“Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! - I have as much soul as you, - and full as much heart!"
From one of my all time favourite classics, Jane Eyre may be from a lowly background in which she is poorly treated, but she refuses to let that taint her own morals. The novel, written by Charlotte Brontë in 1847, has themes of the gothic, love and social class. Her interactions with Mr Rochester are intriguing; she becomes very much his equal, despite them being from different classes and she is able to see past his cold exterior unlike anyone else in his world.
'There [Catherine] lay dashing her head against the arm of the sofa, and grinding her teeth, so that you might fancy she would crash them to splinters!'
I adore this character from Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights, although she is not all likeable. Catherine comes from a wealthy family that take in the orphaned Heathcliff. At first, when Catherine is a child, she is very close to her foster brother as she has not been subjected to ideas about social class. However, later in the novel she becomes cruel, aggressive and twisted, hurting Heathcliff intensely (as he does her) even though they are fiercely in love. She becomes a product of snobbery and filled with spite; this is what makes her fascinating. If you have ever acted irrationally due to a relationship, you may just recognise flickers of yourself in this awful woman!
Fräulein Else is often a humourous and brutally honest narrator who draws criticisms of the bourgeois ideals of the late 19th century. Above all, she is a young woman who does not fit into a world of shallowness and greed.
Offred is the narrator of Margaret Attwood's dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale (1985). I wanted to read this a long time before I actually picked it up because once you get to hear about this book, it is one you want to experience. The story follows Offred ('of Fred') as she finds herself separated from her husband and five year-old daughter and forced to live the life of being a commander's (Fred's) property- hence her name 'Of fred'. Her main purpose in life is now to act as a womb to give birth to her commander's children. Having known a life before this society came to be, Offred shares her inner thoughts with the reader which are full of strength and insight. The novel is not simply about female oppression, but also the nature of freedom in society and what happens when freedom is lost. I would read this again in a heartbeat.
'Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl... Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile in a chagrined, loving manner and let their men do whatever they want.'