Tag Archives: Best friends

The Power of Friends… in Literature

Where would Nancy Drew be without George Fayne? Where would Huck Finn have wound up without Tom Sawyer? Scarlett may have derided her, but Melanie Wilkes was her best friend hook, line,  sinker and soul. What about Elizabeth Bennett and Charlotte Lucas? Without Charlotte, Lizzy may just have wound up married to the horrible Mr Collins. Charlotte did her a solid by marrying the little worm. Harry Potter,  Ron Weasley and even Hermione,  were the best of ‘mates. And dear God, could we have had Sherlock Holmes without John Watson?

In my last post I talked about my friends and what having them in my life means to me. Literature is  chock-full of besties and we are all better for having shared in their friendships, albeit second  hand.

Friends in literature serve so many purposes aside from simply being  “a friend.” They are foils for one another’s characters; sounding boards for ideas, problems, and resolutions; cheerleaders and soul soothers, and best of all, the true  friend will always steer you in the right direction when you are going the wrong way, tell you if you have spinach in your teeth, and hold your hair back when you need to vomit. This last one is literally and theoretically!

My two favorite books of all time are Gone with The Wind and The Wizard of Oz. Both are rife with the beauty and detail of friendship. In both, the main characters of Dorothy and Scarlett need to find their way: home and in life. The TinMan, Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow all help Dorothy face trials, tests,  and tribulations in order to find her way back  to Kansas, to Auntie Em’s loving care, and to discover her heart’s desire. Scarlett is Melanie’s opposite in every way, except in their love for Ashley, and in  this opposition of character details, each woman brings out the best in the other. Despite what many historians have postulated, I really do think Scarlett’s road to redemption begins when she brings Melanie back to Tara after the birth of Beau. She risks her life to make sure they all get home safe and sound. Whether you believe it is for a selfish reason, such as ensuring Ashley knows Scarlett helped his wife, or  – like me – because deep down Scarlett was truly a good and loyal person, their relationship ( Scarlett and Melanie’s) is the strongest and most enduring in the novel.

When a writer creates friends, he/she needs to know what each friend brings to the relationship table. It’s simply not enough to have the main character have friends. They serve purposes, both positive and negative, and these purposes enrich the novel and the character’s quest. They play off one another, spark ideas between them, and – such as in the case of Holmes and Watson – better the lives of the people surrounding them. Ron and Hermione show Harry Potter that people do care about him -not because he is a wizard – but because he is a person with feelings and desires, just like they are. Sharing triumphs, failures, tears, and joy are just some of the emotions friends go through together.

Think about your favorites books. What are the friend relationships like? Is the book made better because of them?  What does each friend bring to the relationship table for the main character? When you write, think about these facets. Your book will be richer for it, and sound more true-to-life.

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Filed under Characters

The Power of Friends

I don’t have many friends, but the ones I do have are keepers for life.

Oh, I have friends on Facebook, and followers on Twitter and Pinterest. People, even follow this blog ( thanks so much for doing so!) But real honest to goodness, give you a kidney if you needed it friends are few and far between.

But that’s okay. Like I said, the one’s I have are keepers.

As an only child, I grew up mostly alone. Parents at work all day and into the evening, I spent a great deal of time at the local library after school. The head librarian knew more about me than my family did. Books became my true friends. Trixie Beldon, Nancy Drew, even Miss Marple where the people I shared my life with. It sounds sad, but it wasn’t. I loved being in the library surrounded by words. It was so much better than being in school surrounded by bullies who taunted and tortured me verbally because I looked different, was different, had a different last name than my mother ( this was the 60′ and 70’s – not too many divorces yet among the populous). Books were my friends, their characters my peers and teachers.

Okay, so maybe it was a little sad, but believe me, I never felt like it was.

When I got older and my outer shell of protection hardened, it was easier. I was still different than most, but I started to discover people who were similar in their  own differences to me. Book readers; smart kids; creative kids. Kids who didn’t care what people thought about them. Kids who would stand up for me, and me for them, against the bullies and clique’y kids. All the knowledge I’d gleaned from those books I’d been surrounded with helped me discover the person I truly was. The kid on the inside who lived on the outside and wanted nothing else but to belong.

In a word, me.

No longer did I wait until people sought me out – I started pursuing them. I started actually making friends, putting myself out there and trusting that I wouldn’t get hurt. And if I did, well, then, I’d chalk it up to life experience.

I’m still that same kid on the inside. Still know I’m different from most, think differently than the norm. But the people who are close to me now, the ones who truly are friends in every sense of the word, are the ones who are most precious to me.  They share my highs and my lows, give me strength and receive it from me when they need it, and they celebrate the person I am, differences and all.

It’s been said that words have power. My power comes from within, but also from my friends. And they make me feel very powerful indeed.

 

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, female friends, Friends, Romance, Strong Women