My friend Katharine from 10 Minute Writer posted this challenge: List fifteen fictional characters (television, films, plays, books) who’ve influenced you and who will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. And then all the usual warnings about forwarding and such which I ignore because it annoys me. Also, these characters are in no particular order other than that which popped into my head. It also gave me something to do while waiting for the dryer to buzz.
1. Hester Prynne from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel, The Scarlet Letter. I read the novel when I was sixteen and was moved by her transformation from adulteress to angel. It started a fascination with Hawthorne’s works and themes.
2. Marvin the Martian from Warner Bros. cartoons. I love him. I loved him when I was too young to get him. I suppose as an adult sometimes I feel like an alien, sometimes like a conqueror, and always a little annoyed when things don’t go as planned.
3. Lt. Uhura from Star Trek. I wanted to be her. Only, not a fan of mini-skirts. Even when I had great legs.
4. Jaime Sommers. I wanted to run like the Bionic Woman.
5. Jo March from Little Women. Although I am the oldest of my siblings I was more like Jo, a little strong-headed, creative, and, um … independent.
6. Bill the Cat from Bloom County. Loved him. LOVED HIM. He is disheveled and mute. I feel like that sometimes — you know, like you take some hits and there’s nothing to say but Ack!
7. Opus the Penguin from Bloom County. As much as I love Bill the Cat, I also loved Opus and his hopeful optimism. I can be both, a pessimist and optimist, right? Sure.
8. The Little Prince by the book of the same name. I read it every once in a while. It moved me so, as a child, and as an adult I find it all the more meaningful.
9. J. Alfred Prufrock, I suppose, is the voice of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, a depressing poem by T.S. Eliot, but important to me because of the line, “Do I dare disturb the universe” which was instrumental in the direction my life took when I changed my major to English.
10. Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird. I aspire to that kind of integrity.
11. Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. Okay, I’m sensing a trend here, but really, I find his honesty refreshing.
12. Santiago from The Old Man and the Sea. I like that kind of faith and determination.
13. Reverend Mother from The Trouble with Angels. I loved her like I could have loved a real teacher. What a beautiful testament to religious life and the deep friendships among women.
14. Darth Vader from Star Wars because this list deserves an epic sci-fi character, and even though he is arguably the greatest villain, he also exemplifies the power of redemption and forgiveness, so I’ll forgive George Lucas and his ridiculous ending to The Return of the Jedi, and love Darth Vader’s transformation.
15. Miss Marple from the Agatha Christie novels. I think maybe I learned to watch people and look for certain trends in their behavior by reading those mysteries. On second thought, maybe it was Harriet, from Harriet the Spy.