day seven | 30 day book challenge

30 Day Book Challenge | Day 7 — Your favorite and least favorite fictional character(s)

Another tough one. I don’t really get very attached to specific characters in books, usually—just the book itself as a whole. Off the top of my head, though, just my gut-reaction answers….

A favorite of mine would be Jesse B. Semple a.k.a Simple, created by Langston Hughes and appearing in numerous articles and books (the one I’ve read is The Return of Simple). Simple is an undeniably charismatic everyday man, a droll ne’er do well, and the archetypal (and stereotypical) resident of the Harlem Renaissance. I appreciate Simple’s straightforward opinions, his unwavering optimism for the future in the face of discrimination or disappointment, and his profound wisdom. Not only are you spending time with a believable and extremely likable character when reading Simple’s anecdotes, you’re learning about life for Black Americans in a racist society. Simple teaches readers a valuable American history and race relations lesson through humor, insight, and charm.

A character that sticks out to me as off-putting was Ignatius J. Reilly in A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole. He is just so snotty and belligerent, especially to his mother, but really to everyone he encounters. I have to admit—I did not finish this book the one and only time I attempted reading it, although I don’t believe it was all because of Ignatius, necessarily. Other things in life just came up and distracted me (I was in college at the time, so school reading always takes priority, etc.). Over the years, too, I’ve found that offensive characters need to be that way to drive the story sometimes, and since so many friends of mine loved A Confederacy of Dunces, I think I’d like to give this one another shot someday.

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