A Solid Heroine

I recently rewatched the movie Red Eye and was struck by how much I liked the heroine (Rachel McAdams). In fact, she came to mind during my pastor's sermon on meekness.

He said meekness is strength and courage under control, coupled with kindness.

That's exactly how the heroine is in this movie. She's not brassy or opinionated in a loud way. She's not someone who would catch another's eye. She's understated, quiet, gentle.

And really, really awesome. Only we don't know just how strong and courageous she is until she's forced to act.

Do you like heroines like that? Or do you like the bold, saucy ones (and I like those too)? Who's your favorite character and/or actress? Why?


Tabitha Bird said…
I like to bold and saucy ones. I like to girl with the gun, the tattoo and the attitude. I like the girl with brains and brawn and three little kiddies waiting in the wings while mommy beats the crap out of the bad guys! But that's just me... I relate well to those sorts of females :)
LOL Tabitha! A lot of women do and I think that's why they're so popular. :-)
Jody Hedlund said…
I can go either way. I just finished a book with a quieter hero, but in the end she was forced to grow into a more out-spoken person. It was a fantastic book, Siri Mitchell's Love's Pursuit. But it takes a lot of skill to make a seemingly weaker woman into a heroine, don't you think?
Sometimes, in books or in movies, I think actresses should act more quickly, and I grow impatient as I wait for the "good stuff" to begin. (I don't remember with Red Eye; it's been awhile.) But in life, I want to be just like that.
Stephanie Faris said…
I think I like the bold, saucy ones...maybe more like Rachel McAdams was in The Notebook. I actually prefer the Meg Ryan type -- quirky and fun.
I like both depending on the circumstances. Even the meek ones are interesting if protrayed in a vivid, interesting way. It's nice to have variety!
Hi Jody,
I've heard so much about Mitchell. I'm going to have to check out her book!
I do think it takes more work, you're right. I hadn't thought of that.
LOL Janna! I want to be like that too. :-)
I love Meg Ryan! I really love the movie French Kiss! One of my favorites. :-)
Also, I'm such an idiot! LOL! I didn't even realize McAdams was the heroine in the Notebook. But yeah, she was fun in that movie.
Hi Eileen,
I think that's a good point. We have to show the interesting side to the heroine. Sometimes it's more difficult, like Jody said.
Jessica: i love characters like this! We recently watched the movie "Mrs. Minever" set during WWII, and the female lead surprises you like that. Stunning!
Unknown said…
I like them both...I think my favorite favorite would have to be Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. Quirky yet loveable...kinda like me (especially because I SOOO order my food like that in a restaurant. Drives my husband nuts!)
Hi Jeanette,
You're right. The surprise makes the strength almost more powerful for me. I've heard that name before...
LOL MaryBeth! My sister orders her food like that too. That's another cute movie. Ryan does quirky and cute like no one else!
Linda Kage said…
I like both type of heroines too, depending on the story they're in. Thinking back on two Jane Austen movies, I loved Elinor Dashwood in "Sense and Sensibility." She was always so composed and proper, did the right thing. I had to cheer for her because she was so good; I respected her and wanted her to end up happy. But then I liked Elizabeth Bennet in "Pride and Prejudice" too. I wish I could be bold like her when she stood up to Mr. Darcy while he was being rude. So, I guess it really does depend on the story for me.
I like Kate Blanchett (not sure I spelled that right). I think she handles her roles with grace and strength. That is what I like in a heroine -- a combo of grace and strength.
~ Wendy
anita said…
Great post, Jessie! I loved her character in Red Eye, too. I think I'm drawn to both types of heroines.

Two examples: Jane in Jane Eyre is just that kind of heroine in the beginning, quiet, meek, but with backbone. As she evolves, she becomes a bit more outspoken, but never to the point of being brassy. She just knows her heart and isn't afraid to fight for it.

Then there's Catherine in Wuthering Heights, saucy and opinionated from the get go, and the only woman who can tame Heathcliff.

But one thing they have in common: both heroines are passionate dreamers with aspirations for a better life and the determination to claim it, and for that reason they remain indelible and irresistable to both their heroes and the reader.
Great examples! Oh to be like Elizabeth! LOL
So the character should fit the story, do you think?
Hi Wendy,
Kate does have that certain grace to her. Even in the movie about bank robbers, she still did good. Thanks for commenting!
Sheesh Anita! You could write one of those essays about cloassics, couldn't you. :-) Very well said. I'm starting to want to reread Wuthering Heights. I can't remember it so well...
In real life, some of my heroines are the ones who are quiet, strong in faith, great listeners and huggers with few words. They are the ones who keep my wild and crazy spirit calm and center me. So yes, I like those heroines.

But I'm more saucy and "out there" so I tend to write heroines like me!
Terri Tiffany said…
I like that kind of character-the one who doesn't flaunt it in your face and comes out on top!
Donna, you should be glad you're one of the saucy people! LOL! I wish I were that way. Quiet characters are good, as long as they're interesting, right? :-) Interesting that you write the ones different from yourself.
Hey Terri,
So does Picoult write quiet heroines?
Karen Hossink said…
Hmmm, the bold and saucy ones are entertaining. They make me laugh.
But the meek ones - with the quiet, controlled strength? They're the ones I aspire to be like!
Cindy R. Wilson said…
I liked her character in that movie, too. I think I prefer the quiet gentle ones that have strength and can show it in a classy way.
Dara said…
I like both, but the quiet ones are always nice to see since there seems to be a ton of the saucy ones :P

Don't get me wrong--I still like my heroines with attitude (for some reason, the ones I write always have one, probably because I base parts of them after me, and I tend to be a little hot tempered :P). But a quiet heroine is nice change sometimes.

I really like the character of Meg in Little Women--she's the complete opposite of Jo but she still has a quiet strength about her. Another character I like a lot is Lily from Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. She's what would be the "ideal" Chinese wife in the 19th century--submissive and obedient. But there's a strength to her character that comes out during crisis--a take-charge attitude that otherwise she keeps hidden.
Genny said…
I like heroines like that too. And I haven't seen that movie...I'll have to check it out.
Hi Karen, same for me. I love those bold women but would like to have a gentle spirit.
Well...actually, sometimes I wish I was bolder. LOL
Hi Cindy,
I think she's really classy too. It's in the way she holds herself, maybe?
Hi Dara,
LOL! I always felt like Meg, the oldest and in charge. I wanted to be Jo. :-) You've mentioned the Snowflower book before. It sounds really good.
Hey Genny,
I think it's a few years old and it's a little violent, but otherwise I really liked it. :-)
Tana said…
I'm reading a novel right now where the heroine is a doctor and very practical in her outlook on life. She's gotten herself into quite a bit of trouble with her impulse to say just about everything that's on her mind lol. I have to check out Red Eye! I love examples of meekness because I strive to be a good rep for Jesus in this world and Lord knows I need to have descent role models.
CKHB said…
I like 'em smart, funny, sarcastic, and flawed-but-learning. Cynthia Nixon is right up there.
T. Anne! LOL!! Yeah, role models help...sometimes. *snorting*

What book are you reading? Sounds good! Very Dr. oh man, what was her name? Oh yeah. Dr. Quinn. :-) I used to love, love, love that show!
Hi Carrie,
I like them that way too! Now I've got to google Cynthia Nixon. LOL
Jill Kemerer said…
I like heroines who are genuine. I'm not a fan of caricatures. My favorite actresses tend to be the ladies of SNL. They are really talented and funny!

P.S. I know you're shoveling in the awards right now, but I'm a big fan of your blog and tomorrow, I'm giving you one too.
Hi Jill,
I don't think I'm shoveling in any awards, am I? Anyways, looking forward to whatever you have! :-)

What's SNL?

I like genuine heroines too. I have a lot of trouble with ones that are fake and then get found out in the end and suddenly change...
Kathy said…
I like Jodie Foster. She was great in Silence of the Lambs. I think her character was polite, somewhat soft-spoken, kind, intelligent, but tough when she had to be.
Kathy said…
Oh, and SNL is Saturday Night Live.
As long as the writer/screenwriter convinces me, I will love the character! So I guess both! :)
Kathy, You're right!!! Great example. She really was good in that movie for all the reasons you said.
Thanks for the input on SNL. I wondered if it was that but I didn't know there were actors on it. Never watched it before. :-)

Thanks for stopping by!
Thanks Kathryn!
Things def. need to be "real" for anything to work, I think. Except in comedy, maybe.
Keli Gwyn said…
I like a variety of heroines, both saucy and sweet, but what I want is to see their strength, be it quiet or pronounced. And they have to be teachable.
Danyelle L. said…
My favorites are those that are funny and have a great sense of humor. And are human. :D
Hi Jess -

Oooh, this character sounds wonderful. I don't like heroines, who are manipulative, controlling, or conniving.

Susan :)
Katie Ganshert said…
Oooo, I love Rachel McAdams! In fact, I can't wait to watch Time Traveler's Wife. So, do you recommend Red Eye? I haven't seen that one.

I like both kinds of heroines, btw. :)
Jessie Oliveros said…
I am a bigger fan of the strong and quiet over the bold and saucy. Probably because in my own life I am the bold and saucy heroine, so I see all the faults of that heroine first hand. Strong and quiet is a little more elusive and mysterious to me. More fun to read. More fun to write.
Hi Keli,
Hmmm, teachable. That's an excellent word and something I actually have always admired about my hubby. Thanks for commenting!
Hi Danyelle,
Oooh, I love funny characters! Quirky is even better, but I like ones who just know how to laugh too.
Hi Susan,
I don't like characters or people who are that way. Those are villainous qualities, imo.
Hi Katie,
I do recommend it. :-) I really liked it, but it has some violence and violent themes.
I have heard so much about that book that I think I would want to see the movie!
LOL Jessie! Lucky you to be bold and saucy! I'm not at all, and maybe that's why I usually write characters who are. LOL
Debra E. Marvin said…
A day late, Jessica, Sorry. But it's such an interesting subject. I don't think I have a favorite. I like the quiet, strong types and the bold types--i think it's all about the story and how compelling they are. Both can be difficult to write. The quiet ones can be too 'wimpy' and the bold ones to 'brash'. Don't we walk a fine line with any of our characters? Make them very real, flawed but likable. What a balancing act!
Hi Debra, you're not late. :-) I love your comment. Very true. Gives me ideas for more posts... LOL!
Thanks for stopping by! You've made some really good points.
i'm going to add red eye to my netflix queue. that'll be a good movie to watch, sounds like!
I tend to like bold heroines, but I think going with one who is quietly courageous can be a great way to create a distinctive heroine who stands out from the crowd.
Hi Kate,
That is true. Quiet courage has a very peaceful feel to it, I think. And it is distinctive because I think it's kind of rare.
Jennifer Shirk said…
I like independent heroines who do goofy/fun things but have a good heart and are humble.
And I always love a heroine who has a soft spot for children. :)
Nancy said…
My favorite book character is Jane Eyre. She is meek and powerful at the same time. My favorite actress is Anne Hathaway because she is so fresh and wholesome looking.
Hi Jennifer,
Thanks for sharing! I agree, a humble, kind heroine is someone I enjoy seeing hook up with a sexy man! LOL And I always think main characters should have a softness for kids. I just think that's heroic, no matter what genre it is.
Hi Nancy
I think you're right about Jane. I like Anne Hathaway too! I really liked her best in the Princess Diaries though (is that what it was called?) She does have a very fresh look to her. Classical in a way. I guess that's why she was chosen to play Jane. LOL
Unknown said…
Meek is definitely not weak. Humility is an entirely different level of strength.
Absolutely true, Rick! Thanks for commenting. :-)
I think meekness might be the pinnacle of strength, in a way.
Kara said…
I have to admit I like woman characters who break the mold. But in life I most admire those whose strength lies just below the surface and only becomes evident when tested. I love all of Sandra Bullocks charaters because she doesn't take herself too seriously and uses humor to save the day.
Tana said…
I'm giving you an award tomorrow! :)
Diane J. said…
I have to go with the understated. They just seem more relatable to me.
I love Sandra Bullock too! I seriously cannot think of any movie that I haven't liked her in. She's very funny and brings that to her characters!
Thanks for sharing your comment!
I relate more to understated too. The bold ones are fun to read, but I know I could never do what they do. But the quieter ones, yeah, I relate.
Thanks for stopping by!
glovin said…
I think actresses should act more quickly, and I grow impatient as I wait for the "good stuff" to begin.

You cannot go wrong on the best security systems
glovin said…
I think actresses should act more quickly, and I grow impatient as I wait for the "good stuff" to begin.

You cannot go wrong on the best security systems
Pen Pen said…
I'm always super annoyed by forceful heroines. I always try to think of Elizabeth Bennet and how she is quiet and questions her value--Her power is shown when she stands up for her family-She's thought through what to say and doesn't go around on the offensive. Any heroine who is too pushy-I won't identify with cuz they usually don't have any second guessing about who they are--and they're character arc is not as meaningful.
I DO think heroines have to be able to fight for themselves tho...take that Bella girl in 'Twilight'--She wouldn't even be able to turn around and run unless one of those boys was there to tell her to do so. People want to see an "equal" to the hero--whether it's physically or mentally. They both need to NEED eachother(If it's a romance :)
LOL about Bella. Snort!!!

Glad to see you're getting around the blogosphere again. :-)

Popular posts from this blog

No One's Perfect

Very Naughty Blogger

Formulaic can Rock