Day 25: A character to whom you most relate
This is where I want to say it's
but it's probably more like
I'm not entirely kidding about that either.
Ok, let's really answer the question. When I think through the books I've read and think over where I've grown up and who I've become, I think I've got to go with 2 options, sort of two sides of the same coin, kinda thing. In an interest in honesty and authenticity I'm going to say Caddy Compton from The Sound and the Fury: The Corrected Text - William Faulkner and Skeeter Phelan from The help - Kathryn Stockett.
No wait, let me explain my rationale before you write me off as some wilted flower debutante. The Sound and the Fury is the story of the Compton family and their decline and dissolution. That's not what I'm relating to, though like most families, mine has its share of challenges. The book is broken into 4 parts, the first 3 parts are narrated by Caddy's brothers (Benjy, Quentin and Jason) the final part is third person omniscient, but mostly focuses on Dilsey one of the servants with emphasis on Jason. Now, what have you noticed? Where's Caddy? She is the focus (you could say obsession) of much of this work, but she is denied her own voice. (we could have a longer debate on whether or not that's Faulkner's misogyny coming to bear, but I'm going to try to stay on point rather than veer into my thesis)
What makes me say Caddy is the shared experience of growing up in a society and community that is determined to speak for me rather than my speaking for myself. Caddy is defined by her brothers, her family, her upbringing, but never by herself and that's what I relate to. I spend a lot of my time, as I believe many of us do, fighting against how other people choose define me. Where I differ from Caddy would be the Skeeter portion of the relatitude (what? that's totally a word).
Skeeter is balancing the expectations placed on her by her mother, the Junior League, Jackson, and the world, against her own morals, her sense of "what's right" and her ambitions. Throughout the course of the novel Skeeter manages to, not only see outside herself, but also balance the reality of who her family is, what her community is and who her friends are and she comes out the better. She sticks to her guns, but does so with grace. She doesn't flinch, but she also doesn't preach. She uses her own strengths and talents to change the world around her in the only way she can.
As an adult and a professional, I know that I don't live in a world where I can just live a black and white life. Living with people, existing in our world and our society demands grey, an ability to recognize our differences and still engage or interact even if we don't agree. Compromise isn't a dirty word. That said, when you see injustice, when you see fear, when you see hate, you must do what you can to change it. That's what I feel Skeeter's character is, she worked within her own limitations to shed a light on a terrible injustice. She didn't sit back and let it keep happening. She was the change she wanted to see in the world and I relate to that.