Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Oh Dear, Oh Dear!

Favorites again.

Let me tell you about a play I saw the other night. It's called A Marriage Minuet, and one of the characters in it is a college English professor. We see him lecturing to his classes (looking at the audience as if we are his students) and singling out one student, whose name is Cohen-Reinhart or something like that, and who he refers to as a "hyphenate" to his wife.

But I digress.

He's talking to this student and he says something to the effect of: "Favorite authors? Favorite? Favorite is something that should be reserved for ice cream flavors, not for the heights of mythical proportion to which authors aspire and have, over the centuries, the eons, reached." Okay, I'm paraphrasing in the extreme because I wasn't exactly taking notes. My point is that choosing favorites is simply inappropriate when it comes to the breadth and depth of literature and commercial fiction.

Which is to say. . .favorite heroine? Oh, puh. . . lease!

I love every heroine who's ever said something smart, sassy, sharp. I love every heroine who has said something touching, deep, true. I love my heroines because they reflect the best parts of me, and they overcome the flaws and weaknesses I find in myself.

I love the very idea of a heroine...not a main character, not a point of view character, but a true heroine. According to Wikipedia, which I realize is not any authority, but I love the way they put this, a heroine is: From the Greek ἣρως, in mythology and folklore, a hero (male) or heroine (female) are characters that in the face of danger and adversity, from a position of weakness display courage and the will for self-sacrifice, that is, heroism, for some greater good, originally of martial courage or excellence but extended to more general moral excellence.

Any woman who manages this in a book is my favorite, and any author that manages to make it believable is my heroine!

Stevi Mittman


Virginia said...

Well Stivi, I have never quite looked at a hero or heroine quite like that. If someone can place them in a book under those terms I really want to read that book. It should be good.

Cherie J said...

Sounds like everyone's ideal heroine or hero.

Carol said...

I have to agree with you on that!