The best literary characters of all time

What makes a great literary character? According to today’s conversation on Midmorning they grow and change, wrestle with conflict, make you see the world through different eyes and appeal to a part of us that others might not see. Oh and they stay with us.

Today callers shared their favorite characters of all time – I’ve compiled a list for your reading pleasure. Is your favorite character missing? Let me know. You can listen to this morning’s conversation by clicking on the link below:

The best literary characters of all time:

Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird)

Guy Montag (Farenheit 451)

Holden Caulfield (The Catcher in the Rye)

Anne of Green Gables (series by L.M. Montgomery)

Jane Eyre

Glory (Glory Goes and Gets Some) – MN author Emily Carter

Beezus (Beezus and Ramona)

Jo March (Little Women)

Det. Harry Bosch (17 mysteries starting with The Black Echo)

Huck Finn

Gus McCrae (Lonesome Dove)

Santiago (The Alchemist)

The Doctor (The Plague)

Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s)

Lisbeth Salander (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)

Dagny Taggart (Atlas Shrugged)

Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice)

Rabbit (John Updike’s series of novels)

Anna Karenina

The Doctor (Cider House Rules)

Horatio Hornblower (C.S. Forester series)

Spencer (Robert B. Parker series)

David Copperfield (the book by Dickens, not the magician)

Dorothea Brooks (Middlemarch)

Sherlock Holmes

Okonkwo (Things Fall Apart)

Mrs. Murry (A Wrinkle in Time)

Edgar Sawtelle (The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: A Novel)

Roland (Stephen King’s Gunslinger series)

Captain Ahab (Moby Dick)

Trixie Belden (The Trixie Belden Series)

Philip Marlowe (Raymond Chandler character)

  • Sally Wright

    Owen Meany!

  • Jason Bourne

    James Bond

  • lisa

    Pip

  • Elizabeth Bennett Pride and Prejudice

  • Brant Foutch

    Gulliver

  • Frodo

  • Joanne

    Kay Scarpetta

  • Daniel Pinkerton

    Well, it’s hard to top Jane Eyre, but I also like Lear (King Lear) and Prospero (The Tempest).

    I was also amused, surprised, and even moved by a character who never does have a name but makes an incredible personal journey in Nick Harkaway’s “The Gone-Away World”: the first-person narrator.

  • Joette

    Harriet Vane (from the Dorothy L Sayers Wimsey mysteries). Laura Ingalls. Ulrika (from the Emigrants series of books by Vilhelm Moberg).

  • Joette

    Harriet Vane (from the Dorothy L Sayers Wimsey mysteries). Laura Ingalls. Ulrika (from the Emigrants series of books by Vilhelm Moberg).

  • Dana Schumacher-Schmidt

    I finally read The Grapes of Wrath this summer and fell in love with the entire Joad family. If I had to pick just one character as “the best,” it would be Ma Joad, hands down.

  • Matt

    Arkady Renko