Powerful female characters have a lasting and positive impact on my life. If you’re a literary geek like me, you grew up with (and wanted to be) Nancy Drew ~ brave, moral, kind, confident and compassionate.

I never cease to be inspired by the grace and incredible brilliance of complex female characters.

Meet some of my favorites.

Jane knocks my socks off.  Yes, she suffers a lot but relies on her own wits to get back on her feet.  None of that simpering damsel-in-distress stuff here. (Jane Eyre)

Hermione is a whip-smart gal, the glue that holds it all together. Steadfast, smart and compassionate, she keeps her cool in a crisis.   (Harry Potter Series)

Katniss survives fights to the death designed to kill her.  And this savvy hunter can shoot. Wins all over the place.  (The Hunger Games Trilogy)

Hester Prynne in an illustration for an 1881edition of the book.

Condemned by her Puritan neighbors for having a child out of wedlock, Hester Prynne survives with dignity. NPR described her as being “among the first and most important female protagonists in American literature. She’s the embodiment of deep contradictions: bad and beautiful, holy and sinful, conventional and radical… [she] can be seen as Hawthorne’s literary contemplation of what happens when women break cultural bounds and gain personal power.” (The Scarlet Letter)

Lisbeth Salander, world class computer hacker with a photographic memory, survived an abusive childhood and faces adversity at every turn. Not that I want be as anti-social or violent as she is, but she sure gets the job done. (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series)

Éowyn killed the Witch-king of Angmar. She’s a shieldmaiden who defends her countrymen, disguises herself as a man and follows her friends into battle. Not too shabby for a Tolkien female.  (Lord of the Rings trilogy)


There are some kick-ass maidens in literature ~

Spunky heroines like Scarlet O’Hara, Jo March, Scout Finch, and yes, even sinister Lady Macbeth.

Which ones blow you away? 


Meet you here next Sunday.

Toni 10/27/13


  1. Wife of Bath!
    I got intrigued about her from the writer’s point of view. I’m intrigued about the phenomenon of authors sometimes feel her characters are real, talks to them, & develops affection for them. It seems that Chaucer fell in love with his Wife of Bath who was really a minor, 1-D character in his Canterbury Tales, which explains why her Prologue grew to be twice as long as her story. Lewd and lascivious, Wife of Bath with her dirty jokes argues for a woman’s right to control her body. She attacks the anti-feminist traditions of the 14th century.
    Patty 🙂


  2. How about Pai in “Whale Rider” …. book or movie. Only a male can become chief of the tribe but they don’t factor in the persistence of Pai. She is smart, tough, dedicated to the welfare of the tribe, and will not take no for an answer. Whether you choose the book or the movie you will be cheering for young twelve year old Pai.


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