Over the years I’ve had the need to consult Cliff’s Notes for help in understanding parts of literature. I’ve lifted their top 3 character assessments from 10 books. Think you can name the book? If it helps, I only chose books written by women. Good luck! (Thank you, Cliff’s Notes for being so thorough)
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1. Uncle Tom The central character, a slave belonging to Shelby. Eliza and George Harris Mrs. Shelby’s servant and her husband; they have a young son, Harry. Arthur, Emily, and George Shelby A Kentucky farmer (Tom and Eliza’s owner), his wife, and teenaged son. Uncle Tom’s Cabin (Stowe)
2. Jonas The protagonist, or main character, in the novel. Jonas is a sensitive, polite, compassionate twelve-year-old boy. At the December Ceremony, he is selected to become the new Receiver of Memory, the most honored position in the community. Jonas is quite complacent, or non-caring, before he begins his training as the new Receiver, but after he gains wisdom from memories and realizes that people gave up their freedoms for Sameness, he becomes angry and frustrated. During his training, Jonas acquires very deep emotional feelings and learns about love. Mother Jonas’ mother is an intelligent, sympathetic, and understanding person. She holds a prominent position at the Department of Justice. One of her job responsibilities is to punish people for breaking the strictly enforced rules of the community. Father Jonas’ father is a shy, quiet, considerate, caring man. He is a Nurturer, responsible for the physical and emotional needs of every newborn child during the first few months of life. He is also responsible for the release — killing — of infants who are deemed worthless because something either emotional or physical, or both, is wrong with them. The Giver (Lowry)
3. Elizabeth Bennet An intelligent and spirited young woman who possesses a keen wit and enjoys studying people’s characters. Although she initially dislikes Darcy, circumstances cause her to reassess her negative impression of him, and she eventually falls in love with him. Fitzwilliam Darcy A wealthy, proud man who falls in love with Elizabeth and reveals a generous, thoughtful nature beneath his somewhat stiff demeanor. Mr. Bennet Elizabeth’s ironic and often apathetic father. Unhappily married, he has failed to provide a secure financial future for his wife and daughters. Pride & Prejudice (Austen)
4. Celie A young black Georgia girl who faces adulthood believing that she has been raped by her father and that he killed both of their babies. The novel examines her struggle to find love, self-esteem, and continuing courage despite harsh setbacks. Nettie Celie’s sister. Celie loves Nettie more than anyone else in the world. Fonso Celie and Nettie’s stepfather; shortly after their father is killed, he marries their widowed mother. The Color Purple (Walker)
5. Nathan Price An evangelical Baptist preacher who takes his family into the Belgian Congo in 1959 to do missionary work. His experiences in World War II shape his uncompromising desire to be an instrument of God, even at the expense of his family. Orleanna (Wharton) Price Nathan’s wife. Spirited and beautiful as a young woman, her will has been broken by years of marriage to Nathan. She is desperate to protect her children from the dangers of the Congo. Rachel Price The oldest of the Price daughters. Beautiful and shallow, she is a product of Western civilization and cares mostly for appearances and fun. She does not hesitate to use her beauty to manipulate others. The Poisonwood Bible (Kingsolver)
6. Ponyboy Michael Curtis A 14-year-old boy who is the narrator and main character. His parents have been killed in an automobile accident, and he lives with his two brothers. Soda(pop) Patrick Curtis Ponyboy’s 16-going-on-17-year-old brother. He is a high school dropout and works at the local gas station. He is “movie-star” handsome. Darrel (Darry) Shayne Curtis The 20-year-old brother and legal guardian of Ponyboy and Soda. He works too hard and too long, and would be in college, if life had turned out different. The Outsiders (Hinton)
7. Janie Sixteen-year-old Janie Crawford dreams of love and wonders whether love will come with marriage. Twenty-four years and three marriages later, Janie has experienced both love and personal growth. Nanny Born into slavery on a plantation near Savannah, she bears Leafy, her white master’s child. Disappointed with this child, Nanny, who has no given name, dotes on her granddaughter Janie. Mrs. Washburn Nanny’s employer and benefactor. Their Eyes Were Watching God (Hurston)
8. Howard Roark The hero of the story. It is his struggle to succeed as an architect on his own terms that forms the essence of the novel’s conflict. His independent functioning serves as a standard by which to judge the other characters — either they are like Roark or they allow others, in one form or another, to control their lives. Roark is the embodiment of the great innovative thinkers who have carried mankind forward but are often opposed by their societies. Henry Cameron Roark’s mentor. He is an aged, bitter curmudgeon — and a commercial failure — but he is the greatest architect of his day. He is an early modernist, one of the first to design skyscrapers and a man of unbending integrity. Roark admires Cameron as he does no one else in the novel. His life exemplifies the fate of many innovators who have discovered new knowledge or invented a revolutionary product, only to be repudiated by society. Dominique Francon An impassioned idealist who loves only man the hero. Dominique is Roark’s lover, his greatest admirer, and, simultaneously, an ally of Roark’s most implacable enemy — Ellsworth Toohey — in the attempt to ruin his career. Dominique, though a brilliant woman, holds a pessimistic philosophy throughout much of the novel that prevents her from fulfilling her vast potential. The Fountainhead (Rand)
9. Heathcliff The main character. Orphaned as a child, he is constantly on the outside, constantly losing people. Although he and Catherine Earnshaw profess that they complete each other, her decision to marry Edgar Linton almost destroys their relationship. He spends most of his life contemplating and acting out revenge. He is abusive, brutal, and cruel. Catherine Earnshaw The love of Heathcliff’s life. Wild, impetuous, and arrogant as a child, she grows up getting everything she wants. When two men fall in love with her, she torments both of them. Ultimately, Catherine’s selfishness ends up hurting everyone she loves, including herself. Edgar Linton Catherine’s husband and Heathcliff’s rival. Well-mannered and well-to-do, he falls in love with and marries Catherine. His love for her enables him to overlook their incompatible natures. Wuthering Heights (Bronte)
10. Scout (Jean Louise Finch) Narrator of the story. The story takes place from the time Scout is aged 6 to 9, but she tells the story as an adult. Scout is a tomboy who would rather solve problems with her fists than with her head. Throughout the course of the book, Scout comes to a new understanding of human nature, societal expectations, and her own place in the world. Atticus Finch Maycomb attorney and state legislative representative who is assigned to represent Tom Robinson. A widower, Atticus is a single parent to two children: Jem and Scout. Jem (Jeremy Atticus Finch) Scout’s older brother who ages from 10 to 13 during the story. He is Scout’s protector and one of her best friends. As part of reaching young adulthood, Jem deals with many difficult issues throughout the story. To Kill a Mockingbird (Lee)