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Fictional heroes/heroines and red flags

(30 Posts)
ImperialBlether Sun 16-Oct-16 14:02:39

I've just been thinking about Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre. I loved him when I was young but I was thinking just now I bet he was a right moody bugger to live with when he was older, particularly due to his sight.

Are there any fictional heroes you loved when you were young that you think now would have actually driven you mad? Would Mr Darcy in P&P make Lizzie happy? What about Wickham? How long would it have taken Lydia to realise what he was really like? That man showed more red flags than a Communist convention, but she was blind to them.

Who would be on here, doing an AIBU or a relationships thread? grin

tectonicplates Sun 16-Oct-16 14:13:30

As a teenager I watched Heartbreak High grin. We all had a favourite, and I wanted Rivers, the long-haired biker dude who fell in love with his teacher. Looking back, I think he was probably far too immature.

ImperialBlether Sun 16-Oct-16 14:17:51

I don't remember that but he sounds like he would've been right up my alley!

BuggerMyOldBoots Sun 16-Oct-16 14:20:21

Mr Rochester was in love with Jane's purity and innocence. He was burnt out from years of partying with high class prostitutes, and Jane was the emotional equivalent of a sachet of Resolve. She says herself, she won't be his mistress because if she steps down from her pedestal, he'll go off her.

And I still love him, and I love the book, and I'm old enough to suspend belief and enjoy it for what it is, but I think she'd end up posting in Relationships nowadays

Those Twilight books though.....at least Mr Rochester can plead the 19th century. Twilight is a how to guide for abusive teenage relationships

ImperialBlether Sun 16-Oct-16 14:24:53

BuggerMyOldBoots, did you read White Sargasso Sea? I loved how reading that changed my view of Rochester.

PresidentOliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 16-Oct-16 14:26:38

Moved out of chat for you
Happy Reading

WildDigestive Sun 16-Oct-16 14:27:24

In fairness, Lizzie is equally duped by Wickham's charm and good looks, and she's supposedly far more intelligent than the much younger and dopier Lydia. Even when he's left off his attentions to Lizzie and gone off sniffing after (was it the freckled Miss King with 10,000?) some heiress, she's still predisposed to thinking 'Oh well, young men have their fancies...'

Yy to Rochester. A man who is actually planning to seduce a penniless, friendless teenage governess (before he actually falls for her and tries to sneak through a bigamous marriage, leaving aside all mention of an insane wife kept locked in the attic) is not a great prospect, no matter how saturnine and Byronic.

And Isabella Linton should really have realised that even if her kink was rough stuff, that Heathcliff casually hanging her dog on their way to elope is more 'psychopath' than 'romantic dream'. grin

WildDigestive Sun 16-Oct-16 14:32:23

He was burnt out from years of partying with high class prostitutes

Yup, and his idea of sweet-talking the innocent teenage Jane is to tell her all about it in lurid detail, giving her lists of the different nationalities of his various mistresses, and the fact that her ten-year-old charge is the daughter of his dead French prostitute-mistress and any possible one of her clients, or possibly him.

I mean, who could fail to be charmed? shock

Though of course, competing with him for Jane's affections is St John Rivers, whose idea of a seduction is enforced Hindustani lessons, a lengthy sermon on how much more suitable she'll be as a missionary wife than flighty Rosamund the Rich Girl, and how while he doesn't love her, he'll still have sex with her because of God and stuff. grin

ImperialBlether Sun 16-Oct-16 14:36:30

St John Rivers made my skin crawl. Now that's a relationship she would've regretted.

BuggerMyOldBoots Sun 16-Oct-16 14:44:34

I did indeed read Wide Sargasso Sea. He didn't come across at all well in it!

I just can't get over the Brontes. Barely a relationship between them, shut away in that parsonage most of the time, and they were able to write the way they did. Would love to bring them back to the current day, to see how they'd write about it now.

BuggerMyOldBoots Sun 16-Oct-16 14:45:40

St John Rivers, total creep. At least Rochester would be filthy in bed. St John would be a one thrust wonder who'd ask you to pray with him before sex

ImperialBlether Sun 16-Oct-16 14:46:02

Imagine the Brontes with online dating and Tinder and all that crap!

VestalVirgin Sun 16-Oct-16 15:21:24

St John Rivers, total creep. At least Rochester would be filthy in bed

Considering that both of them wouldn't respect a no, Rivers would be better; at least he'd leave you alone during pregnancy and menstruation. And not give you STDs. (Of which Rochester probably has a nice collection ...)

I cannot think of one single Bronte hero who didn't have red flags. In "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall", there was this guy who hit a man over the head out of jealousy. He regretted it only because he found out that his jealousy was unwarranted. Disgusting.
And that was one of the Bronte novels I found rather good.

Jane Austen ... well, I wouldn't want to marry Mr. Darcy because he certainly holds misogynist attitudes typical of his time that I hate, but he is probably the best Lizzie could get. Besides,he is rich and has a large library. Priorities!
Love may fade, books will endure.

Then there's Faramir from LotR who I thought was a good love interest, but in retrospect, he gives off some serious NiceGuy vibes. And doesn't ask for consent before he kisses Eowyn. Creepy!

ImperialBlether Sun 16-Oct-16 15:25:11

I'm always so sorry for Charlotte Lucas.

IAmAPaleontologist Sun 16-Oct-16 15:35:41

Angel Clare. Utter tosspot.

I reckon Jane Bennet would be on here asking how she could stop Bingley from frittering money away.

Pierre and Natasha. Pierre will get his next big idea and peruse it so singlemindedly he will forget about Natasha. Meanwhile Natasha will be acting the spoiled brat at home and highly susceptible to getting her head turned by the next good looking, intelligent bloke on the pull.

Tonks and lupin. Probably a good thing they died really, Tonks would be posting on here for moral support as she tried desperately to support their family on her salary, working all hours while lupin is supposed to have decided to be a sahd because he can't hold down a job but the wolf thing means he is ostracised at baby massage, banned from soccer tots and he's so fucking depressed about not being good enough for Tonks that he just sits around the house and leaves all the housework and cooking for Tonks to do when she gets home.

WildDigestive Sun 16-Oct-16 15:37:23

At least Rochester would be filthy in bed. St John would be a one thrust wonder who'd ask you to pray with him before sex

In fairness, I think even inexperienced Jane realises this in advance. She thinks somewhere about how she's sure he'll dutifully go through 'all the forms of love' after they're married, which I'm pretty sure includes at least periodic sex at whatever intervals a buttoned-up early 19thc evangelical missionary would have considered seemly.

Mind you, I suppose that a few months tete-a-tete with Rochester telling you about his lively sex life with all the high-class hookers of Europe would have given her a basic education in such matters...

I like Charlotte Lucas. She was a hard-headed realist who read the Meryton marriage market, rightly realised she didn't have a chance in it, and coolly took the only opportunity she was going to get to avoid a life of spinster dependence spent on a round of visits to family members willing to have her for a few months -- she knew he was an idiot, but not likely to be cruel, and she decided that having a house and independence of her own was worth even the indignities involved in making a 'young olive branch' (and of course that young olive branch was going to inherit Longbourn once Mr Bennet dies, which must have made gender speculation in the Collins and Lucas households pretty interesting....) grin

VestalVirgin Sun 16-Oct-16 15:41:16

Well, yeah, Mr. Collins is what happens if you MUST marry. Charlotte was an old maid already. She couldn't hope to find someone better. And a husband with a time-consuming hobby who doesn't seem to be driven by violent passions is actually a pretty safe bet. He's annoying, sure, but she can encourage him to work in the garden, and he won't publicly humiliate her by having affairs, and he doesn't seem to be an alcoholic or violent.

He might even let her sleep alone when she says she has a headache, and might be persuaded to leave her alone whenever she is pregnant or menstruating.

In a world where marital rape is standard, a man so uninterested in sex that he marries only at the behest of Lady Catherine, might actually be a better husband than the Mr. Wickhams and Mr. Willoughbys. (Though I have no idea whether Jane Austen knew enough to be able to imagine the horrors of marital rape, she only ever seems to write about "seduction" when it comes to extramarital sex)

IAmAPaleontologist Sun 16-Oct-16 15:41:39

I wonder about Laura ingalls wilder had she had access to the feminism boards. She clearly had feminist leanings but hadn't really put a label on them yet, or was afraid to (almanzo asked her once if she thought women should have the vote and she was shocked at the thought of being in the same category as those women). She obviously thought it silly that there was such a division between men's work and women's work though and was proud of working to earn her living. I wonder if she'd have been on here asking iswbu to think that she could do better than have to give up her work just to look after a man. I think she might have had a few things to say about her narc father too who constantly moved the family around to peruse his own dreams and just expected them to pack the house up and move yet again just because he'd decided he wasn't happy or because he'd fucked up (Indian territory anyone?).

IAmAPaleontologist Sun 16-Oct-16 15:45:45

I agree Charlotte did the right thing inmarrying mr Collins, she was past her bloom and her family was too large and had too small an income to ensure that she could be a respectable spinster, she'd have been dependent on the kindness of her little brothers. She ensured herself a comfortable future at longbourne in marrying him, a few years putting up with lady Catherine until Mr Bennet died and then she'd be mistress of a small estate.

WildDigestive Sun 16-Oct-16 15:56:16

Ironically, for all of Lizzie's horror, pompous, Uriah-Heepish Mr Collins is one of classic 19thc literature least awful husbands by RL standards.

I mean, Jude Fawley? Angel Clare? Any Bronte hero (because I suspect even Paul Emmanuel's Catholicism and bossiness would grate, and Edgar Linton senior is a bore and a whiner)? Daddy 'I've been in love with you since you were 13 which means I get to tick you off all the time' Knightley? I suppose Colonel Brandon, Edward Ferrars and Edmund in Mansfield Park are safe enough bets in a dull sort of way, but Henry Tilney's sinister interest in ladies' dresses would get tiresome. Wentworth, maybe?

ImperialBlether Sun 16-Oct-16 15:58:32

She must have developed selective hearing, though. No wonder she encouraged Mr Collins in his gardening.

flippinada Sun 16-Oct-16 16:04:28

I remember reading a graphic novel in my early twenties called Strangers in Paradise - very involved with a love story between two young women at its centre (its written and drawn by a man). At the time I thought it was amazing, deep and rather romantic . Dug it out to re - read recently and absolutely hated it. One of the main protagonists (female) is clearly meant to be a strong woman who doesn't stand for any nonsense but in reality is just a horrible, entitled, abusive piece of work (but hey, that's ok cos she's "complicated"). The object of her affection is another irritating caricature. Oh, there's also a drippy, passive aggressive Nice Guy (tm) character thrown in for good measure as well.

On the positive side, the art is still really good.

TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Sun 16-Oct-16 16:09:35

Tess of the D'Urbervilles:

I've just got married and DH tells me that before we were married -indeed before we even met - he had been in a relationship with another woman. This encouraged me to tell him about the awful fact that as a teenager I was raped by a wealthy man posing as a relation of our family, and I had a child as a result which tragically died shortly after birth. Apparently, I am now ruined in DH's eyes and he has left me as he thinks I am a slut. AIBU to think that he is a hypocritical bastard?

Flingmoo Sun 16-Oct-16 16:16:31

It's okay TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross, I'm sure your DH will come to regret the way he's reacted. Maybe in the mean time you can confront your rapist and maybe even kill him? I'm sure it'll all work out in the end...

ImperialBlether Sun 16-Oct-16 16:19:47

Very good AIBU, TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross!

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