I’ve always had my nose buried in a book (instead of other people’s business).
Throughout most of my childhood, teenage years, and obviously, all of my adult life, I’ve spent my time searching for the next best book. And, mind you, fiction taught me way more than nonfiction ever did (this is a personal preference, and I don’t expect other people to be into fiction as much as I).
Why has fiction always been my sweet escape? Why is it just that good at teaching me the best lessons that I couldn’t grasp from books, originally meant to guide us? Why do I always fall in love with the most fallible characters?
If we really think about it, fictional characters are a complex of human personalities interwoven within a single person. They are a representation of our own insecurities, hardships, desires, and secret thoughts—ones that are tolerable for us to accept.
And so, reading about them helped me understand many aspects of my life and taught me how to mindfully deal with things.
Here’s a list—not a complete one because there would be over 200 characters here—of some of the fictional characters who were able to teach me something:
1. Anne from Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery:
“I’ve done my best, and I begin to understand what is meant by ‘the joy of strife.’ Next to trying and winning, the best thing is trying and failing.”
Never give up. Things don’t always work out at once. There is joy and a sense of satisfaction in working hard before achieving something.
2. Elisabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen:
“Think only of the past as its remembrance gives you pleasure.”
The past should stay in the past. We can use it to learn and enjoy the remembrance, but not to let it hinder us from going forward.
3. The prophet from The Prophet, by Gibran Khalil Gibran:
“Love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.”
Gratefulness is very underestimated nowadays. We usually don’t feel the longing for something/someone until we lose it/them. It is not too late to start being grateful for what we have now.
4. Guy Montag from Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury:
“‘We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?’”
Avoid idleness. Feel. Love. We need to embrace the unquenchable passion to deepen our understanding of the world.
5. Antoinette from Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys:
“There is always another side, always.”
Don’t be limited to your own thinking. The world is filled with opinions and perspectives. It is always mindful to look at the other side and understand it before focusing on our own experience and opinion.
6. Lord Darlington from “Lady Windermere’s Fan,” by Oscar Wilde:
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
This is my favorite quote of all time. Staying positive even during hard times requires a lot of courage.
7. Mrs. Ramsay from To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf:
“And as she looked at him she began to smile, for though she had not said a word, he knew, of course he knew, that she loved him. He could not deny it. And smiling she looked out of the window and said (thinking to herself, Nothing on earth can equal this happiness)—”
We have to express love through actions not just words. Words are reassuring and beautiful to listen to, of course. But what’s their worth if nothing is done to prove their essence?
It is amazing how many characters have left an impact on my life.
Which one has left an impact on yours?