This post is pretty self-explanatory. Some of these girls are people I dislike because of their personality, and others are poorly-crafted. I did intentionally choose protagonists, though, because it’s boring and relatively easy to criticize antagonists. Next week, I’ll do the opposite and look at five female characters that I like.
1) Lucie Darnay (from Dicken’s A Tale of Two Cities)
I love almost everything about this book, but I have to admit: Lucie is a major weakness. She’s a doll, as Sydney Carton describes her. While he didn’t mean what he said, I do. She’s unoriginal, boring, and plastic, dressed up prettily but with no spirit. Or, for a different metahpor, she’s a marshmallow—sweet, almost too much so, but insubstantial, and too much of her can cause stomachaches.
2) Novinha Wiggin (from Card’s Ender series)
At first, I felt bad for her. She did have a pretty lousy childhood. I could relate to her intensity and love of studying, and I was excited to see how she and Ender would interact. That was where it went wrong. To avoid spoilers, I won’t go into too many details, but she lost any shred of approval from me by the end. Such a little selfish, unempathetic, cold, hard-hearted, stubborn … ooh! She makes me so angry. Part of it is because Ender is one of my favorite characters of all time, so anyone who hurts him upsets me. Part of it is that she’s just nasty. No, I don’t expect characters to be perfect—and, in fact, I don’t like perfect characters, like Lucie Darnay—but Novinha simply has no redeeming qualities.
3) Scarlett O’Hara (from Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind)
There are many reasons why I despise this novel, but Scarlett trumps all. She’s self-centered, spoiled, whiny, and childish. The entire book is spent describing her pining for her beloved Ashley. He’s married to someone else! What will it take to get that into your head? Too much, apparently. Even after she creates a huge scandal and realizes whom she truly loves too late, she simply tosses her hair and says, “Tomorrow’s another day”. She’s so convinced that she can get what she wants, and she never repents from her sin and folly. Does she ever learn from her mistakes? Okay, I’d better stop before I turn this into a full-fledged rant (which, perhaps, it already is).
4) Piper McLean (from Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus)
I feel rather bad about including Piper, because I know she’s been criticized a lot. I’ll keep my complaints short: She’s kind of wimpy. Yes, I know, she does save the day quite a few times, but her moping about herself and about how she’s useless was just annoying. I could never relate to her or root for her like I could for the other characters. A lot of it may have to do with the fact that I’m a Percy fan, and her relationship with Jason caused her to view him more highly than Percy.
5) Arya (from Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle)
Arya reminds me of myself, which is mostly why I dislike her so much. Her intensity, over-seriousness, and reluctance to open up and trust others are all qualitites I share—ones that I don’t like. I can understand her dismissal of Eragon (at least at the beginning), and I respect her dedication to doing what she believes is right, but honestly, Arya. Can you laugh? Can you admit your weaknesses? Can you have emotions?
Now it’s your turn: who are some of your least favorite female protagonists, and why?
Also, I’d love it if you could spare the time to take the poll below: