Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bad-Ass Heroines

As I look back at my favorite movie of the summer, Man of Steel, I am meditating on the parts of the movie that were my favorite. Whenever I worked at the cinema (my bosses will love this if they actually read my blog) I would sneak away at the same time every shift to catch the scene where Lois, played by the scene-stealing Amu Adams, is assisted by the memory of Jor-El, played by none other than Russel Crowe. Why was this scene one of my favorites? Let me explain.

In this scene, Lois is trapped on the fortress ship. It's only after she's tried banging on the door for help that she turns and noticed a tiny hole in the framework that is the same shape as an object Clark handed her just before they were captured. She discovers that it's a key. After pressing the key into the lock, Jor-El appears and helps her to escape back to Metropolis.

The characters are showcasing their resourcefulness and ability to learn and develop mentally, just like us. Lois is ready to learn on the fly, and she extends her disbelief at speaking to a digital hologram of Jor-El, so we as the audience also suspend our own disbelief. (For those of you who couldn't, aka, the girl at the concession stand that one time who told me the movie was horrible and that Smallville was also an unwatchable show - shame on you! Just kidding. But, perhaps movies and books about space beings aren't your cup of tea.)

This act of using her wit instantly bonds me mentally with Lois. A character like that is not unlike another famous literary heroine, Hermione Granger. She also connected with readers because she constantly used her wit to get herself and her friends out of danger, and if she didn't know what to do, she learned what to do. Isn't this what we do in real life? True, we aren't fighting an evil dark Lord, but we are learning how to survive our everyday lives and using what we've learned to help each other.

My main character, Shelley, is also one of those types who learns on the fly as she encounters ghosts and demons. I hope that she's resourceful. It's these kind of heroines who pull the plot along when the hero is stuck in his stubborn ways (ahem...Harry). If you're stuck with your characters, try having them learn something new - encounter a new idea or item that they've never seen before. You might be surprised what happens!