Classics Club April Meme: Who is your literary hero or heroine?

“Who is hands-down the best literary hero, in your opinion? Likewise, who is the best heroine?”  (Taken from the last nineteen classics I have read.)
Nominees for best literary hero:

Razumikhin in Crime and Punishment
Lenin in Anna Karenina
Diggory in The Return of the Native
Ralph Touchett in The Portrait of a Lady
Huckleberry Finn in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Tom Sawyer in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Martin Donovan as Ralph Touchett
All of these men or young men demonstrate exceptional moral character, which makes them worthy of the honor.  But if I must choose one, I choose Ralph Touchett.  If anything good can come out of The Portrait of a Lady, it is he.  Ralph is infinitely altruistic, considerate, and kindhearted.  He selflessly loves his cousin.  He is a good man.  Too bad for Isabel; she does not deserve him anyway.

My extremely close second is Tom Sawyer.  Naturally a mischievous, naughty boy, yet when called to do what is right and good, he shows his ability to be honorable.  He affectionately tends to, protects, and cares for Becky when they are lost inside the cave; and once they are found, he does the right thing by alerting the authorities about Injun Joe being locked in the cave – albeit too late for Joe.  There is something about a person who can rise to the occasion and demonstrate honor and courage when the time calls for it.

Nominees for best literary heroine:

Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice
Eva in Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Darya Alexandrovna  (Dolly) in Anna Karenina
Henrietta in The Portrait of a Lady

Keira Knightly as Elizabeth Bennet
My favorite literary heroine is between Elizabeth and Henrietta.  Henrietta had a smaller part in The Portrait of a Lady, and at first I detested her; however, by the end of the novel she was proactive and took loving charge to care for Ralph in his greatest time of need.  It showcased her feminine side. 

However, Elizabeth from Pride and Prejudice discovered a great and important lesson in her life, and she admitted her indecency with noble gentility and graciousness.  Plus she was the main character, so there was more of her to experience than with the other contenders.  I would have loved to be in her shoes.  So I suppose in the end Elizabeth is the deserved favorite. 


  1. Great question! Literary hero for me would be Diggory from The Return of the Native. He was a great character. Heroine - definitely Jane Eyre. She was a strong person.

    1. Jane Eyre seems to be a popular favorite.

  2. Ha...Ralph Touchet is one of my candidates as well, but I think in the end someone else will take his place ;)

    1. Nice. I'm looking forward to see who you choose!

  3. I had a really hard time deciding on the heroine. I chose against Elizabeth because she was so flawed...but you make an excellent point. She learned a very good lesson in life...and was able to admit her mistake and set her pride aside. :)

    My April Meme