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Despising a character in a book


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#26 steppy

Posted 09 July 2019 - 12:21 PM

View PostERipley, on 09 July 2019 - 11:53 AM, said:

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.

But surely being right about being ruined if her daughter's don't marry doesn't make up for all the things she did to pretty much ensure her daughters wouldn't marry well - like boasting and bragging and encouraging her younger girls to foist themselves on just anyone? Not to mention making sure Jane gets ill and being rude to Mr Darcy months and months later just because he once didn't fancy her daughter and all of those things. Her two eldest marry well in spite of her, not because of her.

Of course, what Mr Bennett should have done was send them to London and as far away from their mother as they could get.

Edited by steppy, 09 July 2019 - 12:24 PM.


#27 EsmeLennox

Posted 09 July 2019 - 12:36 PM

View Poststeppy, on 09 July 2019 - 11:13 AM, said:



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

God yes. Not to mention Barracuda. Now if there’s ever been an author who can write revolting, unlikeable, self-absorbed characters, it’s Christos Tsiolkas.

#28 EsmeLennox

Posted 09 July 2019 - 12:39 PM

All characters in Wuthering Heights are pretty hard going, too. For a romance, there’s some pretty sh*tty people in that book, including the two main characters.

#29 RichardParker

Posted 09 July 2019 - 01:05 PM

View PostLucrezia Borgia, on 09 July 2019 - 11:19 AM, said:

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/

Yes, after reading that article I tend to see her point - it was all very well for Elizabeth to sneer at Charlotte for marrying the gross Mr Collins, but, a girl's gotta eat.  Not everyone can snag a hideously wealthy Mr Darcy - sometimes the best choice that can be made is to marry an unattractive, dull but otherwise harmless man WITH A HOUSE AND AN INCOME.

Edited by RichardParker, 09 July 2019 - 01:11 PM.


#30 maryanneK

Posted 09 July 2019 - 01:32 PM

there are lots of books where I hate characters but I dont necessarily hate the book because of it

Like PPs have mentioned - most of the characters in the slap were awful, but I still loved the book. I read lots of horror and crime novels - full of horrible characters but great to read!!

I suppose the only time not liking a character puts me off the book is where you are clearly meant to like them or care about them, and by NOT doing so, you lose interest in the book. Like Eat Pray Love.   Didnt like the character and therefore didnt like the book.  I just couldnt get invested in caring about her story.

#31 steppy

Posted 09 July 2019 - 01:57 PM

Yes Wuthering Heights is interesting that way. Heathcliff is an ahole and Catherine is spoilt and selfish, but somehow it's a great love story. I actually love the love story even though it isn't a love story. More of an obsession story. I remember loving Heathcliff. Now I read it and think he (and Catherine) are everything you don't want in a partner.

#32 Lucrezia Bauble

Posted 09 July 2019 - 01:59 PM

maybe that’s the appeal of these books...they accurately depict the fact that we are essentially all awful, egotistical, selfish beings..but we fall in love with each other regardless....

#33 steppy

Posted 09 July 2019 - 02:00 PM

View PostRichardParker, on 09 July 2019 - 01:05 PM, said:

Yes, after reading that article I tend to see her point - it was all very well for Elizabeth to sneer at Charlotte for marrying the gross Mr Collins, but, a girl's gotta eat.  Not everyone can snag a hideously wealthy Mr Darcy - sometimes the best choice that can be made is to marry an unattractive, dull but otherwise harmless man WITH A HOUSE AND AN INCOME.

I think Jane Austen does address that very issue within the book though. Lizzie has to listen to Charlotte because Charlotte is so sensible and intelligent.

All the same she knows she would rather starve to death on the street than marry Mr Collins because she would die inside. It does make Mr Darcy look considerably more attractive though.

#34 EsmeLennox

Posted 09 July 2019 - 02:11 PM

View Poststeppy, on 09 July 2019 - 01:57 PM, said:

Yes Wuthering Heights is interesting that way. Heathcliff is an ahole and Catherine is spoilt and selfish, but somehow it's a great love story. I actually love the love story even though it isn't a love story. More of an obsession story. I remember loving Heathcliff. Now I read it and think he (and Catherine) are everything you don't want in a partner.

Heathcliff should have been arrested for stalking.

I think it’s certainly an element...to present extremely flawed characters and examine their humanity in the context of universal themes.

#35 ERipley

Posted 09 July 2019 - 02:43 PM

View Poststeppy, on 09 July 2019 - 12:21 PM, said:



But surely being right about being ruined if her daughter's don't marry doesn't make up for all the things she did to pretty much ensure her daughters wouldn't marry well - like boasting and bragging and encouraging her younger girls to foist themselves on just anyone? Not to mention making sure Jane gets ill and being rude to Mr Darcy months and months later just because he once didn't fancy her daughter and all of those things. Her two eldest marry well in spite of her, not because of her.

Of course, what Mr Bennett should have done was send them to London and as far away from their mother as they could get.

I think we’re arguing at cross purposes here. What I said was I have time and sympathy for her and you were surprised. I’m just explaining why. I know full well how close she almost came to ruining everything, but that doesn’t make her a less sympathetic character to me. She was doing her best. Would I want her for a mother? Absolutely not! This is the great thing about Jane Austen. What a wonderfully rich character. And what a great way to hold a mirror up to society and say, should we be raising girls to become Mrs Bennetts, or should we be educating them and turning them into Elizabeths?

#36 ERipley

Posted 09 July 2019 - 02:50 PM

Another character I used to hate is Daisy from The Great Gatsby. Then I reread the book and saw her in the context of that time and society and I can see her from the perspective of Gatsby, or Fitzgerald (assuming she’s a stand-in for Zelda). The beautiful shirts scene still melts my heart.

#37 steppy

Posted 09 July 2019 - 02:59 PM

I can't like Daisy. I see her as fool's gold. She's a trope - the one where if someone is beautiful some people can't imagine that they're not good. Gatsby thought she was the real thing but she was just like all the people he disliked so much. She just liked to indulge a fantasy image of herself.

Edited by steppy, 09 July 2019 - 03:03 PM.


#38 ERipley

Posted 09 July 2019 - 03:11 PM

View Poststeppy, on 09 July 2019 - 02:59 PM, said:

I can't like Daisy. I see her as fool's gold. She's a trope - the one where if someone is beautiful some people can't imagine that they're not good. Gatsby thought she was the real thing but she was just like all the people he disliked so much. She just liked to indulge a fantasy image of herself.

I always see it as Fitzgerald imagining if Zelda hadn’t taken that chance on him. Zelda turned him down so many times because he couldn’t support them financially, even though she absolutely adored him and fell in love with him instantly. Then she took the chance and he had to write to make his fortune. What if Daisy married Gatsby years ago and was with him when he made his fortune? Daisy had a child and had moved on with her life when Gatsby came back into it. She wasn’t going to destroy all that as much as she wanted to indulge the fantasy. That’s what makes the shirt scene so poignant.

That’s my interpretation anyway. I don’t think we will come to agree on it. Daisy is a really polarising character, as are many of the women in Gatsby’s novels.

ETA: I wouldn’t want to be Daisy’s friend. I acknowledge she’s an awful person, or has become an awful person, but I can also see what was taken away from them and that there was something beautiful there for a time.

Edited by ERipley, 09 July 2019 - 03:15 PM.


#39 Lyra

Posted 09 July 2019 - 03:22 PM

What his face from A Catcher In The Rye. He annoyed the hell out of me.

I'm sure there are others

Oh, yes, I'm reading The Expanse novels at the moment and Alex is annoying. I want everyone else to live and for him to die. Soon, preferably.

#40 Lucrezia Bauble

Posted 09 July 2019 - 03:24 PM

Holden Caulfield? i didn’t mind him, in that, i thought it was a sympathetic portrayal from Salinger of a kid going through a nervous breakdown. but yeh...he would have been tricky to know irl.


#41 Lyra

Posted 09 July 2019 - 03:30 PM

View PostLucrezia Borgia, on 09 July 2019 - 03:24 PM, said:

Holden Caulfield? i didn’t mind him, in that, i thought it was a sympathetic portrayal from Salinger of a kid going through a nervous breakdown. but yeh...he would have been tricky to know irl.

Yep, that's him! He just came across as an entitled whinger TBH

#42 ERipley

Posted 09 July 2019 - 03:35 PM

I wonder if liking Holden Caulfield is dependant on how old you are when you read the book? I think I was about 24 so I enjoyed it but I can see how people would find him annoying. As a teenager I think I would have loved it.

#43 ERipley

Posted 09 July 2019 - 03:41 PM

View PostERipley, on 09 July 2019 - 03:11 PM, said:



I always see it as Fitzgerald imagining if Zelda hadn’t taken that chance on him. Zelda turned him down so many times because he couldn’t support them financially, even though she absolutely adored him and fell in love with him instantly. Then she took the chance and he had to write to make his fortune. What if Daisy married Gatsby years ago and was with him when he made his fortune? Daisy had a child and had moved on with her life when Gatsby came back into it. She wasn’t going to destroy all that as much as she wanted to indulge the fantasy. That’s what makes the shirt scene so poignant.

That’s my interpretation anyway. I don’t think we will come to agree on it. Daisy is a really polarising character, as are many of the women in Gatsby’s novels.

ETA: I wouldn’t want to be Daisy’s friend. I acknowledge she’s an awful person, or has become an awful person, but I can also see what was taken away from them and that there was something beautiful there for a time.

***SPOILERS***

And now I’m thinking about it, things probably would have gone much better for Zelda had she married a Tom Buchanan. She ended up having the tragic early death like Gatsby. But then so did F Scott I suppose. Beautiful and damned.

#44 ceeshell

Posted 09 July 2019 - 04:32 PM

Every single character in The Slap.
I was amazed by how much I hated them.

#45 steppy

Posted 09 July 2019 - 04:39 PM

I didn't like Rochester in Jane Eyre. She was definitely too good for him.

Oh and how about Ashley in Gone with the Wind. What a spineless prat.

#46 Lucrezia Bauble

Posted 09 July 2019 - 04:43 PM

View Poststeppy, on 09 July 2019 - 04:39 PM, said:

I didn't like Rochester in Jane Eyre. She was definitely too good for him.

Oh and how about Ashley in Gone with the Wind. What a spineless prat.

i shouldn’t really comment, as i’ve only seen the movie (attempted the book but it defeated me) but - if the movie was accurate then yeh...completely spineless.

same with Little Women - john ****ing Wilkes was awful and so mean to Meg, but Laurie was a drip too.


#47 RichardParker

Posted 09 July 2019 - 04:51 PM

View PostERipley, on 09 July 2019 - 02:50 PM, said:

Another character I used to hate is Daisy from The Great Gatsby. Then I reread the book and saw her in the context of that time and society and I can see her from the perspective of Gatsby, or Fitzgerald (assuming she’s a stand-in for Zelda). The beautiful shirts scene still melts my heart.

I’ve read (studied) that book and seen BOTH movies and I still don’t get WTF it’s about. Class/wealth/New money?  Americans are weird.

#48 RichardParker

Posted 09 July 2019 - 04:53 PM

View PostLucrezia Borgia, on 09 July 2019 - 01:59 PM, said:

maybe that’s the appeal of these books...they accurately depict the fact that we are essentially all awful, egotistical, selfish beings..but we fall in love with each other regardless....
And the four main characters of Seinfeld. Horrible, horrible people that I love.

#49 somila

Posted 09 July 2019 - 04:58 PM

I love the way TV version of Lost in Austen, made Wickham so genuinely likeable.

(Ha - US autocorrect wants him to be likable!)

#50 Lucrezia Bauble

Posted 09 July 2019 - 05:15 PM

View PostRichardParker, on 09 July 2019 - 04:51 PM, said:



I’ve read (studied) that book and seen BOTH movies and I still don’t get WTF it’s about. Class/wealth/New money?  Americans are weird.

they are.

wealth maybe? society? the vacuousness of it?

this quote always sticks with me-

“There was a machine in the kitchen which could extract the juice of two hundred oranges in half an hour, if a little button was pressed two hundred times by a butler’s thumb.”

brings to mind the other quote (not Fitzgerald’s) “ when people say that everything they’ve got they got through hard work,  i say “whose?”

Edited by Lucrezia Borgia, 09 July 2019 - 05:16 PM.





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