Being the book-lovin’ word-nerd that I am, I’ve ruminated on what three fictional characters I would select since I first saw the trend hit social media. Who would it be? Who would it be? I mean, I’ve read a lot of books. I’ve studied the ins and outs of so many characters, written plenty of analysis on the motivations of likable and out-of-this-world characters and blahbitty-blah-blah-blah, but I couldn’t think of anyone that was truly like me. Instead, my mind hovered around extremes like Patrick Bateman and Lucky Santangelo (nope – way too violent), Winnie the Pooh and the Giving Tree (nah, way too selfless and pure), maybe Ramona Quimby or The Perks of Being a Wallflower main character, Charlie (likable, but awkward)?? Then I thought I’d landed on two of the three: Veronica Lodge and Fern from Charlotte’s Web. I was pretty sure on these two, but being the erudite that I try to be, I dug deeper and really scrutinized what makes these characters who they are and then whether the hallmarks of their natures reflected my own.
Veronica’s dark eyes and hair, along with her fashion fetish jibe, but I hope not much else! She’s pretty stuck-up and her relationships with Betty and Archie are just funky. Fern’s love for her piglet, Wilbur, is pure and she’s strong-willed and sweet, but she’s a farm girl and our experiences really aren’t so similar. I mean, I like animals, but I can’t think of any other similarity. After I dismissed these two, I then thought of the Hatter from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In fact, I was sure his nonsense wit and his penchant for keeping the party going were similar to my own, but then another Carroll-created character came to mind who was a much better fit – the Caterpillar. Boom. One character down, but who were the others?
My mind swirled with all of the characters that I learned about from more than three decades of die-hard reading and two liberal arts degrees. Why was this so hard? Everyone else was just crankin’ ‘em out and posting away. WTH? So, in an effort to zero-in, I began filing through the female characters I admired, that I empathized with and that’s when Mary and Scarlett came to mind.
Mary, as in Mary Lennox, the young girl in The Secret Garden who transcends her personal set-backs to find happiness in an abandoned rose garden on the estate of her long-lost uncle. It takes some deep personal despair to get there, but Mary learns the power of hope and love and then spreads that positivity to those around her. Ultimately, she saves herself and her family by unveiling the power of love to those she sees struggling. I, like Mary, find sanctuary in nature and I’ve seen how changing your outlook to a hopeful one can change everything for the better.
A short-fuse, fierce pride and fortitude are the aspects of Scarlett O’Hara that I recognize in myself. I’ve also been accused of having a spoiled streak, so I suppose that’s another similarity. I love Gone With the Wind – the movie and the novel – and I’ve actually said the words, “I’ll think about that tomorrow,” when faced with a giant crappy blob of issues. I haven’t tried to give away my wedding ring or pined over my best friend’s spouse, but my own husband would probably say that I can turn icy if I’m crossed or trying to navigate my way through difficulty. When it comes to things I’m passionate about, I think I love hard and fight hard, similar to Katie Scarlett O’Hara from Tara.
Finally, I chose the Caterpillar from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland because he’s a deep thinking loafer. The Caterpillar is a sour sage that asks Alice profound questions and then swiftly abandons the conversation and the mushroom. Maybe he’s a symbol of Alice’s consciousness or maybe he’s a wise snob, but he ponders deep thoughts over the smoke of his hookah. He just lazes atop the ‘shroom analyzing everything around him and then, quite remarkably, takes flight. Friends post simple entries on what three fictional characters they are and I recline on the end of my couch or hunch over a keyboard and dive off the deep end, tapping away, stream-of-consciousness style, pondering over the smoke of a cigarette, thinking, “You. Who are you?” Then when I’ve mused for a long while, I end up returning to the simple question that started it all.
So these are the three fictional characters I choose to represent me. Maybe they’re just who I long to be instead of a true reflection, but I do recognize the good and the bad in the Caterpillar, Mary and Scarlett and I can admit that I share those qualities, too. Interestingly, all of these characters transcend after their conflict. I like that idea. I hope that’s my fate too. If not, “well, fiddle dee dee;” I’ll go grow some wings.