Episode #30 - Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Julie thought Jane was right in asking Rochester about whether or not he loves another, while Scott thinks Jane needed to be a little more concerned about the dark goings-on.
Download or listen via this link: |Episode #030|
Subscribe to the podcast via this link: Feedburner
Or subscribe via iTunes by clicking: |HERE|
- The audiobook, narrated by the remarkable Lucy Scott: On Audible
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
- The Secret Country Trilogy by Pamela Dean
Rose's email on YA Lit and Heroines (included by request)
6 Traits of a YA Dystopian/Fantasy Female Protagonist
These traits are obviously meant to define her as a Woman of Action, a strong, independent female protagonist who is worthy of admiration. However, the one trait relied on to make her strong is her physical skill and possibly leadership. An absence of these traits leads to a character who, like Bella in the Twilight series, is criticized as being weak and passive. While this simplistic view of strength is likely to appeal to the girls it is written for, these types of novels have a much wider audience and reflects the general rejection of the Domestic Goddess image that dominated literature for centuries.
- She is independent to the point that she spends little time with her family (whom she loves) and relies little on family or her one or friends for help. She and her one or two good friends very themselves as outsiders and while that may be true for her friends, she is most likely held in high regard by others, simply inapproachable.
- She had a lack of self-awareness of her good qualities, including but not limited to physical attractiveness, intelligence, leadership, etc, which she generally possesses in abundance. Because of this, she is prone to self-doubt.
- She has little to no interest in romance unless with a childhood friend whom she views as inaccessible. Because of this she is uninterested in her own beauty, never wearing makeup or a dress unless forced.
- She is averse to a leadership position, but excels when it is thrust upon her, generally because of a special ability she discovers she has.
- She is proficient (or aspiring to be) at a physical skill such as hunting, combat, survival, etc.
- She is surprisingly unobservant or uncritical of society until shown its flaws by someone else, typically her love interest. However, she is perceived as being highly intelligent because of her tendency to speak her mind, something she attributes to how bad she is at lying.
The Domestic Goddess is stereotypically a weak, passive woman who waits for a man to save her and while there are numerous examples of this, there are many noticeable exceptions. Penelope, the archetypal Domestic Goddess from The Odyssey, demonstrates amazing strength of will in her determination to avoid a second marriage and wait for her husband to return, putting herself in danger not just from one, but a whole gaggle of men, every night as she unravels her dress, a traditionally female craft. This internal, feminine strength extends to female protagonists throughout literature including Jane Eyre, Fanny Price from Mansfield Park, Dorothea from Middlemarch, and Hester Pryne from The Scarlett Letter. They display a strength, both emotional and mental, that surpasses the Dystopian Protagonist’s physical strength becomes it comes with more conviction and purpose. These women do not need the false modesty of the Dystopian Protagonist because they have a true self-knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses that gives them the strength and maturity to affect their society in a constructive way and serve as an example to others.
So has the modern woman really lost her true strength to this pale imitation of masculine heroics? Are there any truly original, realistic women in YA Dystopian/Fantasy novels today or has the future really lost the wisdom of the past?