Where Fiction Fails

I began a search for a female character in a book or story who is truly beautiful. I mean beautiful in an all-over way: lovely, gracious, godly, generous, intelligent, wise, faithful, strong, etc. I met one such lady in real life, and I know she is all of the above because her life is filled with tragedy and her beautiful qualities shine through despite trials an average person would melt under. She is a combination of Job and the Proverbs 31 woman. Yes, I can relate to her in biblical terms. But in fiction? I can only think of Mark Twain’s women. And they are, for the most part, stereotypes. An ideal woman. Flat, not round. Other female characters might rise above their flaws (Sonya in Crime and Punishment, Jo in Little Women, Anne in Anne of Green Gables), but they are interesting because they are so flawed, not because they are a cut above the rest. I certainly haven’t plumbed the depths of literature, but the fact that this initial search comes up empty makes me wonder if fiction has failed at portraying this one type of woman.

If you can think of a truly beautiful-on-the-inside female character in a work of fiction, please let me know! I’ll keep you posted if some are found.


5 thoughts on “Where Fiction Fails”

    1. After I wrote the post, I thought that someone might mention a Jane Austen character. I have read her books, but it was awhile ago, and I’m sorry to say the characters did not leave as huge of an impression on me as they do to other readers. I did look into Elinor’s character a bit, and it does seem as if she is a very kind and virtuous woman. Practical. Maybe emotionally pent-up, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You make a good point about Austen not putting Christian themes overtly into her books. Her themes are more social, right? Anyway, I will put Elinor Dashwood on a list of fictional women who come close to being truly beautiful.

  1. It is quite difficult to find a character like this in literature. The bible definitely gives the definition of a virtuous woman in proverbs 31. When thinking about women in literature they are always portrayed as having many faults and often being a hindrance to the protagonist. I do not know why this trend ever went on although I assume it is due to the point in time when Classic American literature was written; women’s roles were quite different and an independent woman was seen, pretty much, as being irritating. Modern literature will definitely have better portrayals of women but you must suffer through many overdone and rehashed plots to find these characters. This is why I still recommend the classics for the best reading. I hope you find some success on your search for an independent woman in literature.

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