The characters I’ve listed are more like anti-heroines, females who may have started out with good or bad intentions and depending on their circumstances, made changes to adapt to the situation. The interesting aspect about these characters is you really want to dislike them but you don’t. Yes, they are flawed, who isn’t yet they have a vulnerability that draws you. It may be their past that came back to haunt them; a predicament that forced them to make a decision; or they are a product of their socio-economic environment.
1. Beatrix Kiddo – Kill Bill 1 and 2
Classic revenge plot
Kiddo was an assassin and former member of the ‘Deadly Viper Assassination Squad’. Kiddo is a strong willed character with cold, clear objectives. She left the Vipers and her past, assumed a new identity, pregnant and was living in Texas. Bill, her ex-lover and boss, gate-crashes her wedding and with other Vipers kill everyone. He shoots her in the head leaving her in a coma.
While in a coma for four years, she was repeatedly raped and prostituted by an orderly. She gets bitten by a mosquito and wakes up in time to kill a would-be rapist. Kiddo believes her baby had died and begins on a mission to find and kill the Vipers and Bill.
2. Juno MacGuff – Juno
This is a classic teenage plot where a 16 year old girl falls pregnant and the dilemmas that follow.
The character Juno is an unpleasant teenage girl, with a rebellious streak, a sarcastic mouth and insolent. Like anyone in her situation, she ponders the various solutions to her predicament including having an abortion. She then decided to put her baby up for adoption. This is where the change in her behaviour starts. Small but significant breakthrough as her tough exterior begins to show cracks.
3. Lisbeth Salanda – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
A crime story with an unusual protagonist.
Lisbeth Salanda is perhaps the most memorable characters in a story a reader will ever encounters. Her traumatic and violent past lends to the dark side of her character. She will not hesitate to harm others if threatened nor does she feel guilt at what she does. She doesn’t trust people easily and was often uncooperative and disdainful of authority figures. Intelligent and possessing a photographic memory, Lisbeth learns to work with computers and becomes a skilled hacker. Her skills lead her to work with Mikael Blomkvist and together they uncover evidence of a serial killer. Her strengths as an independent and strong character come to the fore as the two delve deeper into the investigation. Lisbeth is a fighter; it is this attribute that saves her from a sexual predator and helping to execute justice.
4. Nancy Botwin – Weeds
A desperate mother
A widow finds a unique and inventive way to earn money and keep the debt collectors at bay. Nancy decides to sell marijuana to keep the family financially viable but doesn’t do well at first. She is however persistent, works hard to outdo other dealers, and eventually becomes successful on the international scene. She does end up in jail, marries three more times, each husband either killed or murdered. Her son Silas follows in Nancy’s footsteps while Shane joins the police academy. Nancy’s intentions were good to start with but got ‘hooked’ in the lifestyle.
5. Faith Lehane – Buffy: The Vampire Slayer
Looking to belong
Faith’s childhood was tough, an absent father and an abusive alcoholic mother. When Buffy was killed, Faith was activated as the Slayer and her Watcher was the first to show her kindness, however it was short-lived. Her Watcher was killed by a vampire and unable to slay him, Faith fled to Sunnydale and to Buffy, who was resurrected. Faith didn’t trust people much and found it difficult to make friends. She and Buffy worked together and a friendship began to develop but a terrible incident happens and the two become enemies. Faith turns to the Mayor who uses her for his own dark agenda. Faith does try to do the right thing but finds herself in many predicaments which affect her good intentions.
If you can think of other anti-heroines, please drop a line. As always, I look forward to your comments.
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