Letting Go of Your Characters
As a writer what is your reason for getting rid of a character and how do you make them exit from the story?
Studying for a degree in English Literature requires enormous amounts of reading. Quite a number of these books have been a pleasure to read, but many of them contain female protagonist who meet a premature death. Most of these books are 19th century literature and the female’s death is the result of not following the feminine rules that men and society imposed upon women. A woman’s place was in the home taking care of the family, husband and entertaining guests. Women were not allowed in the men’s sphere and there were not many options available for education. In the 19th century, it was unheard of for women to be a feminist; this was long before Jane Fonda.
When an author wrote of a strong feminist character that rejected these social conventions there was no place as of yet, for the women to go in the story; she couldn’t go off to work or live on her own because she was dependent on the male in the house for her support and financial means. Writers, both men and women, had no choice, but to let go of some women characters that felt trapped in their feminine roles, thus their premature death. In death, these women found peace, yet the readers grieved for their loss of a character that was just in the wrong story in the wrong century. Had these women characters existed in stories today they would probably be doctors, lawyers and heads of fortune 500 companies or even running for President of the United States.
Here’s a few of the novels that contain female protagonists.
Zofloya by Charlotte Dacre
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
The Awakening by Edith Wharton