Friday, January 10, 2014

Classics Club Montly Meme: January 2014

The Classics Club does a monthly meme, with a question for whoever is inclined to answer.  This month's meme is:

Which character from classic literature is most important or influential to you and why? Or which character do you most despise and why?

Hmm.  A LOT of classic characters are important and influential to me.  Choosing one is just too hard!  So I'll go with the character I most despise.  And that would be John Thorpe from Northanger Abbey.  He's got absolutely no reason to be vulgar, deceitful, and greedy, other than that he's not a good person.  I find no redeeming qualities in him whatsoever.

Yes, I despise John Thorpe more than Bill Sykes, Cardinal Richelieu, Grima Wormtongue, and countless other classic villains.  Because I can understand those villains, figure out their motives and what drives them, and even pity some of them a bit.  But I don't even want to understand the sort of person who lies constantly, tells strangers a girl is rich so he seems more important because he claims she is interested in him, and decides a girl is going to marry him because she says matrimony in general is agreeable.  He has no sad back story, no terrible childhood, nothing.  He's a jerk because he enjoys being a jerk.

Also, I'm kind of unlikely to run into a Bill Sykes, Richelieu, or Wormtongue in the sort of life I lead, but a lying, vulgar jerk -- I've known those.  And they made me shudder.

(P.S.  Don't forget to enter my Tolkien giveaway here!)


  1. Ugh, I almost threw the book across the room (a number of times) on account of John Thorpe. What a pig.

    Sure seems like villains are more typically hated because they are like people the readers are familiar with. Austen must have been really astute about those people in real life, to make such strong, realistic characters on paper. Very aware of the people around her, or at least aware of how those types of people *could* be, I think.


    1. Isn't he awful! Good thing delightful Henry Tilney is around to save Catherine -- and us -- from too much John Thorpe.

      And you're right, Austen was such a student of human nature! Even her icky characters are so very believable and real. Amazing.


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