Meme in F

Dec. 21st, 2016 03:24 pm
heliopausa: (Default)
Recently I saw on tielan's journal a meme, which involved asking for a letter, and, being given it, thinking of five fiction characters for that letter, and offering comments and ideas about each one.  I liked the idea, so I asked her for a letter - she gave me... F

Fanny Price (Mansfield Park):  I love how her strengths shine in adversity - the Portsmouth scenes are just brilliant, showing her coping wonderfully with a shamingly (and deeply disappointingly) rowdy, quarrelsome, slovenly family.  And I like her steadiness when she's the more-or-less downtrodden nobody, too, and her clarity of vision.  Oh, and I really like the genuine affection between her and her brother.  I guess constancy and a kind of gallantry could be the words that come to mind.  But in prosperity she loses some of her virtues, I think - she is never guilty of any charity to her cousin-sisters that I can see - and she and Edmund end up, after all, replicating the pettily smug life once led by the Norrises  - safely ensconced in a family-held living, close to the big house - and profiting from plural benefices as well, despite the earlier high-minded talk about how only an on-the-spot clergyman can hope to do his duty adequately.

Friedrich Bhaer (Little Women series): Awfully worthy, of course, and I take the author's word for it about their long and happy marriage, but as a matter of fact, I can't really come at him, for Jo.  I try hard to explain it as the lure of a great mind - I could see that all right, easily!  Jo is just the sort of person whose mind could be set ablaze by great new ideas, brilliant intellectual debate, new worlds opening... except he doesn't ever actually show it.  (He gets argued to a standstill in the one philosophical debate we see him undertake.)   I wish the author had written him more compellingly intellectual, actually.  I wish she'd written him as revolutionary, as political refugee.  Ah well - he is what he is - lumbering, inelegant, beery, good-hearted, Jo's perpetual moral leader and guide (bleugh - I would like her to straighten him out, for once!)  .

Falstaff (Shakespeare): The most terrifically multi-sided supporting character in the whole of Shakespeare.  We see him roistering, cunning, cowardly, despicable, pitiable, using, used, rejected, despised, resilient - he's Blackadder and Baldrick both - and like them, suddenly inside-outs the comedy to end in grim death.  Liking him, not liking him - doesn't apply.  He blasts past like a windstorm.

Fantine (Les Miserables): I hate how much she loses and loses and loses, to the extent that it starts to seem wilful.  She seems to go out of her way to have the most horrible time she can.  Yes, devoted mother, but (sorry about this) stupid.  I mean - when her looks are her one great asset, to sell her teeth?!  So not bright, Fantine!  The first betrayal is pretty intolerable, though - I mean that rich men's stunt at the restaurant.  But come on, Fantine!  Take a bit of control for a change!

Miss Flite (Bleak House): She's a most unsettling character.  Her sudden, stabbing insights, and fluttering ways make her seem one of her own birds - her name's not accidental, I guess - and of course she's as caged as they are, fluttering against the bars, and will be freed, like them, when Judgement is delivered (ha!).  A caged bird, or a captive blind prophetess, maybe - a Sibyl, who spells out dark truths in riddles, or Cassandra, dismissed as mad by those around her who cannot hear what she believes she is saying plainly.  All of which makes her a tragic figure as well as an unsettling one.  (But then I find the whole of Bleak House unsettling.)

If anyone would like to play, I'll gladly give them a letter!

(I'm abashed to see, on reviewing what I've written, that I'm not wholeheartedly admiring about any of them.  Oops.)

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