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"NPR: 100 Best Characters in Fiction Since 1900" broken down by gender and ethnicity

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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 08:46 PM
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"NPR: 100 Best Characters in Fiction Since 1900" broken down by gender and ethnicity
There are 67 white men (about 4 of whom are children, and about 3 of whom are developmentally disabled), 17 white women (about 5 of whom are children), 6 animals (1 of whom is female), 4 Hispanic men (I separated them out from white men), 3 black women, and 3 black men (one of whom is Indo-Trinidadian).

So you're as likely to make the list as a young white boy as you are to make the list as an adult Hispanic man, and you're as likely to make the list as a developmentally disabled white man as you are to make the list as a black man *or* woman. Almost one in three white women on the list are children. Animals are as likely to make the list as black people are.

As I haven't read all these books, I did the best I could with the gender and ethnicity of the characters.


1 - Jay Gatsby, The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925
2 - Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger, 1951 (counted as an adult)
3 - Humbert Humbert, Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov, 1955
4 - Leopold Bloom, Ulysses, James Joyce, 1922
5 - Rabbit Angstrom, Rabbit, Run, John Updike, 1960
6 - Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1902
7 - Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee, 1960
9 - Stephen Dedalus, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce, 1916
12 - Gregor Samsa, The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka, 1915
17 - Ignatius Reilly, A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole, 1980
18 - George Smiley, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, John LeCarre, 1974
21 - Nick Adams, In Our Time, Ernest Hemingway, 1925
22 - Yossarian, Catch-22, Joseph Heller, 1961
25 - Philip Marlowe, The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler, 1939
26 - Kurtz, Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad, 1902
27 - Stevens, The Remains of the Day, Kazuo Ishiguro, 1989
28 - Cosimo Piovasco di Rondo, The Baron in the Trees, Italo Calvino, 1957
30 - Oskar Matzerath, The Tin Drum, Gunter Grass, 1959
31 - Hazel Motes, Wise Blood, Flannery O'Connor, 1952
32 - Alex Portnoy, Portnoy's Complaint, Philip Roth, 1969
33 - Binx Bolling, The Moviegoer, Walker Percy, 1961
34 - Sebastian Flyte, Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh, 1945
35 - Jeeves, My Man Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse, 1919
36 - Eugene Henderson, Henderson the Rain King, Saul Bellow, 1959
37 - Marcel, Remembrance of Things Past, Marcel Proust, 1913-1927
40 - Peter Pan, The Little White Bird, J.M. Barrie, 1902
41 - Augustus McCrae, Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry, 1985
42 - Sam Spade, The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett, 1930
43 - Judge Holden, Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy, 1985
44 - Willie Stark, All the King's Men, Robert Penn Warren, 1946
45 - Stephen Maturin, Master and Commander, Patrick O'Brian, 1969
46 - The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, 1943
50 - Neddy Merrill, The Swimmer, John Cheever, 1964
52 - Meursault, The Stranger, Albert Camus, 1942
53 - Jake Barnes, The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway, 1926
57 - Grendel, Grendel, John Gardner, 1971
58 - Gulley Jimson, The Horse's Mouth, Joyce Cary, 1944
60 - Tom Ripley, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith, 1955
61 - Seymour Glass, Nine Stories, J.D. Salinger, 1953
62 - Dean Moriarty, On the Road, Jack Kerouac, 1957
64 - T.S. Garp, The World According to Garp, John Irving, 1978
65 - Nick Charles, The Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett, 1934
66 - James Bond, Casino Royale, Ian Fleming, 1953
67 - Mr. Bridge, Mrs. Bridge, Evan S. Connell, 1959
68 - Geoffrey Firmin, Under the Volcano, Malcolm Lowry, 1947
69 - Benjy, The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner, 1929
70 - Charles Kinbote, Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov, 1962
72 - Charles Ryder, Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh, 1945
75 - George Follansbee Babbitt, Babbitt, Sinclair Lewis, 1922
76 - Christopher Tietjens, Parade's End, Ford Madox Ford, 1924-28
79 - Tarzan, Tarzan of the Apes, Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1914
80 - Nathan Zuckerman, My Life As a Man, Philip Roth, 1979
81 - Arthur "Boo" Radley, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee, 1960
82 - Henry Chinaski, Post Office, Charles Bukowski, 1971
83 - Joseph K. The Trial, Franz Kafka, 1925
84 - Yuri Zhivago, Dr. Zhivago, Boris Pasternak, 1957
85 - Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, J.K. Rowling, 1998
88 - Jim Dixon, Lucky Jim, Kingsley Amis, 1954
89 - Maurice Bendrix, The End of the Affair, Graham Greene, 1951
90 - Lennie Small, Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck, 1937
92 - Alden Pyle, The Quiet American, Graham Greene, 1955
93 - Kimball "Kim" O'Hara, Kim, Rudyard Kipling, 1901
94 - Newland Archer, The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton, 1920
95 - Clyde Griffiths, An American Tragedy, Theodore Dreiser, 1925
97 - Quentin Compson, The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner, 1929
98 - Charlie Marlow, Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad, 1902
100 - Augie March, The Adventures of Augie March, Saul Bellow 1953

-------------

8 - Molly Bloom, Ulysses, James Joyce, 1922
10 - Lily Bart, The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton, 1905
11- Holly Golightly, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Truman Capote, 1958
14 - Lolita, Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov, 1955
16 - Clarissa Dalloway, Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf, 1925
19 - Mrs. Ramsay, To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf, 1927
23 - Scarlett O'Hara, Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell, 1936
24 - Scout Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee, 1960
48 - Jean Brodie, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark, 1961
54 - Phoebe Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger, 1951
56 - Antonia Shimerda, My Antonia, Willa Cather, 1918
65 - Nora Charles, The Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett, 1934
71 - Mary Katherine Blackwood, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Shirley Jackson, 1962
73 - Claudine, Claudine at School, Colette, 1900
77 - Frankie Addams, The Member of the Wedding, Carson McCullers, 1946
86 - Hana, The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje, 1992
87 - Margaret Schlegel, Howards End, E.M. Forster, 1910

------------

29 -Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne, 1926
38 - Toad, The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame, 1908
39 - The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss, 1955
63 - Charlotte, Charlotte's Web, E.B. White, 1952
78 - The Dog of Tears, Blindness, Jose Saramago, 1995
96 - Eeyore, Winnie the Pooh, A.A. Milne, 1926

-----------

15 - Aureliano Buendia, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1967
47 - Santiago, The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway, 1952
49 - The Whiskey Priest, The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene, 1940
74 - Florentino Ariza, Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1985

----------

51 - Sula Peace, Sula, Toni Morrison, 1973
55 - Janie Crawford, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston, 1937
99 - Celie, The Color Purple, Alice Walker, 1982

-----------

13 - The Invisible Man, Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison, 1952
20 - Bigger Thomas, Native Son, Richard Wright, 1940
91 - Mr. Biswas, A House for Mr. Biswas, V.S. Naipaul, 1961 (I'm not sure whether to count an Indo-Trinidadian as black or not. :shrug:)

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=105x8547194

http://www.npr.org/programs/totn/features/2002/mar/020319.characters.html

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frylock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 08:58 PM
Response to Original message
1. no tyler durden?!
Edited on Wed Feb-25-09 09:00 PM by frylock
Tyrone Slothrop, anyone?
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fishnfla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 09:11 PM
Response to Original message
2. They are fictional characters
Edited on Wed Feb-25-09 09:12 PM by fishnfla
they have to be chosen based on what? gender and race equality?

Its some stupid subjective " best of " list.
'tis something, 'tis nothing....and has been slave to thousands (Edit: borrowed from shakespeare)

Because I just cant see a black woman as the protagonist in "Heart of Darkness"
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Berry Cool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 09:30 PM
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3. None of the characters from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn made it?
No Francie? No Johnny? No Katie? No Sissy?
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nsd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 09:33 PM
Response to Original message
4. Mr. Biswas was Asian Indian.
I think you divided the others up correctly -- at least the ones I recognize.

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Vinnie From Indy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 09:35 PM
Response to Original message
5. Ignatius Reilly
A deserving choice!

No Tyler Durden?
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bread_and_roses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 09:41 PM
Response to Original message
6. On a quick count, four women authors?
I might have missed one - tired eyes. I was going to go back and count non-white authors, but realize my eyes are too tired (I think I need glasses). Maybe someone else will. Four out of one - hundred.
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nsd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 09:49 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. I count 13 women authors.
Edited on Wed Feb-25-09 09:52 PM by nsd
Harper Lee
Patricia Highsmith
J.K. Rowling
Edith Wharton
Virginia Woolf
Margaret Mitchell
Muriel Spark
Willa Cather
Shirley Jackson
Colette
Toni Morrison
Zora Neale Hurston
Alice Walker

A couple have more than one book on the list.


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bread_and_roses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-26-09 07:28 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. Thanks, that's a lot better than four
I really was tired last night - I scanned down the first group only, thinking it was the entire 100.
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OmmmSweetOmmm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-25-09 09:44 PM
Response to Original message
7. Where's Vito Corleone?
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rucky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-26-09 07:39 AM
Response to Original message
10. Kilgore Trout n/t
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ThomWV Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-26-09 07:52 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. Yep
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Reader Rabbit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-26-09 08:10 AM
Response to Original message
12. Any list that doesn't have Miles Vorkosigan on it is suspect.
Hell's bells, any list that doesn't have ANY sci-fi/fantasy characters on it is suspect! Genly Ai and Therem Harth rem ir Estraven? Ofelia from Remnant Population? Frodo Baggins? Winston Smith, for fuck's sake?

Many of the characters on their list were some of the most tedious individuals I ever had to read about. Gah, what a crappy list!
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