15 New Year’s Resolutions for Literary Heroines, Because Even Book Characters Need to Turn a New Page
It’s a new year. Winter no longer means turkey, Santa, and champagne. Now it means polar vortices, snow tires, and seasonal affective disorder. So why the hell are you supposed to kick all of your nasty little habits now when you need them most? The sun is setting before five and you're wearing long underwear on a daily basis. If you need a stiff drink and box of cookies to help you cope, do what you gotta do.
On the other hand, as anyone who has ever read Oedipus Rex can tell you, our tricky character traits have a way of causing our ultimate doom. I mean poor Oedipus’ only fault was that he could be a little too curious about the causes of plagues. His punishment? No more eyeballs.
If you need further proof that a juice cleanse should not be the top of your resolution priority list, take a look at your favorite books. Would a detox have saved Frankenstein from his monster? Is a new exercise regime really going to turn around Hedda Gabler’s bad mood? Will journaling every day remove the stigma from Hester Prynne’s scarlet A? I don't think so.
Instead, this year why not try a resolution that gets at your tragic flaw, whatever it may be? (Mine is being too cool and awesome all the time.) To get you thinking, here are what some of your favorite heroines might have done, if only they had the option.
Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Be more upbeat.
Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Be really cool. Ha ha. Like I need to try.
Anna Karenina from Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Avoid public transportation.
Holly Go-Lightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
Clarissa Dalloway from Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Grendel’s Mother from Beowulf
This year, I stop being defined by the men in my life. I have my own identity. My name is Bethany. My name is Bethany.
Ifemelu from Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Oh me? To spark a cultural revolution in the United States that tears down its race barrier. What you got?
Lily Bart from The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Find a husband. Find a husband or death. These are my only options.
María from For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
Get the American to stop calling me a rabbit. I'm a guerrilla warrior for crying out loud.
Jing-Mei Woo from The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Yeah, it’s not our New Year. Don’t care.
Juliet from Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Conquer my hormones. I've been acting a little strange lately. Hope I don't do something rash.
Clytemnestra from Agamemnon by Aeschylus
Stop the grudges. Meh, next year.
Esperanza Cordero from The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Write a story that’s longer than five pages.
Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Maybe I shouldn't be racist?