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Amazing Book Characters One’d Love to Hang Out With

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Reading a new book is about meeting a new host of people, inhabiting their minds, and seeing the world with their eyes. Every avid reader has his list of favourite book characters. And here are my top-five literary friends.

Julius Caesar - Julius Caesar

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Those who read Shakespeare’s acclaimed play, Julius Caesar, know that Caesar's fatal flaws are extremely conspicuous throughout the play, most notably his vaulting pride. Caesar’s manner is autocratic as he keeps issuing orders and referring to himself as "Caesar" even when he is alone with his wife. However, Caesar is a mixture of good and evil as he shows astounding nobility and tremendous courage. The opening scene introduces Caesar as an all-powerful Roman leader who has won glorious victories, defeated great Pompey, and extended the frontiers of the Roman empire. He is admired and honoured by the Roman mobs for his fearlessness. He utters one of the most profound pearls of wisdom of all time: "Cowards die many times before their deaths; The valiant never taste of death but once." Caesar's altruistic administration of justice surfaces when he states that what concerns him personally will receive his attention last of all. As soon as Brutus decides to murder Caesar, chaos and discord engulf Rome. Shakespeare indicates that the earth seems to quiver with fear because of a “civil strife in heaven.” Even natural forces grieve his death!

It is remarkably touching how Caesar endures numerous stabs and only falls when he sees his friend, Brutus, stabbing him, saying his most emphatic expression: "You too, Brutus?" which indicates that his fall is not because of the severe wounds in his body but because of his friend's betrayal to him. Caesar has never expected to see Brutus killing him, and this betrayal is the most hurtful of all stabs, which highlights the severe consequences of misplaced trust.

Jo March - Little Women

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Readers have fallen in love with Jo for her independent, off-the-cuff soul, her literary prowess, and her rebellious nature. Jo doesn’t abide by the majority’s rules and loves to establish her unbridled version of life. Her greatest joy in the world is to express her thoughts through writing and to hop onto her bike and take off. Jo is also a quirky outspoken tomboy, which alienates her from the 19th century’s didactic heroes and heroines. She just acts out her nature, being angry, mischievous, cruel, or cross. She even deprives herself of a magnificent journey to France offered by her aunt because she can't restrain herself from expressing the fact that she doesn’t like favours. She responds to her aunt’s offer, saying “I don't like favours; they oppress and make me feel like a slave. I'd rather do everything for myself and be perfectly independent.” Jo’s greatest misfortune is her blunt frankness which drives her out of her wits, but that’s one of her idiosyncrasies too. “Only it's easier for me to risk my life for a person than to be pleasant to him when I don't feel like it,” says Jo. However, Jo is quite aware of his character flaw – her loose tongue, and she strives at correcting it. Although she is not clever at expressing her love to others through words (another quirky thing about her since she is a successful writer), she is never tardy at sacrificing everything she owns for the sake of making her family happy. The character of Jo has spearheaded a slew of flawed heroes for generations to come.

Atticus - To Kill a Mockingbird

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Atticus is one of the central characters of Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, and although Atticus is a father who is considerably admired by his daughter, almost everyone in his town hates him. He is ostracised and hated beyond reason just because he decides to be the lawyer of a black man. Despite the onslaught of threats he receives, Atticus stands to the challenge saying, “Before I can live with other folks, I’ve got to live with myself.”

Unlike the majority of his town’s men, Atticus doesn’t wear his strength like a badge as he abhors guns and refrains from fights. He is an old-fashioned man who is blind in one eye and doesn’t know how to tackle a football. However, one day, he kills a mad dog with a gun, which astonishes everyone. Atticus’ impressive turn as a clever shooter tells us that although he knows how to fight, he never fights until he should.

I also love Atticus because he is one of the best sugary daddies in literature. He is a well of love and wisdom; just look at how he explains the concept of courage to his children: “I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.” Isn’t that brilliant?

Morrie Schwartz - Tuesdays with Morrie

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Morrie Schwartz is Mitch Albom’s college professor with whom Mitch decided to record their profound discussions while Morrie was on his death bed. Mitch and Morrie share a relationship more like that between a father and a son in which Morrie fills Mitch in on his life-long experiences and the pearls of wisdom he learned. Morrie advises Mitch to establish his individualistic self, regardless of what popular culture dictates, and to live each day to the fullest as if it were his last day on earth. Morrie’s calm acceptance of ageing and death is deeply inspiring as he is never distressed about the fact that he is dying, and instead, he chooses to sing, tell jokes, and have friendly vibes. Morrie believes that if a person abides by love throughout his life, he/she will never perish. “As long as we can love each other, and remember the feeling of love we had, we can die without ever really going away. All the love you created is still there. All the memories are still there. You live on—in the hearts of everyone you have touched and nurtured while you were here,” Morrie explains.

The Little Prince - The Little Prince

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The Little Prince has become the sweetheart fictional character of many book lovers since the novella was first published. What makes The Little Prince stand out is his restlessness when it comes to asking questions and discovering new truths about the secret mysteries of the universe upon landing on Earth. He never stops wandering around and asking why people believe in so and so, challenging them to reconsider numerous things that they took for granted.

I love his brilliant, biting satire on people’s narrow-mindedness. A wonderful example is when the Turkish astronomer first presents his discovery of a new planet just to be ignored by the mobs because he wears simple costumes, yet when he makes the same presentation wearing European clothing, he receives resounding praise. The Little Prince wanders Earth and expresses his tremendous shock on seeing the fickle-mindedness of human beings. He makes you ponder at your life and say, isn't Earth a complete mess?

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