8 Feminist Book Characters That Smashed The Patriarchy

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Feminism is a constant cry in literature. Whether you prefer reading romance or young adult fiction, or mystery and historical romance, there is a feminist character in every genre.

Mark these books for your next visit to the bookstore, to read about feminist book characters who make and live by their own rules.

1. Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery

Precious and a little precocious, Anne is a bright, independent, curious girl, who begins her journey from a child to woman while battling friendships, family, community, and independence in her own pronounced way. 

2. Ella from Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Ella of Ella Enchanted is mistakenly blessed with the gift of obedience. As she grows up, her intelligence and plucky nature save from perilous trouble as she sets off on a quest to reverse the spell. Throughout the story, we are shown how Ella finds the strength to forge her own path and fall in love with a prince, without shrinking herself down to society’s traditionally accepted role of a woman.  She’s a feminist book character that comes on to her own, but gently.

3. Hermione Granger from Harry Potter series by J K Rowling

The smartest witch of her generation, our spitfire Gryffindor’s mastery over complicated spells is legendary. But, it is her creation of S.P.E.W to provide house-elves with basic rights and pay, which shows her determination to create a society where everyone is treated fairly, which addresses her foray into challenging society’s orthodox norms. Hermione’s arc through the book sees her grow into a feminist book character, and this creates an interesting dynamic.

4. Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

Katniss’s ability to constantly surprise the characters in the series with her decisions — especially when she chooses to volunteer in place of her younger sister, celebrating sisterhood on the same level as brotherhood, and finally, surviving the Hunger Games, against all odds, makes her a compelling heroine in a world challenging a young woman.

5. Jo March from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Jo is a spirited outsider, who has only grown stronger since we first met her. She reveals her strengths and vulnerabilities throughout the book, changing her course in the narrative many a times, but sticking to the true truth that conformity is optional and she will only live by her heart and not the diktats of society.

6. Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

As the most complex, independent, strong, self-aware woman in literature, Jane was decidedly a feminist book character who was way ahead of her time who enchanted the readers not only by her Dickensian predicaments but also by her determination to work through them and come out stronger on the other side.

7. Elizabeth Bennet from Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Austen’s best loved heroine’s enduring legacy as a feminist literary icon is that of her everyday experiences, which are still compelling and heartrending to a modern reader, 209 years after she first appeared in the book. Smart, intelligent, well-read, with strong opinions, and a resolution to never settle for less, Elizabeth Bennet is a force to reckon with.

8. Frances and Bobbi from Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney

Pulsating with determination (and misery) to challenge and change the anarchic and patriarchal outlook in their own experimental manner, they engage society and its members to look beyond the status quo, especially when it comes to relationships – platonic and romantic. The book forces you to look at feminist book characters from a different lens. 

Moshita Prajapati

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