For September’s Fictional Lessons for an All-Too-Real Life, I welcome Jenna (Butrenchuk) Greene, author and grade 6 teacher in Alberta, Canada. In her spare time Jenna dances, reads, writes, and paddles/coaches several dragon boat teams. Two of her YA novels are being released in the next few months: HEROINE (Aaspirations Publishing) and IMAGINE (Champagne Book Group – Feb 2015).
Jenna shows us what Elizabeth Bennett, Peregrin Took, and Red Riding Hood have in common. (Now that’s a good writer.)
At the heart of each tale is the characters.
When reading The Hunger Games, we weep at Rue’s tragic demise. While reading The Lord of the Rings, we curse Pippin’s missteps … (and may even throw the book across the room). We cheer for Elizabeth Bennett when she rejects proposals from unappealing candidates.
Each of these characters tug at our core. Not only that, they aid our psychological growth.
In one of the oldest version of the Red Riding Hood story, she is forced to eat part of her grandmother’s flesh and is nearly raped before escaping. Ick. And yet… Red Riding Hood escapes. She lives. She survives. Despite the HORRENDOUS obstacles put before her, she manages to fumble through. (See what I’m about to get to?) Stories teach us that people can be put in difficult situations and still survive. They can overcome an encounter, and possibly even learn from it. Now that’s a very uplifting notion.
So yes, I delve into Harry Potter looking for adventure, but I also learn that there are honorable people willing to be brave. Evil can be defeated. Good ol’ Jane Austen offered a plain-but-intelligent Elizabeth Bennett who learns from the mistakes of herself and others, and is celebrated for being independent and a bit outside the norm. Katniss Everdeen is a relatable character to those who’ve lost a parent, stood up for a sibling, or struggled against circumstances that seem insurmountable – all-the-while offering assurances that life is not all toil and depression. There are happy endings waiting and goals that can be achieved.
And best of all, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Peregrin Took, not a main character in life or on page, can make errors and live beyond them, becoming more than just another person … I mean hobbit.
Find out more about Jenna at her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jennabutrenchukgreene