Saturday, May 16, 2009


Have you ever wondered why women love those movies where the hero comes sweeping across the screen, swinging by the rigging of a ship to save the heroine from an evil pirate captain. Or how about the hero drawing swords with the villain in a fight to the death to save the woman he loves? Remember the hero who risks life and limb to save the damsel in distress, like Hawkeye in The Last of the Mohicans?

So man
y publishers guidelines these days say they only want fiction with a strong female lead character, and the hero to be secondary. Why do publishers think women do not want to read novels about the hero saving the heroine, laying down his life, sacrificing all for her? Instead we are made to believe women only want to read books whose central character is a strong female? I suppose book sales may be what the reason. However, that is not to say women would not want to read about a strong hero if only we were given the chance.

Some of the books I've read adhere to this guideline, but the male character seems like part of the backdrop. Or he is heroic but his story is not told. I am limited to only understanding what motivates the female character, but not the man who loves her. Personally, I like the novel that has a strong, courageous hero as the central character. I would like to see a resurgence of the hero. In society today, don't we need a reemergence of the hero?

What are the traits of a hero?
















Since the woman's movement, have we lost the classic hero in literature, especially in the romance genre? Publishers guidelines seem limited to the heroine as the main character. Why? Can we have it both ways? Can we bring back the hero, the knight in shining armor along with the courageous female lead?

Here is a list of memorable heroes in literature.

Sir Galahad

Captain Peter Blood

Robin Hood

Colonel Brandon (Sense & Sensibility)

Darcy ( Pride & Prejudice)

Sir Percy Blakeney (The Scarlet Pimpernel)

Sydney Carton (A Tale of Two Cities)

Hawkeye (Last of the Mohicans)

Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)


Who are your favorite heros in literature?

Would you like to read more novels with the hero as the lead character.

What are your thoughts on this subject?


Jessica said...

I love strong heroes! Sometimes I'm a little annoyed when the hero seems more like a woman.
Don't worry though. Strong heroes are not completely gone. Harlequin even has a suspense line in which the main plot must involve a hero saving the girl type story. :-)

Also, Last of Mohicans is my favorite movie in the world!!! Woohoo. I've always loved Hawkeye and his relationship with Cora. She was a strong heroine too.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Rita -

An old TV show featured a strong hero - until he got the girl. Then he turned into a mindless wimp. I'm with you, Rita. Bring back the strong hero, the guy who would die for his beloved, but also has some self-respect.

Susan :)