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  • Writer's pictureBaruch WIB

Women Who Inspire

Sonia Sotomayor, the associate justice of the Supreme Court once said: “But a role model in the flesh provides more than inspiration; his or her very existence is confirmation of possibilities one may have every reason doubt, saying, ‘Yes, someone like me can do this.’” Nearly every successful person in society, whether involved in the world of acting, singing, art, or business, attributes their accomplishments to an important figure in their life that motivated them to achieve great things. Just like every artist has a muse, every person has a role model that inspires them to follow their dreams the same way that they followed theirs. The achievements of successful and well-known people serve as a primary example of the endless possibilities available if one is willing to put in the time and effort. The humble background that many of them came from and the hardships that they endured in order to achieve their goals is something that others can relate to and identify with. The numerous struggles that their role models overcame to reach greater heights makes people believe that no barrier or obstacle can stand in the way of their own sincere desires. While most role models can be found through the media, it is important not to disregard the wonderful inspiration that the characters of timeless works of literature provide. They instill a sense of courage and a drive to accomplish one’s goals through their heroic actions and strong-will. Whether they are successful in terms of their career goals, defiance of the common norms established by society, or simply show an impenetrable character, the virtues and achievements of these fictional characters serve as paradigms for what every person in our society should strive to attain. Without further ado, here are a few characters worth admiring and looking up to:

1. Elizabeth Bennet from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

Elizabeth Bennet, known as the wisest sister of the Bennet family, never tries to change herself and her personality to appeal to others, which makes her an incredibly inspirational character in the eyes of the reader. Even though others often thought poorly of her and, at one point, she was even insulted by the “dashing” Mr. Darcy, one of the other main character’s of the novel, Elizabeth knew her own worth and value. She did not need the validation or approval of others. She always spoke her mind and acted the way that suited her best, even if that meant arriving in a coat covered with mud at the mansion of one prestigious Mr. Bingley after having walked three miles. Her unconcerned attitude towards the opinions of others is something that most people in our society could definitely use, including myself.

2. Jo March from Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women

Jo March is a selfless and ambitious character who makes sure to devote herself and her attention to her family while finding time to chase her dreams of becoming a writer. She took care of her sisters and mother in times of trouble, even if that meant putting her career goals on hold. Moreover, Jo faced a lot of hardships when it came to having her stories appreciated and understood. She initially received a fair amount of criticism for her work. However, this did not deter her from continuing to work hard on her writing, which eventually got published. Imagine being in Jo March’s shoes and aspiring to be a successful female writer in a world dominated by male writers. It took her a lot of courage, strength, and determination to never steer away from her goals and eventually reach them, which serves as an inspiration for people to continue to pursue their dreams, even if they seem impossible to achieve.

3. Jane Eyre from Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre is an exceptional character who never failed to hold her head up high no matter what suffering and abuse she was faced with in life. Growing up as an orphan, she lacked the love and affection necessary to the joy of all children. Yet, this did not alter her positive outlook on life and desire to accomplish her goals. During the time when the novel takes place, it was deemed unfortunate for a woman to work due to having no inheritance, property, possessions, or family to provide support. However, Jane never viewed herself as being at a disadvantage because of her lack of these seemingly important things. She wanted to depend fully on herself and her capabilities to achieve her dreams, which she made sure to do. Jane found solace in teaching, initially working as a governess at Thornfield Hall, and always worked on her drawings and paintings, since that was something that she immensely enjoyed doing. Her ability to take care of herself and remain optimistic about her seemingly hapless life not only defied her society’s beliefs but proved how strong and dauntless of a character she is, serving as an example of how every woman should behave.

4. Margaret Hale from Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South

Margaret Hale is a character to look up to when it comes to advocating for human rights. In the novel, her world turns upside down when she is forced to move from her idyllic and serene country home to a bustling, rather rough, and highly polluted town called Milton due to her father’s work troubles. Industrialization had been booming in that area of northern England, essentially bringing negative effects with it, the most destructive one being the brutal treatment of factory or mill workers who were subjected to various forms of abuse. They were forced to work for long hours under poor and dangerous conditions that were severely damaging to their health. Margaret became acquainted with a few mill workers and learned of their inhumane treatment, which made her extremely frustrated. She decides to stand up for the rights of the workers who were being severely oppressed by their bosses by voicing her opinions. She even makes her views of the unjustifiable treatment of the laborers known to one of the harsh mill owners, John Thornton, who eventually changes his ways and mindset. Margaret was not afraid to voice her opinion in order to achieve the common good and well-being of other people in her society. Her strong opposition to injustice makes her an incredibly heroic and powerful character.

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