love-to-hate character at times. But we admire her ability to speak her mind, landing her number 6 on this list.
7. Mary Poppins (P. L. Travers)
“Practically perfect in every way.”
This nanny was every child’s dream. She is firm but kind, has splendid style, magical powers, and is the true heroine of her story. She brings the Banks family back together by teaching them to take life as it is, with a spoonful of sugar, and everything will turn out for the best.
8. Scout Finch (To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee)
Scout Jean Louise Finch has a tough upbringing but as we see her sense of character develop we recognise her adventurous streak for curiosity and compassion. She has a kind heart and a compassionate nature which helps her understand the world she lives in. Although sees many things that are unjust, her childish nature questions the wrongdoings of society – she takes nothing for granted.
9. Wendy Darling (Peter Pan – J.M.Barrie)
Wendy Darling is Peter Pan’s saviour. She sews his shadow back on for him and mothers both her brothers, John and Michael, and The Lost Boys. Wendy’s imagination gives her a knack for storytelling which the boys love. Her wondrous spirit keeps the magic of Peter Pan alive.
10. Lucy Pevensie (The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S.Lewis)
Our final fierce female is Lucy Pevensie, who first appears in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Lucy’s determination and belief in herself proves to be essential in the Narnia Chronicles. Without her, Narnia wouldn’t have been discovered. Her kind heart and strong will land her the last place on our list for our most favourite females in literature.
Who is your literary hero? Tweet us at @Fashion_North to celebrate International Women’s Day in literal style!