Over the next few weeks I plan to post several discussion topics on a related theme…
Why Must the Heroine…..
This week I am wondering why violent heroines are often portrayed to be conflicted about their violent natures and the type of work they engage in or activities involving violence while other violent heroines are rarely shown as second-guessing their violent tendencies.
Some examples of tough, resilient, violent heroines who are conflicted about their behaviors are Caelena from the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, and Tris from the Divergent series by Veronica Roth.
Examples of the same type of heroines, tough, resilient, and violent who seem quite comfortable with their natures and behaviors are Rose Hathaway from the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead and Ismae from the His Fair Assassin series by Robin LaFevers.
After talking about this with Pam, we have come up with several possible explanations.
First, while we the readers like tough, independent, strong heroines we don't actually want them to choose to kill, instead we prefer that they only kill in self-defense. So authors make it very clear that the characters were forced into these situations and then rose to the challenge for self-preservation. Then we get to watch the heroine "recover" from her violent acts. *POSSIBLE SPOILERS IN NEXT PARAGRAPH*
In Hunger Games, Katniss only kills once without an immediate threat and in Crown of Midnight, the assassin only pretends to kill people.
Second, when presented with a violent female character the author will often find a way to highlight her femininity by choice (Caelena who is obsessed with shopping) or through coercion (Katniss who becomes the muse for the well known fashion stylist Cena).
Third, in the few instances where the heroine doesn't second guess her violent behaviors she is almost always acting in the service of another. Ismae is acting on behalf of her God Mortain and Rose is acting to protect Lissa and other vampires she was born to protect.
What do you think? Are there other ways the authors try to soften violent female characters or other explanations they develop to explain their violent acts.? Or maybe you don't actually think of them as violent, simply regular people who engage in violent acts. Finally, what are some other violent heroines who have stood out for you and why?
Posted by: Sheri