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Top Ten Tuesday: Heroines

Top Ten Favorite Kick-Ass Heroines

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created here at The Broke and the Bookish. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

I love some good, strong women in literature, don’t you?

1.- Irene Adler from A Scandhal in Bohemia.- THE woman, one of the two people who could cheat Sherlock Holmes. Need to say more?

2. Marian Halcombe from The Woman in White.- The opposite of weak, always-fainting Laura (or the quintessential Victorian lady)

3.- Blanche DuBois from A Streetcar Named Desire.- She is not a heroine in the typical sense but she’s a survivor and I admire her for that.

4.- Grace from Alias Grace.- I don’t if many of you would call her a heroine, but she’s definitely a tough girl and one of the most complex characters I’ve explored.

5.- Edna Pontellier from The Awakening.- She was subversive, tough and fought for the only thing she wanted. That’s a heroine for me.

6.- Joanna Mason from When Will there be Good News? .- Another survivor, someone who knows life is worth living. Here is one of my favourite quotes from the book:

No, not those kinds of things. I mean the way we live our lives. There isn’t a template, a pattern that we’re supposed to follow. There ‘s no one watching us to see if we’re doing it properly, there is no properly, we just make it up as we go along.

7.- Daisy Bucannan from The Great Gatsby.- She is not heroine at all, but she managed to move and manipulate two powerful men. That’s a lot of power for a 1920’s stay-at-home mom and wife, right?

8.- The Schlegel Sisters from Howards End.- I fell in love with these two sisters when I read the book. They somehow see the good in life and actively manage their own lives.

9.- Jenny Cooper from The Coroner.- What can I say about her? When interviewing the author, I just have to tell him I’d love to be friends with Jenny and I honestly looked up at her. A 40 year-old woman struggling yet incredibly capable… of everything.

10.- Lisbeth Salander from the Millenium series.- I only read the first installment but I love her. It reminds me of underrated women out there who people think not capable of anything yet they are pure geniuses!



  • Ann Weisgarber

    Elena, another great list. I have to add Ruby from Charles Frazer’s “Cold Mountain.” She’s a no-nonsense, take-charge mountain woman who steps in and bails out the Southern belle Ada. In the end, Ruby has the ability to turn Ada into an independent woman.

    • Elena

      Thanks Ann. I haven’t read Cold Mountain… yet. Would you recommend me to read if if I’m looking for some strong and deep female characters?

  • Leah

    I have mixed feelings about Edna as a heroine. It’s true that she violated social norms and fought for her freedom, but she killed herself in the end! Instead of taking responsibility for herself and taking her freedom by the horns, however scary it was, she gave up. I don’t think suicide is ever heroic, and her’s was incredibly selfish, since she had children who would then have to grow up without a mother. I can’t decide if I am more proud of her for breaking convention to pursue self-fulfillment, angry that she abandoned her family, or irritated that she couldn’t decide what she wanted and so killed herself!

    • Elena

      That’s a good point and I certainly never got to discuss it. I admit suicide is selfish from our 21st century point of view, because as I see it, we have lots of opportunities, drugs, doctors etc. But Edna’s problems were not with herself but with society: even if she moved, she would be underrated, thought less of what she really was etc. Plus, there is such a long tradition of female heorines drowning, I really wonder if Chopin did it as a literary reference.

      • Leah

        I agree that Edna didn’t have very good options; she could stay with her husband and feel oppressed and unfulfilled, or she could leave and be ostracized by society. However, I think she had a friend in Dr. Mandelet. He offered her his support and understanding, and I think she should have taken advantage of his friendship. It might not have solved her problems, but I think having someone to talk to would have helped her greatly. I don’t like that she gave up when there was still hope. (Can you tell I read this book for uni? Hah!)

        You make a good point about the tradition of female heroines drowning. I hadn’t thought about it before, but it really is very common, isn’t it?

      • Elena

        I don’t remember Dr. Mandelet playing an important role but I’ll revisit the novel.

        And don’t say that! I’ve seen your reviews and you’re super smart. You could surely reach those conclusions (and some even better) for yourself 😀

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