Saturday, 26 November 2016

If I were to describe myself with three fictional characters, who would they be?

This is a question that was posed by goodreads on twitter a couple of months ago. The first name that came to mind was Elinor Dashwood from Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility. The second to follow almost immediately was Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series. It took me a long while to figure out who the third one would be. I have to admit to scoring through the 'my books' pages for inspiration when my eye fell upon The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. Ferdinand the Bull is so very me! And the more I think about it the more I identify with Ferdinand of the three fictional characters that describe me. How? I'm going to spend the next few minutes enjoying dissecting these characters in relation to my character.

Like Elinor Dashwood I value common sense
and am quite practical in my approach
to things.
The first on the list is a character I quite admire for her common sense. I am like Elinor Dashwood in that I am very practical in my nature and outlook. Sentiment very rarely plays a part in decision-making. This is, not to say, that I have no sensibility at all. Merely that I am able to look at things objectively and not let them get to me. I do not look for meanings behind things and words that aren't meant to be there. It makes no sense to read between the lines when there were not any lines to be read in-between in the first place! 

Just to make it a little clearer, I shall take a bookish example. I have a rather analytical mind that takes much pleasure in gleaning things out that do not easily settle on the surface. However, I am not curious by nature. So, when I sense that things are meant to be a certain way I don't go looking for alternatives because it just becomes a superfluous task. So, taking the example of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, many have studied it, looking for religious undertones and parallelisms in connection real world scenarios and politics. I find these studies quite pointless when the author himself has so explicitly and clearly stated that his work was never meant to be allegorical or didactic in any way. It was meant for pure entertainment. As a person writing a story it would be only natural that his story and writing would be greatly influenced by his personal background and experiences. Therefore, I wouldn't bother trying to read anything beyond what Tolkien had meant for his readers to experience. Again, this is not to say that I don't see the influences and parallelisms because my trained analytical mind cannot help it. However, I don't waste my time dwelling upon it. On the other hand, give me a piece heavy with allusions, allegory and what have you, I will have a wonderful time dissecting it until there is nothing left. I get my kicks out of it. 

But the long and short of it is that, like Elinor, I am able to view things objectively enough to understand what the opposite party is actually saying or not saying. Enough so I very rarely take offence at anything that is said to me, and I can think fairly clearly, even when I am personally affected by something. However, unlike Elinor, I am not the sort of person to hold back and to keep things hidden. For the most part, I am an open book. 

Like Hermione Granger I am a stickler for rules, love responsibility,
am cautious, hate getting into trouble, and stand up for those
who find it difficult to speak for themselves.
Speaking of books, that is not the exact reason why I identify with Hermione Granger. If the bookworm aspect was the only reason I chose her, I could have chosen any number of other characters. However, Hermione Granger and I have something else in common -- our cautious natures that absolutely dislike breaking the rules and getting into trouble. I believe that rules are there for a purpose. Breaking the rules often leaves a precedent for something more unsavoury. I also hate getting into trouble. I have also seen myself as a leader right from the time I was a little girl bossing over the tough guys in class. And much like Hermione and the elves I have been something of a champion for those unable to defend themselves. 

I recall, back when I was a little girl dressed in smocking frocks, cycling around the neighbourhood with my little sister and cousins. I was always the voice of reason and caution. My older cousin led us all right into trouble (she was the insanely adventurous one and my little sister was her side-kick), and I would have to be the one who hauled us all back out of it with a sound, "I told you so! and I don't know why I am wasting my time with you!" I sound like quite the wet blanket, don't I? I pretty much do the same even now, though I have learnt to hold my tongue about the 'I told you so' part! 

I was also the girl mammas trusted their little girls with. Back in school (I studied in an all-girls convent for most of my school-going years), when any gang of friends wanted to go out mothers wouldn't think twice about saying yes if they knew I was tagging along too. It got to a point when I was invited because others wouldn't be allowed unless I was in. It, quite naturally, annoyed me. I told them I was not a chaperone, and I preferred spending my free time reading a good book or talking books and music with a good friend, thank you very much! Much like Hermione! 

Like Ferdinand the Bull I love silence and my own company,
I have a great deal of patience until I am stung, then
I have a temper to put fear in the hearts of all who behold me!
However, I really am a person who enjoys her own company, just like Ferdinand the Bull. He is a kindred spirit, is Ferdinand. All he loved to do all day was sit under his favourite tree in the meadow and smell the flowers. I could do it too. Spend the whole day smelling the salty sea air, or the freshly wet earth after a sudden shower of rain, or the crisp scent of new paper, or the musty one of yellowed pages, anything really that can send my senses into overdrive. I could sit curled up on a chair with a book, or a paper and pen, or a running programme or simply just sit and dream, and not pine for company at all. I appreciate the silence. 

Every now and then a fly could buzz by and I would gaze at it in a daze and swish it away with a nonchalant hand. (Ferdinand would do so gracefully with his tail.) But a sudden bee sting can make me a raging bull and have fascinated people hustling me into an arena, and like Ferdinand I could stand there wondering,"eh!?" And then I would see a book, and dash over to wonder and gasp and exclaim and settle down for a read, with an entire arena going wild with bewildered fury. They would ship me right back home then, where I could sit under my favourite tree in the meadow smelling the flowers. A cow would join me then, sitting gently beside me and smelling the flowers; and after we had smelt the flowers together for days on end, I would turn to gaze upon her and smell the flowers on her. And she would look at me with a lazy smile, and we would smell the flowers together forever. (By the way, the cow is my husband. We are one heck of a laid-back couple; it is often cause for a good laugh among family and friends.)

And so there we have it; three fictional characters that describe me. What are the three fictional characters you would say defines you? 


  1. Hmmm. I would probably say you could define me really well with a combo of Anne Elliot from Persuasion, Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings, and Dr. Watson from the Sherlock Holmes canon.

    1. That sounds interesting...the quiet voice of conscience?


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