The Top Five* Fictional Characters I’d Like to Slap Around:
1. Lily Bart, The House of Mirth. First, last, and always. How can she not see the mistakes she’s making? I just want to shake her awake, tell her to snap out of it.
2. Laurence Selden, The House of Mirth. ‘I love her; I don’t love her. I wish I could save her, but what could I do?’ Confirmed bachelor, my Aunt Fannie. Come out of the closet already, Larry.
3. Carrie Bell, The Dive from Clausen’s Pier. The character that spawned this version of the list. Annoying both in her selfishness and in her inability to stand up for the things she wants, or even to believe that the things she wants might be important. Weak enough to be pushed around by everyone. And crappy taste in men, to boot.
4. Newland Archer, The Age of Innocence.** ‘I love her, but gosh, society frowns upon our love.’ Worse yet: ‘Society once frowned upon our love, but even though no one would mind our relationship now, it would just hurt too much to see her again.’ Please.
5. Isabel Archer, Portrait of a Lady. Okay, the courage of your convictions is one thing. Standing by your commitments, sure. But not getting yourself out of an abusive relationship just because you said I do and a lady keeps her word is just moronic.
*I am both dissatisfied with the five-ness of this list, when I began with the intent of creating a list of ten, and with the list itself. Contributions, please. How should I fill out the list, and who on the list needs replacing?
**NB: Archer should perhaps be higher in the rankings because of the multiplication of my desire to inflict violence upon him by Daniel Day Lewis’s portrayal of said character in the Scorsese film.