Female Protagonists in Fiction: Today and Yesterday


When I think of strong women protagonists in past fiction, there are many. One I am more familiar with is  Jane Erye, in Jane Erye. In my opinion, she is one of the strongest female protagonists in fiction, with her  expression of  individuality and her passion.  She lives through oppression but decides to be her own person as opposed to allowing a male dominated society keep her down. Therefore, she works as a perfect role model for ladies and all other individuals. Her lesson comes through her willingness to go against odds, yet to stand against them and persevere. How does a Jane Eyre compare to women protagonist in fiction today?

There are a many female protagonists today to compare to women protagonists in the past. Since fiction has evolved, so have the women lead characters in books. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series a character who can compete and win against her male casts and is her own individual, even next to Harry Potter himself. She has abilities he cannot perform. Kattness in The Hunger Games  represents a female lead who has the responsibility of helping her mother and sister, all while demonstrating her dominant bow and arrow skills. She is faced with the same oppression the community faces, forced into fear and poverty by a totalitarian rule. Though there are males to stand up against President Snow’s totalitarian rule, it is Katniss who is forced to oppose him and to encourage both male and female followers to overcome the fear in which he forces on them.

Another modern day female protagonist in fiction that comes to mind is Coraline, in Niel Gaiman’s, Coraline. She  is yet to have a real life human portray her character on screen, that I know of, but she has a strong presence as a main character in the book She represents bravery and dares to explore even the darkest places in order to learn more about herself and to help the people she cares about.

If there is one difference I can choose between female protagonists in modern fiction and those in the 19th and 20th century fiction,  is the women leads in the past had the chance  (or the author had the chance) to inspire women readers to be strong, and to be their individuals in response to the oppression they faced daily. Today, women protagonist still have that chance, and being women still have that obstacle. Thankfully, for protagonists like Jane Eyre, women in fiction have become more of a dominant presence, compared to men.


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