QUICK! Name the most inspiring fictional character you know!
If you’re like most people, you would probably named characters who courageously led the charge against evil forces or sparked an entire revolution to overthrow an unjust ruler. But unlike fiction, real life doesn’t always come with big epic battles or evil tyrannical warlords.
Sometimes, what we need are heroes that are just like you and me. People who go through their everyday lives, facing the same problems as us. But fret not! We’ve scoured the shelves and compiled a list of inspirational fictional role models just for you. As a bonus, we’ve also thrown in our very own inspirational one-liner takeaways from each character too!
Janie Crawford from Their Eyes Were Watching God
Setbacks and achievements go hand in hand. But if you find yourself stuck in a rut because of an earlier setback, keep watching how our girl Janie Crawford from Their Eyes Were Watching God overcome them and achieve her goals in life.
Janie has one simple goal: To find and experience true love. But life has other plans for her.
Her first marriage is miserable. She ends up with a wealthy man whom she never loves. But her second husband is much worse—he never sees Janie as an equal and prevents her from associating with the locals, and even discourages her from speaking up.
Instead of being crushed, Janie strives on, focusing only on the lessons from her failures. This eventually brings her to her third marriage and true love.
Inspirational one-liner: Never let a setback stop you from trying.
Jean Valjean from Les Miserables
Have you ever felt like you can’t amount to anything because of your past? Well, Victor Hugo’s Jean Valjean felt so too in Les Miserables.
After serving a 19-year prison sentence for stealing a loaf of bread, society shunned and discriminated against Valjean. He felt that there was no other way to go but to turn against the world that first turned their backs against him.
Just as he is about to begin his path towards a life of theft due to society’s hostility, Valjean resolves to turn his life around after an encounter with a bishop who saw good in him. He eventually becomes a respectable businessman who then revolutionises the town’s manufacturing scene.
Although he ultimately becomes rich, Valjean never turns a blind eye to those in need. With the fortune he makes, he funds orphanages, schools and even hospitals. He adopts Collette after her mother, Fantine, passes away, risks his life to save Marius and even spares the person who tormented and haunted him through the years, Inspector Javert.
All-in-all, Valjean becomes your all-around great guy despite his terrible past.
Inspirational one-liner: Never let your past define who you are.
Liesel Meminger from The Book Thief
For anyone who feels like you’re too small to make a big change, Liesel Meminger from The Book Thief is here to change your mind.
Growing up in Germany during World War II, nine-year-old Liesel Meminger has already faced multiple adversities. She ploses her father as a result of his communist sympathies, and shortly after that, her mother and brother too. But she doesn’t allow the sense of loss to rule her life.
Thanks to her foster family, Liesel develops a strong sense of justice. Instead of following what society deems is right, she creates her own moral system and constantly challenges the status quo.
As she matures, she begins to realise the power of words, how they can be both destructive yet comforting at the same time. While Hitler uses words to instruct and encourage Germans to conduct horrific acts of violence under his rule, Liesel uses words to empathise and comfort people. Through the power of language, Liesel transforms from a powerless child to an empathetic and caring lady.
Inspirational one-liner: Never think you’re too small to achieve anything great.
There you have it! Share with us your go-to characters for inspiration and don’t forget to borrow these books at the closest library!