Heroes of Austen - Part 3
Today, we discuss the two most intriguing Austen heroes (or literary heroes in general) - The Reformed Rogue and the Anti-Hero.
Let's check them out.
The Reformed Rogue
Here we come to the most swoon-worthy of Austen’s heroes, particularlyPride and Prejudice’s, Fitzwilliam Darcy.
- A reformed rogue is a man who begins the story quite flawed and (usually) aloof. His somewhat serious disposition or reserve is one of his attractions.
- The heroine has a distinct desire to change him or find the ‘softness’ underneath the impenetrable expression.
- He is also a character of massive emotional growth, and usually possesses dry wit to go along with his outlook on the world.
- Though many of the other heroes show change from beginning to end, The Reformed Rogue has a clear character arc – from bad boy to good; from hardened heart to soft, from rogue to…redeemed? all because of love.
Mr. Darcy- is Jane Austen’s most recognized hero. He is the tall, dark, and handsome fellow who sends off the wrong (but oh so interesting) vibes in the beginning and then, as he grows and we see more of his real character, he transforms into the amazing hero we love.
Captain Frederick Wentworth would also fit into this category.
Julie Lessman’s fabulous rogues Cluny (Luke) McGee and Collin McGuire. Whew…
Marc DeHollander from Ruth Logan Herne’s debut Winter’s End
Cassius McLinn from Laura Frantz’s novel The Colonel’s Daughter
John Thornton from North and South
Han Solo from Star Wars
As defined by writersdigest.com: http://www.writersdigest.com/qp7-migration-books/bullies_excerpt
An anti-hero is a protagonist who is as flawed or more flawed than most characters; he is someone who disturbs the reader with his weaknesses yet is sympathetically portrayed, and who magnifies the frailties of humanity.
While an anti-hero cannot slip into a white hat, he will always:
· have the reader’s sympathies, although sometimes his methods will make this difficult.
· have easily identified imperfections.
· be made understandable by the story events, meaning that the reader will come to know his motivations and likely will be privy to his inner demons.
· have a starring role in the story.
THIS is the ultimate play boy, the lady’s man, the rebel. He may exude charm or have a certain dark magnetism, but underneath we discover he can go one of two ways – good or bad, and many times…we’re not quite certain which way that will be. If too the good side, he transforms into a faithful hero. If to the bad? A villain.
John Willoughby - Though I see a little bit of anti-hero in The Reformed Rogue and the Reluctant Hero, Austen portrays the true heart of the Anti-Hero in Sense and Sensibility’s John Willoughby.
- He is the epitome of the Anti-Hero in the fact that we see some true virtues within him, but his self-interests win over his virtue.
- He has a past of poor choices led by selfishness and we get the ‘hint’ that he’s been fairly spoiled throughout his life, but always with the awareness of being a dependent (which can be quite tough on a guy’s self-confidence)
-Unlike Wickham in Pride and Prejudice, Willoughby develops true feelings for Marianne and has every intention to marry her – “had it not been for the money” of which Marianne has almost none.- John Willougby is essential to the plot of Sense and Sensibility and helps Marianne recognize her ‘perfect’ man isn’t realistic, even if Willougby’s first scene is of him riding forward on a white horse, no less :-)
Some popular Anti-Heroes are:
Artemis Fowl – (my 15 year old thought of this one)
Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby
Severus Snape from Harry Potter
Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre
Have you ever written an Anti-Hero? I bet you can think of a few Reformed Rogues ;-) Hollywood is great at portraying them for the swoon-value. Are you writing one in your novels?