Jump to content

Despising a character in a book


  • Please log in to reply
56 replies to this topic

#1 Keepitsimplestupid

Posted 09 July 2019 - 10:20 AM

I am part way through reading 'A Book of American Martyrs' by Joyce Carol Oates.  
I'm 18% through it (obviously on an ereader lol) and the firt 15% or so was focused on one of the main characters in the story - Luther Dunphy. Oh how I despise Luther Dunphy! His hypocrisy,  his behaviour, himself in general - everything about this man I loathe.
But I'm really enjoying the book so far, and I'm guessing it's the skill of the author to be able to draw a character so well that he evokes such emotions in the reader.

Have you ever read a book where you've felt so so strongly about a character?  Either despising the character or fallen absolutely head over heels in live with them?

#2 MooGuru

Posted 09 July 2019 - 10:47 AM

Yes.  All the time. I give up on a lot of books pretty quickly because I can't stand the character.

Not that I can think of a single example right now.

Eta Elizabeth Bennett was my first truly deep literary love.

Edited by MooGuru, 09 July 2019 - 10:47 AM.


#3 steppy

Posted 09 July 2019 - 10:50 AM

Yes, often. I've even totally despised a character and then fallen in love with them (Thomas Covenant).

#4 ERipley

Posted 09 July 2019 - 10:57 AM

View PostMooGuru, on 09 July 2019 - 10:47 AM, said:


Eta Elizabeth Bennett was my first truly deep literary love.

Elizabeth Bennett is a brilliant example. She’s one of the most loved literary characters of all time and a huge feminist icon. It shows you what skill Jane Austen had to so completely flesh out a character that we can all relate so well 206 years later.

It also shows her skill that she created the not very likeable Fanny Price in Mansfield Park. Most scholars think it was a deliberate choice of Austen’s to create an antihero. I found Mansfield Park really hard going but I marvel at the original idea and skill that went into creating Fanny Price. I cannot love Jane Austen enough!

#5 ERipley

Posted 09 July 2019 - 11:02 AM

Oh and two characters I cannot hate enough are Mrs Havisham and Estella from Great Expectations. Not for the reasons we’re supposed to hate them. They are one dimensional characters, drawn from a deeply misogynistic mind. I get so angry every time I think about them. #DownwithDickens!

#6 BadCat

Posted 09 July 2019 - 11:06 AM

Thomas Covenant.  Hated him so much I couldn't keep reading.

#7 steppy

Posted 09 July 2019 - 11:06 AM

With Jane Austen, I really hated Emma's father and Mrs Bennett. Emma's father is particularly hideous.

#8 Lucrezia Bauble

Posted 09 July 2019 - 11:08 AM

Mansfield Park is my favourite Austen novel - so elegantly written.

Fanny does come across as a bit passive aggressive and peevish at times - but i think that’s the skill of Austen - given Fanny’s position in the family she was always going to have problems with confidence. Mary Crawford was the more likeable character - right up to the end i guess. maybe that was Austen’s point - the quiet - some might say boring - aspects of Fanny’s character should be overlooked because she had a good heart? dunno - Emma Woodhouse is my favourite austen character - although of course Elizabeth Bennett is up there. i like the dad too - he’s hilarious. and i read an article once in defence of Mrs Bennett - can you believe it. i’ll try to find it.

as for characters you despise....Soames Forsyte in the Forsyte Saga and.....every single character in the Slap (I’ll show myself out).


#9 steppy

Posted 09 July 2019 - 11:10 AM

You like Mr. Woodhouse? He makes my skin crawl. I wish they'd push him outside in a snow storm with only a slice of very rich cake. For me he embodies the essence of the idea of 'the tyranny of the weak'.

Edited by steppy, 09 July 2019 - 11:11 AM.


#10 ERipley

Posted 09 July 2019 - 11:12 AM

View PostLucrezia Borgia, on 09 July 2019 - 11:08 AM, said:

Mansfield Park is my favourite Austen novel - so elegantly written.

Fanny does come across as a bit passive aggressive and peevish at times - but i think that’s the skill of Austen - given Fanny’s position in the family she was always going to have problems with confidence. Mary Crawford was the more likeable character - right up to the end i guess. maybe that was Austen’s point - the quiet - some might say boring - aspects of Fanny’s character should be overlooked because she had a good heart? dunno - Emma Woodhouse is my favourite austen character - although of course Elizabeth Bennett is up there. i like the dad too - he’s hilarious. and i read an article once in defence of Mrs Bennett - can you believe it. i’ll try to find it.

as for characters you despise....Soames Forsyte in the Forsyte Saga and.....every single character in the Slap (I’ll show myself out).

I have so much time and sympathy for Mrs Bennett. Mr Bennett is the one who dropped the ball, as Elizabeth told him.

#11 Lucrezia Bauble

Posted 09 July 2019 - 11:12 AM

View Poststeppy, on 09 July 2019 - 11:10 AM, said:

You like Mr. Woodhouse? He makes my skin crawl. I wish they'd push him outside in a snow storm with only a slice of very rich cake. For me he embodies the essence of the idea of 'the tyranny of the weak'.

no - sorry, i meant i like Mr Bennett - he’s really funny. Mr Woodhouse is the pits.


#12 steppy

Posted 09 July 2019 - 11:13 AM

View PostLucrezia Borgia, on 09 July 2019 - 11:08 AM, said:


as for characters you despise....Soames Forsyte in the Forsyte Saga and.....every single character in the Slap (I’ll show myself out).

I was thinking of mentioning the Slap, but I've read Dead Europe and the Jesus Man and the Slap characters are comparatively quite nice. LOL

#13 steppy

Posted 09 July 2019 - 11:14 AM

View PostERipley, on 09 July 2019 - 11:12 AM, said:

I have so much time and sympathy for Mrs Bennett. Mr Bennett is the one who dropped the ball, as Elizabeth told him.

Really? Mrs Bennett just seems like the mother of Honey Boo Boo to me. Lydia IS Honey Boo Boo.

Edited by steppy, 09 July 2019 - 11:15 AM.


#14 Lucrezia Bauble

Posted 09 July 2019 - 11:19 AM

here is the article....i don’t necessarily agree with all of it, but it offers a different perspective - as i was always ready to sneer at Mrs Bennet right along with her husband, and, to a lesser extent, her two older daughters. [edit - sorry, i’m not expressing myself well today- maybe i need to read an austen! - i meant her husband sneered at her, as did Jane and Elizabeth]


https://lithub.com/j...ost-subversive/

Edited by Lucrezia Borgia, 09 July 2019 - 11:20 AM.


#15 seayork2002

Posted 09 July 2019 - 11:20 AM

This is why I gave up (but read the last couple of pages) on Time Travelers Wife which was the first book I did that on as an adult reading normal novel books. I could not care about any of the characters.

I can loathe a character as a person (if they were real) but have to love them as as a character to be able to read it.

So I can happily 'hate' them but I the character has to work

#16 RichardParker

Posted 09 July 2019 - 11:23 AM

View PostERipley, on 09 July 2019 - 10:57 AM, said:


It also shows her skill that she created the not very likeable Fanny Price in Mansfield Park. Most scholars think it was a deliberate choice of Austen’s to create an antihero. I found Mansfield Park really hard going but I marvel at the original idea and skill that went into creating Fanny Price. I cannot love Jane Austen enough!

I've never been able to read or watch Emma because I just cannot stand her character.  I know she evolves as a person, and that's the whole point of the novel, but I just cannot get over it.

#17 ERipley

Posted 09 July 2019 - 11:25 AM

View Poststeppy, on 09 July 2019 - 11:14 AM, said:



Really? Mrs Bennett just seems like the mother of Honey Boo Boo to me. Lydia IS Honey Boo Boo.

She knew far better than Mr Bennett what would happen if the girls didn’t marry. She did her best. And yes she was, from what was suggested in the book, a lot like Lydia, which is probably why Lydia was her favourite. Mr Bennett married a pretty face and he knew she didn’t have the social graces necessary. That was his role but he just sat in his library all day reading books and ignoring what his daughters were getting up to.

#18 steppy

Posted 09 July 2019 - 11:28 AM

I agree Mr Bennett dropped the ball but can't see how that makes Mrs Bennett any less of an idiot. I think Mr Bennett probably once tried to make her less of an idiot and realised it was hopeless. He was lucky she didn't ruin all five. Though really Mary and Kitty were just very average. Mary perhaps somewhat on the dull side. Always thought she should have married that odious cousin.

OK I read it. I agree Mrs Bennett has a lot of fight but she's still Mama June. Mama June doesn't care what other people think either. Really for someone who is fighting so hard to get her daughter's well married, she has zero concern that Lydia will bring all the others down. She'd be pretty stuffed if she relied on Wickham to support her and her 4 other daughters.

Edited by steppy, 09 July 2019 - 11:40 AM.


#19 ERipley

Posted 09 July 2019 - 11:39 AM

View Poststeppy, on 09 July 2019 - 11:28 AM, said:

I agree Mr Bennett dropped the ball but can't see how that makes Mrs Bennett any less of an idiot. I think Mr Bennett probably once tried to make her less of an idiot and realised it was hopeless. He was lucky she didn't ruin all five. Though really Mary and Kitty were just very average. Mary perhaps somewhat on the dull side. Always thought she should have married that odious cousin.

I agree that she wasn’t bright but I think she should be treated with sympathy. She was thrust into a difficult position having no son and 5 daughters to marry off. That would have been a nightmare scenario. He should have realised and been just as active trying to get a good match for them.

ETA: and let’s not forget, Mrs Bennett was brought up like that for a reason. She was supposed to look pretty and be cheery. That got her a good match. She was a success. I think she can be forgiven for thinking her daughters would achieve the same by following her example.

Edited by ERipley, 09 July 2019 - 11:42 AM.


#20 steppy

Posted 09 July 2019 - 11:43 AM

I'm sympathetic about how Mr Bennett treated her - that was a BAD marriage. But I'm not about how she treats her daughters. Can you imagine if she'd had a son? Her daughters would have been nothing to her.

#21 ERipley

Posted 09 July 2019 - 11:48 AM

View Poststeppy, on 09 July 2019 - 11:28 AM, said:

I agree Mr Bennett dropped the ball but can't see how that makes Mrs Bennett any less of an idiot. I think Mr Bennett probably once tried to make her less of an idiot and realised it was hopeless. He was lucky she didn't ruin all five. Though really Mary and Kitty were just very average. Mary perhaps somewhat on the dull side. Always thought she should have married that odious cousin.

OK I read it. I agree Mrs Bennett has a lot of fight but she's still Mama June. Mama June doesn't care what other people think either. Really for someone who is fighting so hard to get her daughter's well married, she has zero concern that Lydia will bring all the others down. She'd be pretty stuffed if she relied on Wickham to support her and her 4 other daughters.

Wickham would never have been called on to do anything. The sisters would have had to make a choice between a possibly bad marriage or becoming governesses, which was often horrible too.

Mary didn’t have a choice about the odious cousin. He only wanted the prettiest ones as trophy wives.

#22 ERipley

Posted 09 July 2019 - 11:53 AM

View Poststeppy, on 09 July 2019 - 11:43 AM, said:

I'm sympathetic about how Mr Bennett treated her - that was a BAD marriage. But I'm not about how she treats her daughters. Can you imagine if she'd had a son? Her daughters would have been nothing to her.

If she had a son marriage wouldn’t have been a big deal because he would have inherited the estate and could look after his sisters. With no son, once Mr Bennett dies all the girls will be homeless. They will own absolutely nothing. Marriage is survival for them which is why Mrs Bennett is so pushy. Yes she goes about it the wrong way but when she says “we’ll all be ruined” and runs off crying she’s absolutely right.

#23 SarahBelle48

Posted 09 July 2019 - 12:13 PM

I find the main character in the Shopaholic series to be unbearable by the last few books, she was just so frustrating and selfish towards the end. I kept reading the books in the hope that she would redeem herself but she got worse.

#24 MooGuru

Posted 09 July 2019 - 12:16 PM

Oh yes the Shopaholic woman made my blood boil. I never finished the series she drove me so mad.
I quite like some of her other books though

#25 CallMeFeral

Posted 09 July 2019 - 12:18 PM

I remember reading the Wellbeloved and the main guy was pathetic. But I think he was supposed to be, so I still enjoyed the book. It's probably worse if they are supposed to be likeable but are actually annoying.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

 
 
Advertisement
 

Top 5 Viewed Articles

 
Advertisement
 
 
 
Advertisement
 
 
Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.