Friday, August 21, 2009

Fiction Characters That I Hate - Guest Post by Carrie from Books & Movies)

I recently saw a post at The Written World called Fictional Characters That I Hate, and it got me to thinking. There are several characters who caused a gut reaction of pure hate as I read:

Becky Sharp from Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray - I stated in my review that I thought Becky Sharp was pure evil, and that provoked some interesting comments stating that she was a product of her background and that she was misunderstood. I didn't see it that way - there were many points where Becky could have chosen to do the right thing, but she always acted in her own self-interest, no matter who she hurt. In spite of Becky, however, I did like the book.

Cathy and Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - I have no idea why this book is considered such a great romance - Cathy and Heathcliff are completely narcissistic and unloveable. Nothing romantic about this couple.

Edna Pontellier from The Awakening by Kate Chopin - This novel is supposed to be a pre-feminist manifesto, but I simply see it as a tragic story of what happens when someone chooses themself continually - over their spouse, their children, all others. I see Edna's choice at the end as an act of depiscable cowardice, not a feminist statement.

Jack Randall and Laoghaire from the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon - Black Jack Randall is the ultimate villain: his handsome and sensual exterior hide cruelty and sadism. His presence haunts this series, long after his body is dead. Laoghaire may not be pure evil on the same scale as Jack Randall, but she's pretty despicable. From trying to have Claire killed to making Jamie miserable in their marriage, and then extorting money from him long after she needs it - her list of misdeeds is extensive.

Mrs. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - Her simpering, overt attempts to marry her daughter off result in embarrassment for Lizzie and Jane. I continually wanted to shake her or slap her while reading P&P.

Dr. Cable from the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld - As head of Special Circumstances, Cable is the ultimate example of the ends justifies the means. Her complete willingness to deny people their ability to think and their free will is chilling.

Joyce Barnhardt from the Stephanie Plum mysteries by Janet Evanovich - Any woman who would boff a newly married man - Stephanie's husband, Dickie Orr - on his dining room table is pretty low. You'd think she'd be ashamed enough to avoid Stephanie after that, but, no, she continues to do everything she can to make Stephanie's life miserable. She's a witch with a capital B.

August from Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen - August is truly crazy - and, even scarier, completely unpredictable. The fact that he could fly off at any moment and do physical damage to anyone and everyone in his path made him a horrible character - and his treatment of the elephant, Rosie, made me sick to my stomach. The way he met his end was justice at its best.

Those are the characters that inspire an instant feeling of hatred when I think of them. What fictional characters do you hate?


Many thanks to Carrie for visiting Musings of a Bookish Kitty. Be sure and drop visit Carrie at Books and Movies and Mommy Brain. If you don't already follow her blogs regularly, you should!

24 comments:

  1. Ha! I love it! I don't know all of these characters, but the first one that came to MY mind was Jack Randall. This was a fun list. It is the sign of a great author to make our blood boil over these bad guys!

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  2. I'm such a forgiving person that I even forgive book characters. I often want to warn characters to stop and think, but their actions seem almost preordained, necessary for the continuance of the universe. I don't find myself hating anyone, not even book characters.

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  3. Ditto on the Wuthering Heights. Such icky people!!

    Lezlie

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  4. I did not enjoy Cathy & Heathcliff either.

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  5. It's so refreshing to find others who did not like Cathy and Heathcliff! I cannot for the life of me figure out why it is hailed as such a fabulous love story!

    As for other characters I have hated, I can't think of specifics, but I know there are a few that have caused a visceral reaction!

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  6. I really love Wuthering Heights, but not because it is a great romance.

    I have to say that Mrs. Bennet does not garner my hatred so much as Mr. Collins and Lady Catherine!

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  7. Hate Cathy and Heathcliff too, hate the book, hate the movie!

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  8. I LOVE Wuthering Heights - for those who say its not a romance, either didn't get the story or read a different book! I could list several quotes that are the best love story lines EVER!! This is, as I'm sure you've gathered, one of my all time favourite books!

    Great post though and I agree with Sandy, it is a sign of a good writer if the words bring out all these emotions we have :)

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  9. Wow. All this dislike for poor little Cathy and Heathcliffe! I adore the story myself.

    I do agree with you about Mrs Bennett and August. August was one of those evil characters that makes your skin crawl.

    As for Joyce... she's a royal B but I gotta admit it's fun to see Stephanie find a way to get to her all the time. The pork in the latest book was pretty funny.

    cjh

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  10. I'm another who just doesn't get the appeal of Wuthering Heights. My book club read it and most of us were like, "How is this a classic love story? These people are twisted."

    I generally forgive fiction characters, they're usually there to make a point. It's people in non-fiction books that get me, they're real people and when you hate/dislike them, they deserve it.

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  11. It's fun to get some angst out, isn't it? There are a few on this list that could easily be on mine, too! :)

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  12. Loved this, especially the Cathy and Heathcliff inclusion. I'm always happy to find others who share my intense dislike of Wuthering Heights :-).

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  13. I can't stand Tom Sawyer. He's all right in his own book, but his actions in THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN more than qualify him for a spot on Memory's Most Hated.

    I'm also down on Lancelot. I find him far too self-absorbed, and not in an entertaining way.

    Finally, I hated Dolores from Wally Lamb's SHE'S COME UNDONE. I might have changed my mind if I'd been able to finish the book, but Dolores bothered me so much that I gave up halfway through.

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  14. GASP!!! Ooooh no! I have been thinking about Cathy and Heathcliff all day today. I just finished Eclipse (yes, that Eclipse) and Wuthering Heights plays a big role in the novel. Before I wrote my review last night, I flipped through my very battered copy of WH looking for a specific quote and fell in love with it again. I know they are both rotten people, but there's just so much dang passion there. So, I've been thinking about them all day--thinking about how I might just treat myself to a brand new copy so that I can rediscover why I love the book so much.

    LOL!

    Miss you Wendy...

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  15. I thought Cathy & Heathcliff were so romantic when I read it as a teen - when I tried to reread it not long ago, I wanted to horsewhip the lot of them and send them to bed without supper.

    ITA with you on all of those that I've read so I'm steering clear of The Awakening and Water for Elephants now. Great guest post Carrie!

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  16. This is such a fun post, Carrie! Thank you for guest posting today. :-)

    Thomas Covenant from Stephen R. Donaldson's Lord Foul's Bane came to mind instantly. He's the protagonist in the novel and when he raped a girl, I nearly gave up on the book in disgust. The author worked very hard at creating an anti-hero though--and I think it was his intent to create a hero that no one would like very much. By the time I finished the book, I was quite impressed with Donaldson's ability to keep me reading despite everything.

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  17. Thank you to all who commented! And, Trish, I miss you too. I'll be gone through next week, unfortunately, but should be back after that.

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  18. Have to agree with you on Jack Randall and Laoghaire. Much dislike characters for me.

    I hope you have a great trip, where ever you are going :)

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  19. I also hated Cathy in Wuthering Heights when I first read it. But after I watched the PBS miniseries version of it, I sympathized with her character a lot more.

    As for August from Water for Elephants, I didn't mind his character at all. I mean, yeah, he's a psycho; but in all honesty his wife annoyed the CRAP out of me. Every single bad thing that happens in that book is essentially her fault.

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  20. That's a great topic! I might have to steal it. The only one coming to mind at the moment isn't from a book, it's a character from Battlestar Galactica that I really really hate, but I'm sure I could come up with some more if I thought about it.

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  21. Sandy - I agree - it is the sign of a great author!

    Debnance - I'm much more forgiving in real life - but part of the attraction of fiction is that we can hate the villains without guilt!

    Lezlie, Charley, Undine - I find that people have very strong reactions to Wuthering Heights - either love it or hate it.

    Serena - yes, I dislike Mr. Collins and Lady Catherine, too - but they seem to be set up to be the villains - as a mother, I can't handle how horrible Mrs. Bennet is!

    Rhapsody - well, tell us how you really feel! ~wink~

    Book Chick City - strong feelings on both sides of the Wuthering Heights debate! :)

    CJ - I love the little sneaky ways Stephanie finds to get back at Joyce! I'm not caught up on the series yet, though, so I don't know about the pork.

    Tammy - yes, non-fiction evil-ness is harder to handle.

    Kailana - healthy, non-consequence angst - the best kind!

    Florinda - yep, another WH hater here. :)

    Memory - It's been so long since I've read Huck Finn that I don't remember what Tom did. Time for a re-read, I think!

    Trish - I had forgotten that about Eclipse!

    Carrie K - The Awakening was a disappointment, but Water for Elephants is definitely a must-read, in spite of the horrible August.

    Wendy - you're welcome! And I can't imagine reading a novel where the "hero" was a rapist!

    Julia - Laoghaire is such a whiner - I hate whiners!

    Heidenkind - I didn't have that reaction to Marlena - that's an interesting perspective!

    Kim - I'll look forward to your list of baddies!

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  22. I can only relate to the Mrs Bennet one...

    I don't like whiners as well. They're super irritating.

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  23. Arthur Dimmesdale from The Scarlet Letter. He is such a puke. What did Hester ever see in him?

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