Five Powerful Women Characters from Novels

Updated on September 28, 2018

Women of Strength

The great leader Mahatma Gandhi once remarked:

"Strength does not come from physical capacity, it comes from an indomitable will."

These are fictional women characters who are very inspiring and display the quality of indomitable will that Gandhi describes: Jane Eyre, Hester Prynne, Elizabeth Bennet, Tess, and Katniss Everdeen. Each of these women are "women of strength." Their strong wills and brave spirits help them achieve the impossible, even in passive circumstances. They are fighters and survivors. Their actions are full of decisiveness and their undeterred strength of character makes them powerful enough to be the cause of change.

1. Jane Eyre by Chrarlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre, written by Chrarlotte Bronte, was published in 1847. It is the story of the struggles and experiences of the novel's protagonist, Jane Eyre. The story chronicles her growth to adulthood and independence. The focus is always on the gradual unfolding of her emotional, moral, and spiritual sensibility. The novel also deals with intensity of her (problematic) love for Mr. Rochester.

At the beginning of novel, Jane is an orphan; an isolated and powerless ten-year-old girl. She lives with an aunt and cousin who dislike her. As the novel progresses, she grows in strength and ability. She distinguishes herself at Lowood School with her hard work, respectful manners, and great intellectual abilities. later on she accepts a job as governess at Thornfield. It is here that she falls in love with her employer, Edward Rochester.

Drama unfolds with the knowledge that Mr. Rochester is already married. Feeling hurt and deceived, Jane runs away and goes to Marsh End, where she gradually comes emerges from her pain and regains her spiritual focus. during this period she discovers her own strength. By novel's end she has become a powerful, independent woman.

2. Hester Prynne

The Scarlet Letter is great novel written by Nathaniel Hawthrone. Hester Prynne is the protagonist of this novel. The story depicts the journey of her growth and change, and how she leads herself to triumphant awesomeness from a life of shame.

Throughout the story, it's hard not to wonder, "what is the source of this strength?" At the beginning of the novel, Hester determines that she must "sustain and carry" her burden forward "by the ordinary resources of her nature, or sink with it. She could no longer borrow from the future to help her through the present."

She feels alone and has nothing but her strength of spirit to sustain her. She exclusively bears the responsibility for her child, refusing to name the father. She is ready to bear the punishment declared by the puritan society she lives in, which is symbolized by the embroidered scarlet letter "A" upon her breast.

In the end, Hester's strength, honesty, and compassion carry her through a hard life. Hester lives on, quietly, and becomes something of a legend in the colony of Boston. The scarlet letter made her what she became, and, in the end, she grew stronger and more at peace through her suffering. Her undisturbed calm leads to the changing attitude of the community when they acknowledge that the "A" is for "Able."

The Scarlet Letter- Movie Trailer

3. Elizabeth Bennet

Elizabeth is regarded as the most admirable and endearing of Jane Austen's heroines. She is even one of the most beloved characters in British Literature.

Elizabeth Bennet is an unfailingly attractive character. A beautiful young girl with a great intellect. She is witty and has sound judgement. Her self confidence comes from a keen critical mind and this confidence shines through in her quick-witted dialogues.

Because of her exceptional powers of observation, Elizabeth can easily tell the difference between the wise and foolish. Usually. In spite of her mistake in misjudging Wickham and Darcy, and her even worse mistake of clinging stubbornly to that original judgment until forced to see her error, Elizabeth is usually right about people.

But as you might have already realized, her quickness to size people up leads her too far at times. She extrapolates from reasonable first impressions of Darcy and Wickham to absolute and wrong conclusions about their characters. Her confidence in her own discernment — a combination of both pride and prejudice — is what leads her into her worst errors.

Elizabeth Bannet

4. Katniss Everdeen

In The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins introduces readers to a very strong female character: Katniss Everdeen. Katniss is a sixteen-year-old girl who is far more mature than her age. She is the protagonist and narrator as well.

Katniss is very protective of her younger sister, Prim, and she volunteers to take Prim's place in the Hunger Games to protect her. Being the elder sister, Katniss feels responsible for her family's well being. She has good hunting and foraging skills which she learned from her father who died in a mine explosion.

Hunting, however, is illegal and punishable by death. But Katniss does it to feed her starving family. By hunting against the rules, she also demonstrates her rebellious nature. Moreover, what she catches or collects that her family doesn’t need to eat, she sells on the district’s black market, disregarding government rules once again.This disregard, however, was a result of necessity rather than a defiant character.

As a result of the harsh conditions she grew up in, Katniss grows into a tough and practical girl. The skills and qualities she developed to cope with the everyday challenges of being poor, including her ability to hunt, her toughness, and her resourcefulness, turn out to be her strength during the Games.

She succeeds in the Games and comes out victorious. But as a person, she does not change. Success does not spoil her, and her compassion remains intact even after all the killing that takes place throughout the games. This lack of change can be seen as a victory for Katniss. She maintains her sense of identity and integrity throughout the course of the events in the novel.

5. Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Tess Durbeyfield is a sixteen year old girl, strikingly beautiful and intelligent, and distinguished by her deep moral sensitivity and passionate intensity. She is truly a great creation by Thomas Hardy. But she is also more than a distinctive character; Hardy makes her into somewhat of a mythic heroine. The narrator sometimes describes Tess as more than an individual woman, as something closer to a mythical incarnation of womanhood.

Tess Durbeyfield is sent to claim kinship with the wealthier side of her family, the d'Urbervilles, by her poor family. After being seduced by Alec d'Urberville, she bears his child. The child dies in infancy.

She leaves again to start a new life at Talbothays, where she falls in love with Angel Clare and marries him. When he finds out about her indiscretion before their marriage, he leaves her. Again Tess struggles through a difficult time alone. Her family duties lead her back to marry Alec.

Although Tess is dutiful and obedient as the novel begins, she gains strength and fortitude through her suffering. She remains unwavering in her love for Angel Clare. In her anger and desperation, Tess ultimately kills Alec, who was responsible for her suffering most of her life. At last she is reunited with Angel Clare, but only for few moment before her execution.



You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise. - Maya Angelou

These lines are true to the core and perfectly suited to the life and character of the five fictional female characters above. They are strong and independent women and feminists of their time. All of them stand up to authority. They fight for their causes and win the hearts of readers through their trials. They are radical women and their beauty is not just skin deep but penetrates down to their souls.


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