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5 Lessons from Super Awesome Book Characters

by Ashley on January 22, 2014 · 4 comments

Hi, friends! This week I’m attending a business retreat and soaking up some sun in gorgeous Los Angeles. But I still wanted to share some inspiration with you, so today I have this lovely post by Sarah Biernacki, a writer, and book lover, and super awesome Dream Quester.

super awesome book characters

[Note: This post contains spoilers.]

As a major bookworm, I always find my inspiration and wisdom from the stories I read. During the many, many hours I spend lost in the pages of a good book, I learn important life lessons from incredible heroines.

Here are five of my favorites:

1. Lesson: You sometimes have to be unconventional to save the day.
Portia from The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

Portia dresses up as a lawyer and uses her wit to save her husband’s best friend. Not only does she perform a task forbidden to women at the time, but she also has to cross-dress.

2. Lesson: You are not always right and admitting this makes life easier.
Emma from Emma by Jane Austen

Emma thinks she has all the answers: she is her father’s beloved and is the town matchmaker. It turns out she does not know many things—like, the guy she was setting her friend up with was in love with her.

More important, she does not even know herself—she is unaware that she is in love with her annoying brother-in-law. Once she realizes that she is wrong, she marries her brother-in-law, and her friend marries a man who returns her affections.

3. Lesson: Imagination makes life better.
Anne from Anne of Green Gables

Anne is an orphan who does not have much going for her before she meets Matthew and Marilla. To survive the hardships in the orphanage, she uses her imagination to transport herself to a better place.

She continues to use her imagination when she is with Matthew and Marilla to spice up an ordinary existence, which often leads to delightful shenanigans (see: the Lady of Shalott scene). She eventually uses this same imagination to write stories as an adult.

4. Lesson: You sometimes have to say “no” to things you really want.
Cassandra from I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Cassandra has a chance to marry the guy she has been pining after for months. The problem is that he is still in love with her sister (she ran away with his brother, leaving him heartbroken).

Cassandra recognizes that he is rebounding and refuses to be second best –
even though she is desperately in love with him.

5. Lesson: You cannot hide from pain without losing joy.
Hazel from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Hazel is depressed about her cancer, so she tries to numb the pain by watching marathons of America’s Next Top Model. However, things change when she falls in love with Augustus. She tries to protect him from the pain of her potential death by pushing him away. She learns this is not an effective way to live after she is hospitalized for pneumonia, so she agrees to go to Amsterdam to him.

While she is there, she meets her favorite author, has awesome meals, and gets kissed in the Anne Frank museum. If she did not face the prospect of pain, she would never have tasted celestial champagne.


sarah biernackiSarah Biernacki has always loved books; her first word was “book.” She pursued her passion by going to college and graduate school for English literature and even published an edition of Shakespeare during that time.  Now she reads several books a week during her subway commute to her day job as a technical writer, and she writes fiction in her free time. Besides books, she is also obsessed with Andy Warhol, Bruce Springsteen, and the Muppets. You can find her thoughts on literature and pop culture at


[photo credit: ejpphoto]

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Robyn January 22, 2014 at 7:45 pm

I love all of the Anne books, and just watched the first two movies a couple of weeks ago! Afterwards, I was actually thinking about all the lessons we can learn from her. Love this post!


Sarah January 23, 2014 at 2:38 pm

I am so glad you liked it! I was obsessed with the movies growing up. :)


Erin February 12, 2014 at 9:21 pm

Thanks for sharing Sarah.

I especially like lesson number four. Often people think saying no is a bad thing, but I have found there are times when you are working towards a goal and in order to achieve success no is the best option.


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