Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly feature hosted by the fantastic blog The Broke and the Bookish. I’m also thrilled that I’m participating in my first TTT on my new blog! Hooray! This week you could choose any topic that completed the sentence: “Top Ten Books That Feature Characters Who ____.” I’ve read a LOT of fantastic books lately with protagonists who really, deeply challenge their society’s structure, and grapple with the shades of grey between what’s right and wrong, what’s tradition vs oppression, etc. I love reading about characters who struggle with their society in a real and meaningful way (even if they don’t always do the right thing, because it makes them that much more human) or who challenge societal norms by the way they choose to carry themselves in difficult situations, whether contemporary or dystopian. So this week my topic is “Top Ten Books That Feature Characters Who Challenge Society.”
1) The Handmaid’s Tale: Offred is a former feminist caught in a new society with a patriarchal regime. One of the “lucky” ones to be chosen as a handmaid to produce heirs for high ranking officials, she has to grapple with joining a potentially fatal revolution or living her oppressive- but safe- life.
2) The Winner’s Curse: Kestrel is the privileged daughter of the highest ranking Valorian general, and must struggle with her people’s oppressive enslavement of the Herranni while also facing cruelty by the oppressed. I was fascinated at how Kestrel was caught between two nations of people, acknowledging the potential for brutality and humanity that both exhibited.
3) The Hunger Games: Not for the obvious reasons you think! Katniss isn’t who comes to mind, but rather Gale, who must set aside his kind nature for the sake of war, or Prim, who helps people and patients in need despite them being from the oppressive class. Or even little Rue, who defies what everyone thinks someone so tiny is capable of in the area. This trilogy is rife with secondary characters who do extraordinary things that go against society’s norms.
4) Eleanor & Park: This entire book is about a romance that defies societal norms, crossing ethnic, economic, and social boundaries. The romance throws out all of the superimposed norms of what is deemed “attractive,” and Eleanor and Park are so brave for it.
5) Trouble: This book doesn’t shame teen pregnancy, but rather has characters who deal with their situation in unconventional, but interesting, ways. Hannah doesn’t let her pregnancy define her, and it manages to be more of a coming of age story for all people involved despite the “scandalous” situation.
6) To Kill A Mockingbird: This book is at it’s core a tale of challenging society’s perceptions of superiority, whether it be the superiority of a certain race, gender, or social class. Atticus Finch is one of my favorite book characters because he challenges so many everyday societal expectations and wars against them with determination to outshine even the strongest of dystopian heroes.
It looks like it’s only a top 6 today, but I only wanted to include characters who I felt really struggled against and challenged societal norms in a meaningful way! Did any of these books feature characters who you felt challenged society meaningfully?
What did you choose for your TTT topic this week? Let me know in the comments, and I’d love to stop by and visit!