I’m finally participating in the Top Ten Tuesday blog hop over at The Broke and the Bookish. I don’t usually do it because it conflicts with my Tuesday meme (the Bechdel Test) but I’m doing it early enough in the day that I think I can get both in.
This week's Top Ten is Biggest Jerks in Literature (oh and I guess they’re supposed to be male as well). Now I’m having a much more difficult time with this than I originally thought I would. I figured it would be easy but then I took a gander over at my friend Laurie’s blog What She Read and she made a really good point about the differentiation between jerks and truly evil characters. I can think of many truly evil characters in literature; it’s harder to think of who are just simply jerkfaces (although I’m having no problem coming up with people in my real life that fit that description!).
But I’ll give it a try! Here goes nothing…
1. Lord Henry in The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: Lord Henry is a completely self-absorbed character who basically has time for no one other than himself or people that he finds just as snotty as himself. He likes to feel superior to others and takes pride in the fact that he turned young Dorian Gray into his own jerky little protégé. I think he fits this category nicely.
2. Dr. Sloper in
Washington Square by Henry James: Dr. Sloper’s treatment of his daughter, Catherine, can most certainly be described as jerk-like. He may be accurate about his reasons for objecting to her chosen suitor but he constantly puts her down and does not give Catherine the respect she deserves…ever.
3-5. All of Janie’s husbands in Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston: That’s right. They were all jerks. Even precious Tea Cake. I’m sorry but if you beat your wife you’re no longer okay with me. They stunk.
6. Adam Robert Ryan in In the Woods by Tana French: He’s the main character of the book and at times you feel sorry for him, because yeah he did go through a traumatic experience when he was little that he has no recollection of where his friends were murdered, but he’s still a jerk throughout most of the book. His partner is a great woman and he treats her like garbage most of the time when she’s trying to be there for him. So you’re rooting for him but at the same time, you know he deserves what he gets. Great book by the way.
7. Christopher McCandless in Into the Wild by John Krakauer: Is it wrong to call this kid a jerk when it’s a true story and he’s now dead? I don’t care because it’s all I could really think while reading it. He was so selfish and pigheaded and just…I don’t know. He just infuriated me every step of the way! I’m not a parent but I couldn’t help but feel for them as I was reading it because he just didn’t care at all how his actions might affect others in any way, how other people cared about him.
8. Holden Caufield in The Catcher in the
by J.D. Salinger: I know a lot of people have him on their lists and I have to agree. Holden is the epitome of a jerky kid. I could totally relate to him when I read the book in high school but that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t selfish and a jerk and treated others like crap a lot of the time. Sure, he was confused and scared and depressed, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a jerkface. Rye
9. Odysseus in The Odyssey by Homer: I’m sorry. Yeah yeah he’s trying to make his way home against all odds but he’s off sexing up different women left and right while his wife is alone for years and years doing everything possible to fight off tons and tons of suitors. Then Odysseus has the NERVE to come home and perform some kind of TEST to see if she has remained faithful to him this whole time? JERK!!
10. EVERYONE in The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen: Yeah, wasn’t really a fan of this book. All the characters were horrible and jerk-like. What was there to like about them exactly? Nothing in my opinion.
And I'm spent!