As promised in yesterday’s post, here are my top five literary couples!
(Please be warned, there could be some spoilers in my blurbs on each couple)
5.) Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff (From Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte)
Catherine and Heathcliff to me is one of those love stories where the love the characters have for each other is their vindicating trait. Catherine and Heathcliff grow up in the same house together, she as the master’s daughter and Heathcliff as the family’s adopted son. As Heathcliff and Catherine grow they become closer and closer. The two sneak over to an estate close to their own to see a lavish party and what wealth can give them. While there Cathy gets attacked by one of the dogs and is taken inside the house where she stays for several weeks. When she returns home she has become a lady and claims that she is marrying Edgar, the master of the wealthy estate she stayed at. Heathcliff over hears her telling a housemaid that while she really loves Heathcliff she has to marry Edgar to get the wealth and social prominence she so desires. Heathcliff leaves to go get educated and become wealthy, hoping that he can win Cathy back. Heathcliff is gone for three years and in that time Cathy gets married. When Heathcliff returns and sees that Cathy and Edgar are married he vows to get vengeance on Edgar for by marrying Edgar’s sister Isabella. Heathcliff turns into a cruel man and literally drives Isabella mad. Now if you’re thinking Cathy is selfish and Heathcliff is cruel, angry, bitter, and heartbroken you’d be absolutely right. It’s who they are in the end of the novel that shows how vindicating love can be. If you’ve never read this novel I heartily encourage you to give it a whirl. It’s rough reading through the first time, as you want to just shake the characters and say “wake up!”, but it’s one of those stories that you have to read to understand what I mean.
4.) Laura Ingalls Wilder and Almanzo Wilder (From the Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder)
For those that have never read the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder let me give you a brief breakdown. Laura’s books chronicled her childhood moving from place to place with her family as they tried to survive as a farming family. Laura meets Almanzo in her teen years and falls in love with him despite there being a ten-year age gap between them. Their courtship is one of a time long-lost and forgotten in today’s society. Almanzo courts Laura for three years before he proposes to her and gives her first kiss. It’s relationships like this of a bygone era that make my heart truly flutter. Those of you that know me know that I’m a hopeless romantic and wish that life could be like it was in simpler times like these. People weren’t fluttering from person to person; they met one person who they knew they could share their life with and did just that. Another reason I absolutely love Laura and Almanzo is because their story is real!! It gives hope to the reader that they too can find a love as pure and consistent as theirs.
3.) Romeo and Juliet (From Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare)
Romeo and Juliet are THE quintessential couple when it comes to ranking literary couples. The two loved each other so much that they refused to live without the other, literally. Any list ranking great love stories has to have theirs! While their love is certainly tragic, it is true, wholesome, honest, and deep. Those that find love like Romeo and Juliet’s are incredibly lucky.
2.) Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth (From Persuasion by Jane Austen)
Anne and Frederick….A pairing that finds me at a loss for words. Anne in her youth becomes head over heels in love with Wentworth and accepts a proposal of marriage to him. She is persuaded by a close family friend that the marriage would be imprudent due to what is expected of a woman of her social standing. Wentworth has no money, no connections, and would in essence bring down the family name. Believing everyone to know what is best for her, Anne breaks the engagement, and in doing so breaks Wentworth’s heart. Years later the tables have turned; Anne’s father has spent the family into a debt and Wentworth has become a rich Captain in the Navy. Wentworth’s sister and brother-in-law rent out Anne’s family estate, thus thrusting Wentworth and Anne back into each others company. Having been separated for over 7 years Wentworth believes himself to be completely over his love for Anne. Anne on the other hand threatens to be as in love with him as ever. Knowing that it is her fault for their broken engagement she keeps silent while in his company. Tragedy strikes however and Wentworth turns to Anne for her help, thus opening his eyes to this majestic creature he used to love. They must figure out if their love is enough to overcome the years and experiences they’ve had apart. Anne and Wentworth are truly the crème de la crème of Austen literature. Even though they’ve been separated for several years they both know deep down that they’ve only ever truly loved each other. That consistency is both admirable and breathtaking to a heartless romantic.
1.) Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy (From Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)
Where do I even begin for these guys?? Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy have a love story that is not all that hard to believe. It is rife with misunderstanding, pride, shyness, arrogance, prejudice, understanding, forgiveness, passion, and trust. Their relationship starts off badly with an ill begotten statement made by Darcy at a ball. Lizzie bases her feelings for Darcy on this statement she overhears and refuses to change her opinion of him until much later in the novel. Darcy quickly realizes the mistake in his comment when he sees her beauty and wit. He begins seeking out her company during her stay at his friend’s estate and the balls at which they are both in attendance. Lizzie refuses to believe that he has a non-arrogant bone in his body and continues with the verbal assault on him both to his face and to her friends. Darcy and Lizzie have a DISASTAROUS first proposal where she tells him that he is that last man in the world that she would ever marry. Darcy realizes that she is right in her assessment of him in certain areas and writes her a letter refuting the other points. This broken proposal makes Darcy realize he needs to change and stop being prejudiced to those below his social standing. Lizzie, after reading Darcy’s letter, realizes that she is all wrong about him and is mortified that she was so blinded by pride. They meet again several months later and both are completely changed in the other’s eyes. Seeing a chance to start again they embark on a friendship that threatens to be ended when Lizzie’s sister runs away with Darcy’s enemy. I won’t bore you with any more of the plot, (although I don’t think anyone could ever be bored by Pride and Prejudice) and get straight into why I love them. There is such a lesson to be learned here. While first impressions are important, don’t let them be the end all be all of shaping a person’s character. Lizzie and Darcy find true love and companionship in each other once they let their egos out-of-the-way. I love reading their story because they are both full of faults (as we all are) and it’s the admission of their faults to each other that paves the way for a love to blossom between them.
Well readers, there you have my top ten literary couples. Let me know who your favorites are (whether they are in my list or have been omitted!)
Until next time, Happy Reading!