Much like what Hogwarts house we belong in, our favorite book characters say a lot about who we are as a person. If your favorite character is Jane Eyre, you're a down-to-earth but passionate person with a strong moral code. If your favorite character is Tom Sawyer, you're a plucky adventurer with a big imagination. If your favorite character is Humbert Humbert... maybe rethink your favorite character.
The point is, we tend to choose favorite characters either because we identify with them, or because we'd like to be more like them. Actually, probably a little bit of both. I think this idea becomes more apparent when you look at the characters of one particular author. Take, for example, Jane Austen. Her heroines are all original; there isn't a stand-in for Emma Woodhouse or Fanny Price in each of her novels. So, when we read a bunch of her novels and find ourselves relating deeply to one heroine over the others, it gives us a pretty good idea of how we see ourselves, or how we'd like others to see us.
My favorite Austen heroines are Emma Woodhouse and Elizabeth Bennet, because I'm a control freak who likes to believe that she's pretty witty. See? It works! While obviously knowing your favorite Austen heroine doesn't exactly replace an in-depth analysis of your personality, I think it at least gives you a pretty decent idea of the type of person you are (or would like to be).
1. Emma Woodhouse
Let's not beat around the bush: you're a little bit of a control freak. You think you know what's best for you, your family, and your friends, and you're determined to help them live their best possible lives. It's sweet, in a way: you have a good heart and are honestly trying to do right by the people you love. However, maybe you should stop and consider the idea that you might not know what's best for everyone. Plus, if you stop being so worried about everyone else, you may be able to focus on the things in your life that could use some improving (not saying it's your love life, but do you have any handsome family friends hanging around by any chance?).
2. Elizabeth Bennet
There's a reason Lizzie is the poster child for strong-willed, witty girls everywhere. If you identify with the Pride and Prejudice heroine, you're loyal even to your most embarrassing friends and family, more than a bit stubborn, and always manage to salvage a situation with some well-timed humor. You're confident in yourself and don't conform to the whims of those around you. Careful, though: you can be too proud at times, and that pride may be stopping you from finding happiness in all parts of your life. Keep an open mind about people, but never settle for less than what you want (especially if the situation involves a blow-hard clergyman).
3. Marianne Dashwood
You could probably do with a bit more sense (sorry, tough love), but your spirited and passionate nature always seems to win you friends and admirers. While you have a good heart, you would do well to remember that not everyone who shares your zest for life also has such a good character. Sometimes you may find yourself drawn to people who seem to have a lot in common with you, only to find out that they're unscrupulous and can't be trusted. It's ok to involve yourself (either romantically or platonically) with those who may at first seem a bit too stodgy; often, their personality might be the balance you so desperately need.
4. Elinor Dashwood
You most definitely do not lack sense. In fact, you are probably the most sensible person that you know. That doesn't mean that you're cold or lack passion, however; you simply have a strong sense of propriety and are unwilling to show a lot of emotion in front of others, especially if you think it will upset them. You stick to your convictions, and you admire people who stick to theirs as well, even if those convictions get in the way of your own happiness. Don't worry, though: your strong moral code will definitely attract the like-minded who will love you for this exact reason.
5. Fanny Price
She may not be the flashiest or most romantic Austen heroine, but if you identified most with Fanny than allow me to congratulate you on your very good sense. I mean that literally: you're aligning yourself with a character who's known for her steadfast nature, her morality, and for having a good head on her shoulders. It might not sound very exciting, but this ability to remain stoic in the face of adversity and a refusal to compromise your morals for something like a wealthy marriage are much more admiral than the flights of fancy of some of Austen's sillier characters. So be proud if you're a Fanny at heart!
6. Anne Elliot
You might surround yourself with self-obsessed people, but you're extremely grounded and always willing to put others first. While your selflessness is admirable, don't be afraid to think about yourself and focus on your own needs every once in awhile. More importantly, make sure you trust your gut, even if other people seem convinced that you're wrong (especially if it's questionable whether these people have your best interest at heart). While your friends or family may think they know what's best for you, don't be afraid to strike out on your own if you feel passionately about making a life decision they don't agree with.
7. Catherine Morland
You would be hard-pressed to find a reader who didn't see herself at least a bit in bookworm Catherine. While it's totally acceptable to spend part of your life absorbed in your books, you need to watch out that you don't let them take over your life. Especially if they're feeding negatively into your already over-active imagination. You don't have to give up your beloved stories, just remember to separate fantasy from reality. Oh, and don't accuse your crush's father of murdering his dead wife. He probably won't take that well.
Beginning on August 1, Bustle will host Romance Novel Month, a celebration and examination of the romance novel genre. But don't worry, romance readers: the coverage won't end in August. We're proud to support romance novels, and we will continue to do so all year long.
Images: Columbia Pictures