Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Favorite Subject: Things I Hate!

Soooo it's Top Ten Tuesday over at The Broke and the Bookish, and this week I'm participating because the topic is: Top Ten Literary Characters You Find Most Dislikable. There's no lack of annoying (especially to me, who finds almost everything annoying, all the time) characters out there, so picking ten will be a bit of a stretch. Here we go:

1. Fanny from Mansfield Park. Someone buy this woman a margarita and some red panties. Oh, and backbone. That would be nice. I want to see Lizzie mud-wrestle Fanny. In fact, I want anyone to mud-wrestle Fanny. It's hard to want her to end up with her love interest because (heishercousingross) she is such a bleh.

2. Beloved from Beloved. Are you a ghost? Are you an escaped slave? Are you some crazy crack ho Oprah found on the side of the road? WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN THIS BOOK?

3. Vronsky from Anna Karenina. This guy is totally metrosexual. He spends how many pages thinking about his teeth? In my book, he is less likeable than Anna because at least Anna succeeds in doing what they both should have done on page one.

4. Ashley from Gone With the Wind. Oh I love you Scarlet, no I can't love you Scarlet, but I love you Scarlet, but the SOUTH and my WIFE but you're so hot but would you like to hear another speech about how you're so hot but the SOUTH and my WIFE? No? TOO BAD! Blah blah blah..

5. Rosamond from Middlemarch. She's a middle class climber who is, actually, stupid. Stupid and selfish and systematically destroys her husband's soul so she can have nice china wear. I'm all for equal rights and whatnot, but this character literally cares about nothing but herself. And aforementioned china wear.

6. Amy March from  Little Women. She's just a snot nosed little brat who needs a whipping, as my mother would say. And I would agree.

7. Lady Chatterley in Lady Chatterley's Lover. A woman gets bored because her wounded war hero husband is now paralyzed, so she can't get any. She then sleeps with the groundskeeper and tries to pretend like she loves him, when in reality, she just wants to get some. So basically, her entire life as a character consists of finding fulfillment through a man. OH and it's un-sexy.

8. Skimpole in Bleak House. A friend of one of the main characters who mooches off everyone to avoid debtor's prison, including poor wards of the state. He never works and proclaims it is because he is simply a child and can't be expected to take on any responsibility in life. He also has a wife and children, and drives one of the characters to his doom. He's pretty much evil disguised as innocence, but not in a smart/fun way.

9. Everyone in Wuthering Heights. It was really hard for me to finish this book. I went in expecting one of the greatest love stories ever, and what I got was a cast of bat-shit crazy weirdos, one of whom may or may not have some necrophiliac tendencies. I did like the maid, though. She was..sane.

10. Mrs. Danvers in Rebecca. She's the only real villain I have on here, because for the most part, villains are at least interesting enough to make you care. But this lady is SO villainous and SO creepy, you just sort of hate her. Like visceral, punch-her-in-the-face hate her.

Sooo those are my least likable literary characters. I purposefully left off Holden because I've already spewed venom about his over-use of the word "phony." At any rate, I'm almost done with Swann's Way AND Shakespeare's Sonnets. I WILL review the sonnets, because I'm an audacious little ninny.

Anyway, do you love these characters? Have I stepped on your heart's toes? Do tell.


  1. I have to say I found Anna worse than Vronsky. The whole time I read that book, I couldn't wait for her to kill herself. Like Madame Bovary. Groan.

  2. I also can't stand Ashley Wilkes. He's so...argh-inducing. I think I dislike him more than Scarlett herself.
    Also Mrs Danvers is simply horrible. Rebecca is one of my favourite novels, and I cannot stand Danvers. But then the unnamed narrator grates on me as well.
    And whilst I love Wuthering Heights, I would agree that none of the characters are particulary sympathetic in any way. I expected Heathcliff to be some wonderful romantic the way people talk about the book, and as far as I'm concerned he's more than a little creepy.

    As a side-note I occasionally find that I love characters and hate books-I love Lizzie Bennet but really really dislike Pride & Prejudice.

  3. I'm glad I'm not the only one who didn't like Amy March! I loved all the other sisters but she was one that I'd like to have ripped her perfect little hair out!

  4. Another great post. You're my favorite book blogger by far. Love your sense of humor.
    I didn't understand or like Beloved either, and I've been scared away from "The Bluest Eye." I've also never been tempted to pick up any of the Bronte sisters' novels, probably because my favorite English teacher hated them. Right now it seems that Charlotte and "Jane Eyre" are seeing a revival of interest, riding on the back it seems of the Jane Austen wave, and perhaps I'll pick up that book someday, but I'll be sure to avoid Emily and "Wuthering Heights."

  5. Amy March IS a little brat... agreed!

  6. Man, I tried bookmooching Little Women, but the person didn't respond and so I cancelled it. I want to read it... (FRIENDS!)

    I've got Wuthering Heights. Haven't read it yet, but it's great to know that the book is full of weirdos. My kind of book! ... :\

  7. Totally with you on Fanny; she's such a bore. I must be the only person in the world who didn't hate Wuthering Heights though. I didn't love it or anything, and I barely remember it, but don't recall loathing the book...

    The rest I have not read, sadly. But I do really like that you avoided villains--a trap I'd probably fall into with this list.

  8. I forgot about "Rebecca"! I hated Danvers too.

  9. I hate Amy, everyone in Wuthering Heights, Mrs Danvers and Ashley.

    I love Lady Chatterly though. I say good on her for going out there and getting herself well and truly.... well. For satisfying her needs should we say. I must have a dirty mind.

  10. PS and off topic: Just got this in my google reader, and thought of you of course. So pretty!

  11. Amanda- Oh, I forgot about Madame Bovary! She's right up there with other Selfish Literary Ninnies.

    Amy- That's funny, I can like a book and hate the main! I loved Mansfield Park, but I think I just..focused on everyone other than Fanny.

    Jamie- Right? How she ends up with Teddy I have NO IDEA.

    Isaac- Oh man, I heart Jane Eyre with a passion of a thousand fiery suns. Personally, I'm more into Charlotte Bronte than Jane Austen, and I could leave the other Bronte sisters.

    Kate- Even in the movie. RUINED La Dunst for me.

    Cass- If you're a fan of the weird-ys, you will love Wuthering Heights. The characters are SO over the top.

    Catherine- Yeah, man. Villains keep things interesting- you can't always hate them! And those book covers are AMAZING. I wonder what she could come up with for Virginia Woolf? Something very English and flower gardeny?

    Tahleen- Have you seen the movie? It's perfection.

    Becky- Haha! Woah for the dirty mind first thing in the morning!

  12. Oh, Amy March! To this day, when I watch the Winona Ryder film version of Little Women I shout at the TV for her to leave awful Amy to drown in Walden Pond. I would seriously have killed a sibling that awful.

  13. I was shocked when I found out that my mother had read "Lady Chatterly's Lover" when she was a teenager on a road trip with my very religious and conservative grandmother, who knew nothing about the book. My mom herself is rather straight-laced now, so it's really amusing-yet-unsettling to think of her reading subversive literature as a teen.

  14. I'm another one in the I Hate Fanny Price camp. "We're going to put on a play? Oh noes! We can't have boys & girls on stage together! The scandal!" She does need to get a few drinks in her.

  15. Ashley Wilkes and Amy Marsh are two characters I'd dearly love to slap upside the head.

    And Lady Chatterly's Lover was such a disappointment. I was expecting hot and steamy. Instead, I got tepid.

  16. Your no. 3 is hilarious. How I wanted to push Vronsky in front of the Kansas City Zephyr.

  17. I agree with you on Ashley Wilkes. I also agree that everyone in Wuthering Heights was completely insane, but that was one of my favorite parts of the book. It was one of those situations where you couldn't look away because it was so horrible.

    Great post!

  18. I love your blog & I love this particular post on your blog. You are too funny! I am having difficulty coming up with my list....I then to shove the characters I dislike off to a corner and forget about them. Gonna have to think a bit.

  19. I think I'm the only one who didn't find Fanny Price to be prim and simpering (does that mean I myself am prim and simpering?) though she wasn't my favorite character.

    Mrs. Danvers....seriously disturbing lady.

  20. Hahaha. I like what you said about Beloved and Vronsky. Seriously ... how many time did we hear about his perfect teeth? He bugged me too. Anna K is one of my fav books though. Maybe partly because I'm in love with Levin.

  21. I found this on the Penguin blog today and thought of your post:

  22. You are so right about Ashley! He's just got no backbone, not very charming. I always wondered what Scarlett saw in him.
    I couldn't get over my annoyance with Anna enough to care about Vronsky.

  23. Yeah, Wuthering Heights was no love story...I couldn't find a single character in there I really liked! All the characters were so self-absorbed and vindictive.

    A Tapestry of Words

  24. Excellent choices! I especially echo your sentiments about everyone in Wuthering Heights.

  25. lol @ Fanny and Ashley. God, Fanny made that book so boooring. I mean, I can sympathize with her as far as her situation and her stupid cousins went, but Jesus woman, speak up for yourself. She was just so content to be manhandled by everyone it was hard to feel sorry for her for very long.

  26. I totally agree, especially about Fanny and Amy. I have yet to read Bleak House, but I own it--I'll have to see what I think about Skimpole.

  27. I hated Amy March. When she ended up with Laurie, it made me hate her all the more.

    Regarding Vronsky, I felt cheated that I didn't get to see him die, too. They should have let him kill himself.

  28. Ack! I wrote out a whole comment but it was spoiled by Word Verification! Here's to trying to re-create at least some of it...

    Basically, I laughed at Vronsky (Anna Karenina was severely bashed on Twitter a few moments ago) and the cast of WH being included. Agree with Fanny Price, though I did love the movie (because they totally change her character and a lot of the story). Oh and Ashley, be a MAN.

  29. Oooh this is fun!

    Scarlet O'Hara what a capricious bint.

    Uriah Heep - is a creep

    Willy Loman - dude that was a wasted suicide!

    The girls in The Crucible - way to cry wolf dearies.

    Mrs Chatterly - she's a freak with a beak!

  30. Amen and hallelujah to the Fanny from Mansfield Park shout out! I am also on your side about Ashley Wilkes (please! what a wimp!) and Amy March (though I suppose I could forgive her a little bit since she was Jo's little sister...okay, nah). Great list! I do like Mrs. Danvers, though. Creepy, creepy...just right.

  31. Another great post -- sadly I have not read some of these (yet) but now I know what to look out for.

    I found "Marcel" in Proust's Remembrance of Things Past unbelievably annoying.

  32. Hi! I just discovered your blog, and have been laughing out loud at your posts (in a nice way). Regarding your list, I agree with Amy, Fanny, Ashley and the b@%!$ from Middlemarch (who I wanted to slap silly). Is it weird, though, that I didn't like the characters in Wuthering Heights, but I liked the book?

    Anyway, I know you have this already, but I still thought to give you this award.

  33. I also hated Wuthering Heights. This winter the movie was on and I was like welll maybe the movie will make me like it. POKE ME IN THE EYEBALLS. HORRIBLE.

  34. Now you've got me REALLY mad!! LOL. Poor Fanny. Here is my defence.

    Here is this young and poor cousin who is suddenly deposited in the rich relation's house and treated by pretty well all, except Edmund, as the poor relation. And yet, she has the strength - no, she's not wimpy - to stand up to the rest to say "we should not do the play". Forget about our 21st century reaction to this and think about the time - an engaged young woman playing a compromising role in a theatrical, not with a brother but with a "stranger". To us it's silly but in that time this behaviour symbolised the moral corruption rife in the upper class of the time. That I think is Austen's point - Mansfield Park, representing the upper crust - is morally in trouble.

    And then, think about this young woman who stands up to her wealthy powerful uncle and says "I will not marry Henry" and is so determined not to marry for money she'd rather accept being sent back to poverty in Portsmouth. That to me is not wimpy but strength of character.

    I think Fanny is a wonderful and complex creation of Austen's and gives us a lot to think about! I don't love her the way I love some of the others but I empathise with her predicament, and rather admire her. Wouldn't YOU admire anyone who can be as patient with Lady B as she is?? LOL

    BTW I rather agree with you re Amy and I really have no desire to read Wuthering Heights again though I did love it in my romantic teens!

  35. Nodding my head in agreement - especially at #9 (it's the freshest in my mind). Why are there NO redeeming characters in Wuthering Heights???

  36. Thank you thank you for mentioning Wuthering Heights! Everyone is weird and incestuous. ick.

  37. I love Beloved, it's one of my all-time favorites. But seriously, Jane Doe, you are funny. Your comment #2 is cracking me up. I, however, agree with you about Wuthering Heights. Wonderful commentary.

  38. Having just read The Thirteenth Tale, I would put the protagonist, Margaret Lea, on the list. What a simp!

  39. You are too funny! Loved this post. Wish I had time to pull my list together. There are too many to count!

  40. Have you seen Mansfield Park, the movie? I love Fanny Price in it.

    And uh, thank you for making me laugh on this bleak, bleak morning. Freaking brilliant. I hated Wuthering Heights, too. Ugh.

    I also agree with the others with the exception of Beloved/Toni Morrison, but I'll forgive you because you made me almost pee on myself laughing so hard.

  41. Just saw you on Twitter and wondered why I hadn't seen your blog yet since these are some of my fave books/authors. I read Poe every week last year!

    Oh, I hate Skimpole! He's such a bad person.

  42. Great list! Especially the part about Wuthering Heights, which is one of my most hated books (so WHY does everyone have to read this horrid book in school?)

    I'm halfway through Middlemarch and I'm not sure I'm with you on Rosamund. But I can tell from your comment there is worse to come. I am loving that book!

  43. I'm familiar with the Wuthering Heights characters, Fanny, Ashley and Amy from your list. Wuthering Heights will always be a classic because it brings out the worst of everyone in it. I also disliked Fanny, perhaps it's because she's the sort of person I don't want to see my own faults in. Ashley always frustrated me with his indecisiveness and leading Scarlett on so much when he should have been honest right from the beginning and stayed by his wife like he knew he always would anyway.
    On Amy, I don't particularly like her but she was so successful at being perfectly bratty and selfish so that makes her a stand-out character in her own right. She reminds me of popular girls from high school where you don't really know what is going on inside for real because they just seem bratty. So, can you ever really know them?

  44. Oh, my dear, get over Fanny! In fact, keep reading "Mansfield Park" and you'll finally come to get her in the way that Austen wanted you to. It was clearly her most complex novel, and she knew that Fanny was ambiguous. She's deep, a lot deeper than most people give her credit for. I think "Mansfield Park" is a novel that comes into its own after the third or fourth read though.

    I'd add Alec d'Urberville and Angel Clare from "Tess of the d'Urbervilles; and Tom Tulliver of "The Mill of the Floss" to your list too. They are just plain BAD.

    Great posting!

    Cheers! Chris

  45. (Gosh, you're hilarious...)

    I see this is mostly about classics so I'm going with Mrs.Bennet, she's so silly and annoying faking all those headaches, faints and other things alike, just so everyone will do what she wants. Also, she is mortifying beyond belief and too loud (weird thing for me to say about a fictional character from a book, but hey...).

    I also can't stand the couple from The Woman in White, Laura Fairlie and Walter Hartright. Mostly because I think I would have enjoyed this book if only they weren't in it. Why? Well, they basically spend the whole book whining and feeling sorry for themselves instead of doing something - just elope already! But of course they're too boring to come up with something like that.

    Oh, I can't leave without standing up for Hareton(I love that character, don't know exactly why, but I'm sure it has something to do with me picturing him being hot, all that farm work must keep him fit), come on.. he was a bit sane too! He was just a scared puppy because of that nasty Heathcliff!


  46. I agree with all that you've said here. I especially cannot stand any of the characters in Wuthering Heights. They're all nuts.

    Also, any character in a Hemingway novel. Simply because it's Hemingway *gags*

  47. I couldn't agree more about Rosamond...she'd have to be on my top-ten-unlikable-characters list, too. I can't stand her, and I'm not sure that I know of any other reader who can. She only manages to make an already long book seem even longer.

  48. My list is so similar to yours, it's kind of freaky. The only ones I'm not sure I agree with you on are #5, 7, 8, and 10, simply because I haven't read those books yet.