Who is your favorite literary character of all-time?
As strange as it sounds to love a character that not only was the protagonist in one of the most famous books of all time, but a book that is also over 150 years old, I simply can’t go past Miss Havisham from Charles Dicken’s classic, Great Expectations.
She was so fascinating to me when I studied this at school that I have re-read it many times since then. She was so sad and eccentric. She walks around her house in her wedding dress and one shoe ever since she was jilted at the altar by her fiancé. So traumatised by the event, she teaches her adopted daughter Estella how to treat me – badly.
Miss Havisham simply cannot fathom the idea that men aren’t the enemy due to her broken heart which never recovers. Until the moment she sees the damage she done to Estella and her relationships that she realises and begs Pip to love her.
To me, Miss Havisham provided some of the most powerful quotes in literature even to this day, 155 years later. My two favourites are:
“ But as she grew, and promised to be very beautiful, I gradually did worse, and with my praises, and with my jewels, and with my teachings, and with this figure of myself always before her, a warning to back and point my lessons, I stole her heart away and put ice in its place.”
“Love her, love her, love her! If she favours you, love her. If she wounds you, love her. If she tears your heart to pieces- and as it gets older and stronger it will tear deeper – love her, love her, love her.”
For me this is almost impossible to answer as I have 2 events that I would have loved to bare witness to. The first, Martin Luther King Jr’s I have a dream speech. This speech has stood the test of time and even to this day, in a country a million miles away who has never endured the hardships and oppression he was so adamantly objecting to, this still resonates.
The other, and the one I would choose if I had to would be February 11th 1990 in South Africa to witness Nelson Mandela walk free after spending 27 years in prison.
Mandela was an amazing human being. He was just a man, standing up for what he believed in, never relenting to the unimaginable pressure. He was threatened with everything a person could be threatened with and he still stood firm. How many people could honestly say they’d do the same?
Mandela is the one person who is always an invited guest to my dead or alive dinner party. To watch him walk the streets, with his wife by his side, even today inspires not only South Africa but the world to do better.
Rebecca, one of four kids to her parents who are both primary school teachers, was born in Wollongong on the south coast of Australia before moving to the country with her family. After a few years of embracing all that country life had to offer, the family relocated to Port Macquarie with its white sand beaches. After a brief period enjoying the sun and the surf they finally settled in Canberra where Rebecca still lives today. But all through her childhood a notepad and a book where never far away. These days Rebecca is an avid reader, and when she isn’t buried in a book or cheering on her beloved football team she’s spending time with her husband Robert and their overly spoilt dog Levi.