Literary Character as a LoverThere have been several characters from literature that I have had "crushes" on. I fell in love with the brooding Hamlet with my first read of the play. I wanted my...

Literary Character as a Lover

There have been several characters from literature that I have had "crushes" on. I fell in love with the brooding Hamlet with my first read of the play. I wanted my boyfriend to feel like an alien and to not be a phony like Holden from The Catcher in the Rye. Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights...need I say more? Finally, Mr. Rochester of Jane Eyre fame would be a reasonable and eventual husband. (Of course there's someone we all love in Pride and Prejudice.)

13 Answers | Add Yours

appletrees's profile pic

appletrees | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

Definitely! Mr. Darcy was a crush because of Colin Firth, but then after reading the novel and seeing him played by Matthew McFadyen, I think it's just the character. And Mr. Rochester, absolutely (George C. Scott was my favorite actor in this role; Jane was Susannah York). I've read Jane Eyre many times and it's my favorite novel. Oddly, however, when I used to re-read it once every couple of years, I would often forget how it ended and was always surprised and happy to read "Reader, I married him."

I also have really liked some characters in Stephen King's The Stand, where everyone is fighting to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. So, yeah, Stu Redman, Larry Underwood, and Nick Andros.

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Rhett Butler of Gone With the Wind, the novel, not the movie.  A rake, but truly a genuine man with such depth of feeling, who knew the meaning of friendship and love. Margaret Mitchell's novel is so very well written; the characters absolutely come alive in a magical way from the Old South.

Then, there was Youngblood Hawke by Herman Wouk, the young, handsome writer whose life was rather tumultuous.

Of course, Darcy, also.

booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

What a wonderful discussion. If anyone has students who are truly motivated, this would make a great assignment: kids love to tell you why if they don't have to provide "the right" answer.

So many of you have touched on my own heroes as well.

My first love was Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre.

As I've "grown up," I have found myself drawn to Hamlet; so admire Atticus—what a grounded man and father-figure. As I have learned to find my way in the world as a woman, characters like Nora in A Doll's House and Louise Mallard in "The Story of an Hour" have intrigued me. Nora is such a child: and at one point I am thankful to say I was an innocent, naive child-woman in my early twenties when things seemed more black and white, and I still believed in the Mr. Rochesters of the world. (Married to a "hippie," I think Rochester might be too hard to live with in the real world: perhaps too dark and haunted...) Louise Mallard is admirable in the growth she experiences: which speaks to my own "awakening" (a Chopin novel I did not particularly enjoy).

And if Scott can admire graphic novels and their characters (and yes, literature comes in all forms and speaks to us in a variety of ways, thank God!), I must admit to great (repeated) admiration of Elizabeth Middleton Bonner in the Into the Wilderness series, and Claire Fraser in the Outlander series, both historical fiction: both strong, intellectual women.

As Thomas Jefferson so succinctly put it, "I cannot live without books." Thanks for an excellent topic of discussion.

Oh, but wait—there has to be someone else I can add to my list...ah, the joy of literature: the love affair that never ends!!

kiwi's profile pic

kiwi | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

I think Heathcliff may have my heart, but also Maxim de Winter from Rebecca. Both have elements of  insenstitivity and brooding temperaments, but I can't resist!

kamiegoldstein's profile pic

kamiegoldstein | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

I humbly join this discussion as an avowed male.

The girl who remains in my heart is Esther Summersun from Bleak House.  Now and then I run across a sourpuss who thinks she is too bright and chirpy, bah, humbug, moomph, moomph.  I admire her spirit, intelligence, sensitivity, introspection, self-reliance, and plain common sense.  She is relatively unaffected by the various negative characters she runs into, and I (jealously) approve of her choice of a husband.

Also I like the story.  I confess to liking Cyrano and Atticus Finch, and to wanting somehow to rescue Pip.  I'm fond of Doc in Cannery Row.  But the queen of them all is Esther.

Great answer! I love Esther and wish I had a friend/sister like her. Thanks for responding!

kamiegoldstein's profile pic

kamiegoldstein | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Wow indeed.

Because no fellows have joined the discussion yet, I'll offer two characters to get us started. The first is a nod to the canon: Rosalind from As You Like It. The second is a complete kowtow to my heart: Buffy Summers. (Buffy graphic novels count as literature, right?)

Yeah! A male's perspective. Thank you for responding!

mike-krupp's profile pic

mike-krupp | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

I humbly join this discussion as an avowed male.

The girl who remains in my heart is Esther Summersun from Bleak House.  Now and then I run across a sourpuss who thinks she is too bright and chirpy, bah, humbug, moomph, moomph.  I admire her spirit, intelligence, sensitivity, introspection, self-reliance, and plain common sense.  She is relatively unaffected by the various negative characters she runs into, and I (jealously) approve of her choice of a husband.

Also I like the story.  I confess to liking Cyrano and Atticus Finch, and to wanting somehow to rescue Pip.  I'm fond of Doc in Cannery Row.  But the queen of them all is Esther.

kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

Wow indeed.

Because no fellows have joined the discussion yet, I'll offer two characters to get us started. The first is a nod to the canon: Rosalind from As You Like It. The second is a complete kowtow to my heart: Buffy Summers. (Buffy graphic novels count as literature, right?)

Ummm ... scratching head, Scott.  O^ . Let's see ... the definition of literature is ... ok you win. It's literature.

scott-locklear's profile pic

Scott Locklear | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

Wow indeed.

Because no fellows have joined the discussion yet, I'll offer two characters to get us started. The first is a nod to the canon: Rosalind from As You Like It. The second is a complete kowtow to my heart: Buffy Summers. (Buffy graphic novels count as literature, right?)

kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted on

It's Darcy for me, always and forever. You can keep your Heathcliffs and your Rochesters--just give me Darcy. I've read Darcy's story every year since I discovered it when my son was 2 years old--he is now 34. Darcy's letter kills me every year. Oh Darcy ... wherefore art thou Darcy?

lmetcalf's profile pic

lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

I have always been attracted to the goodness, intelligence and wisdom of Atticus Finch.  There is something very endearing about the widower who is doing such a fine job of raising his two young children.  As a parent myself, I admire how honest and practical Atticus is with the children; how tough, yet loving.  I guess it is only fair to add that Gregory Peck might, just might, have something to do with my crush -- just saying.....

clairewait's profile pic

clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Well, in 7th grade I had a crush on Marius from Les Mis.  When I re-read the novel in college, however, my crush switched to Jean Valjean.  His unconditional devotion to Cosette made me think he'd also make a great husband (now that I have both husband AND daughters, I think I'd read less "unconditional love" and more "spoiling").

Yes.  Darcy.  Of course.  Always.  *Sigh.*

auntlori's profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Wow.  True literary confessions, eh?  Well then, I must confess to having two, and my classes over the years will attest to them.  One is Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities.  This man who has wasted the bulk of his life because he felt he had nothing to live for is transformed not by love but by loving.  His love is pure and selfless, as recognized by Lucie's children who always had an extra measure of love for him.  Sydney gives his life freely and without fanfare, helping another innocent soul walk her last steps on earth as he does so.  The other is Cyrano de Bergerac, whose selfless love is given to the unworthy Roxane.  Cyrano also honors his love for his friend Christian long after he needs to do so and to his own detriment.  He is a man who is always aware of the grand gesture but also reveals quietly to a friend that his heart is broken.  Cyrano is a man of honor and love and poetry and loyalty...and panache. 

I always want to read the chapters containing these lovely bits aloud in class, but I never make it through them.  My "backup" readers are always on the ready when I have to stop.  Sappy and ridiculous, I know, but true.  Coincidentally, when the cast was right and I had the right leads, we performed each of these plays, allowing me to introduce these great characters and stories to sellout audiences. Lots of tissues for everyone. 

Thanks for asking and for letting me remind others of these grand, flawed men of literature.

We’ve answered 318,910 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question