Power Within Pages: Women in Literature

Combining World Book Day and International Women’s Day, Megan talks women in literature. With World Book Day and International Women’s Day being celebrated on the 7th and 8th of March this year, what better time is there to reflect on female literary characters who have defied the concept of the ‘damsel in distress’ cliché character? 

Here are some of many powerful females in literature who inspire the readers of their stories to break away from convention and show that women can be just as heroic and strong as their male counterparts:

Jo March – Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

The tomboy out of all her sisters, Jo March is bold, outspoken, and is never afraid to get her hands dirty. She has an incredible passion for writing, and even gets some of her stories published in newspapers throughout the book. Jo’s ambition is admirable, as can be seen through her frustration at not being able to fight in the war with her father, and she never feels compelled to conform to societal needs or norms of women.

Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games Trilogy, Suzanne Collins: 

A fighter and independent character who stands up for what she believes in, Katniss Everdeen goes from being a 16-year-old girl in the poorest district, to being the face of a revolution following victory in the 74th and 75th Annual Hunger Games. Before the games, she also is the principal provider for her family – she hunts, sells her kill to make money, and knows the survival skills essential for living in District 12 and protecting her family.

Hermione Granger – Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling:

Arguably the most intelligent character in the entire Harry Potter series, every girl wanted to be Hermione Granger at one point or another whilst reading these books. But it’s not just her brains which make her a powerful female figure, it’s also her bravery and resilience. She’s not afraid to speak her mind and will defend her friends regardless of the situation. When young adults think of powerful literary figures, Hermione is always one of the first who comes to mind.

Lady Macbeth – Macbeth, William Shakespeare: 

A slightly different character for my last pick. Although a dark and manipulative figure, Lady Macbeth is also very cunning and is able to control many of the male figures which surround her. We see her plotting a murder, goading her husband into killing the King, all whilst ensuring that she herself is separate from the action. Although later committing suicide due to the guilt she feels towards her actions, there is no doubt in my mind of the power she has as a character, as well as her fear factor.

Megan Wall