Despite the piles of snow yet to melt outside my window, despite the third straight day of rain and overcast skies, it's official: I have spring fever. I packed away my winter boots, opened the blinds and shook out the rugs, went shopping for sun dresses, and picked out my next book in honor of the season.
Spring has sprung, the birds are chirping, and April showers will bring May flowers... or in this case, an eclectic bouquet of literary characters who are named after blossoms. That's right, you just finished your spring break beach read, so why not look to the ladies of literature to keep your spirits in bloom? Across lit, from the honorable heroines to the most wicked of women, characters are named after beautiful flowers. But hold up! Not all of them are as delicate as their names would suggest.
A character's name can say a lot about her, and naming can be tricky business. The moniker has to fit the time period and genre of a book, and it should be something memorable. It can reveal something about the character's personality or lifestyle. Because flowers themselves already have symbolic meanings that we associate them with — lilies remind us of death, carnations are a symbol of friendship, roses invoke feelings of love, for instance — a character named after a flower is often associated with those meanings, too. Flowers are dainty and beautiful, even frail, but does that mean that the characters that share their names are innocent and dainty? Based on the list below, there are plenty of times where this is not the case.
From the delicate to the badass to everything in between, here is a bouquet of flowers for the literary lovers out there in need of a spring pick-me-up.
Viola in Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
The name Viola is Greek for violet, a purplish flower with heart-shaped petals. She adds a touch of spunk and flare to this floral arrangement. She's not afraid to break gender roles, is fiercely loyal to her brother, and she is a survivor.
Chrysanthemum in Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Say it with me, Chry-san-the-mum. This unique and beautiful flower might not seem so strange now that people name their babies Hershey and Audi, but iconic children's character certainly has a thing or two to teach you about loving yourself, weirdness and all.
Lily Owens in The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Maybe one of the most appropriately named ladies on the list, Lily has had to deal with a lifetime of mourning after losing her mother at a young age, but her strength and perseverance prove that she's anything but fragile like a flower.
Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
No bouquet, or listicle for that matter, is complete without Katniss. Named after an aquatic plant that is both beautiful and edible, Katniss does well to represent both the alluring and the helpful sides of her moniker.
Rosa Bud in The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens
Sweet and delicate like her epithet, the leading lady from Charles Dickens' unfinished novel is the object of everyone's desire. Like a perfect bloom, everyone wants to pick Rosa Bud.
Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Unlike the sweet, delicate nature that her name would imply, Daisy Buchanan is stone cold. She may be as beautiful as a flower, but similarities start and end right there, friends.
Jasmine in Jasmine by Bharati Mukherjee
I know you were thinking Disney's Jasmine here, but go with me for a moment. Bharati Mukherjee's flower-named character has to start life over when she is widowed at age 17. She moves to another country and reinvents herself, and proves that if the roots are strong enough, a flower can bloom year after year.
Lavender Lewis in Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery
A matronly woman, Lavender is as sweet as the scent of the floral shrub for which she was named. And like her namesake, her love for Mr. Irving was perennial and lasted a lifetime.
Petunia in Petunia by Roger Duvoisin
Funny and silly, Petunia, a classic children's book character, is just as cheerful as a vase of freshly picked flowers.
Primrose Gardener in The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
In true hobbit tradition, Sam and his true love, Rosie, named many of their 13 children after flowers and plants. Her sisters Rose, Daisy, and Elanor shared floral names, as well.
Ivy Lexton in The Story of Ivy by Marie Belloc Lowndes
Lusty and sex craved, Ivy creeped into the life of not one, not two, but three different men. Bored with her marriage and her affair, she tries to get everything she wants with the help of a bit of poison.
OK, so she isn't your favorite character, and maybe she helped He Who Must Not Be Named, and yeah, she was a Death Eater, but what do you expect from someone named after the narcissus flower from Greek mythology? She might be selfish and immoral, but she would do anything to protect her son.