The Impersonated

A sketch of Leopold Bloom by James Joyce

The one thing about fictional characters is: you need to care about them. If a character is just flat out unlikable, hopelessly blasé, or if they just irritate the hell out of you, chances are you wouldn't want to spend another 300 pages with them. right?

Some of my favorite characters in fiction represent the everyman, like Tom Joad, who leads his family out of the dust bowl of Oklahoma in Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, Winston Smith the re-writer of history in Orwell's 1984, Hugo's bread pilferer, Jean Valjean, or James Joyce's most intimate of characters, Leopold Bloom.

Others are anti-heroes or just a bit off center like the self proclaimed king of Zembla, Charles Kinbote, of Nabokov's Pale Fire, devilishly deceptive sheriff Nick Corey from Jim Thompson's Pop.1280, or Oly Binewski, the albino dwarf who so poignantly narrates Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. Some of these characters have their own voice, others are simply described and followed closely by the third person narrative, but all are three-dimensional, conflicted, and worth caring about.

Who are your favorite fictional characters throughout literature, and why? Leave a comment.