Friday, October 19, 2007

Beauty and heroines

Sometimes an email comes along that makes everything worthwhile. And I have had one such from a man who just made my day.

He begins:

"I have read Havenstar now for the 20th time. This book still manages to surprise me, even shock me and I still cheer for the characters even though I know what will happen. It is by far my favourite book of all time. I only wish it would have been a trilogy, with each book having more than 800 pages. "

How cool is that?

Thank you, Daniel.

He then asks an interesting question, which I thought I would answer here. He was wondering what prompted me to make the heroine rather plain in looks.

And here's my answer.

For a start, not being pretty myself, I have a natural dislike of the idea that someone has to look good in order to be heroine. I don’t think it was a coincidence that my favourite novel when I was about thirteen was Jane Eyre.

Beauty is something we are granted if we happen to be lucky; it’s not something we earn. I wanted to say that other things are much more important: courage, standing up for what you believe is right, loving wholeheartedly and being prepared to make sacrifices for those we love, never giving up even when things look bleak, working hard to achieve a better world, and so on.

Those are the things that made the main character in Havenstar heroic, and in the end, the other characters forgot all about the fact that she was rather mousy and insignificant in appearance – and in fact, I rather think than when Davron Storre looked at Keris, he thought she was beautiful.

And speaking of beauty, here is a sunrise this time, as seen from our accommodation on the island of Banggi, Sabah.

2 comments:

Eliza said...

Hello Glenda. Well said, though I wished you elaborated more. Genes are not distributed fairly, and given the world's obsession with beauty, plain janes are never popular choices for heroines. I loved Jane Eyre too, and for the record, am totally against beauty pageants.

Peter said...

I'm with you Glenda. Most beautiful men and women are feted, adored and coddled for most of their life and don't learn the character building lessons that less than beautiful people experience.
Given a choice between an empty, spoilt beauty and another with the character of Keris, I would prefer the latter every time.
Besides, one of the things I like in a story is an underdog with character prevailing against the odds.