Sorry not to get back to this sooner. It’s been a busy week. Without further adieu, here are my answers to the literary character questionnaire I posted a few days ago.
1. If you could host a party with 7 literary characters, who would they be and why?
Gatsby (who could throw a better party?), Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler (ditto), E.M. Delafield’s Provincial Lady (the after-party gossip would be hilarious), Shakespeare’s Henry V (he could give an inspiring toast), Cliff Janeway (John Dunning’s biblio-detective would have great bookish tales to tell), and Bertie Wooster.
2. Who is your literary role model?
I’m assuming this question refers to a fictional character rather than an actual author and writing style. So, in that vein, I answer with two very different people as my role models: Dante Alighieri (the pilgrim in the story) and Laura Ingalls Wilder. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, that answer will not surprise you.
3. Which literary house would you like most to live in?
Tara (the huge plantation house in Gone with the Wind), Pemberley (Mr. Darcy’s House from Pride and Prejudice — just imagine the library in that house!), or the Ingalls homestead in DeSmet, South Dakota (one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s childhood homes), or, though it’s not fictional, Hill Top, Beatrix Potter’s farm. Sorry. I can’t pick just one.
4. Which literary couple would you like most for parents?
Either Ma and Pa Ingalls or The Man with the Yellow Hat from Curious George.
5. Pick 3 literary characters you would like to have as siblings.
Tiny Tim (from A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens) — he is kind.
Laura Ingalls (from Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder) — she has spunk and self-sufficiency.
Elinor Dashwood (from Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen) — she has common sense.
6. Who is your favorite literary villain?
I don’t really have a favorite. There are lots of interesting villains in literature. There’s Nellie Olsen, tormentor of Laura Ingalls Wilder. There’s also everyone who is in Dante’s vision of Hell in the Divine Comedy. They were villainous in their lives on earth, and now they are being tormented in Hell. The literary villain who scares me most is O’Brien from Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
7. Name a character that most people dislike, but that you do not. Why do you like them?
I always liked Melanie Wilkes from Gone with the Wind. She is liked by all of the other characters in the book for being a gracious, generous, and truly kind lady. However, most people I know who have read the book think she is kind of wimpy and too sweet to be human. Most people want to be Scarlett O’Hara. I really like Melanie, though, and I think she has a hidden strength and fearlessness, demonstrated when, shortly after giving birth to her first child, she kills the Yankee who sneaks into Tara and then helps Scarlett hide his body. I first read GWTW when I was 13, and Melanie’s character made an impression on me. I like that her virtuous personality is combined with her willingness to slay dragons (or Yankees) when necessary.
8. Which minor character deserves a book all to themselves, in your opinion?
The hero’s best friend from any book is certainly someone whose back-story deserves to be told. I think we should start with Stephen Maturin, close friend of Jack Aubrey in Patrick O’Brian’s books.
9. With which character from literature do you identify most?
The Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe. 🙂
10. If you could go into a novel, which one would it be and why?
Again, I can’t choose just one. Allow me to say that when I do read a novel I like, I become engrossed enough to tune out all that is going on around me. This is not necessarily a good thing for child safety. 🙂
11. Name 3 — 7 books that you rarely see on people’s favorite book lists, that are high on your own.
The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri
A Gentle Madness, by Nicholas Basbanes
Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
12. Which is your least favorite book of those that are considered “classics”?
I don’t really like Catcher in the Rye. I know it’s supposed to be a classic portrayal of teenagers, but I worked with a lot of teenagers when I taught high school, and most were not as whiny as Holden. Just sayin’. . .
UPDATED: In #7, I got some information incorrect. Melanie did NOT kill the Yankee. Scarlett killed him and Melanie helped pick his pockets and hide his body. Then she cleaned the bloody floor. Sorry. It’s been years since I last read Gone with the Wind.