Which fictional characters would you invite to sit with you at the lunch table? The bloggers at “Broke and Bookish” asked this question in their Top Ten Tuesday meme for this week. Click here for their blog.
This post is my answer to their question. However, rather than inviting these fictional characters to my lunch table, I want to invite them to my next happy hour. (I don’t eat lunch with other people, generally. I usually scarf something down in my office in between classes.)
1. Penelope from The Odyssey. She waited faithfully for 20 years for her husband Odysseus to return from the Trojan war. She knew the war was over after 10 years and she still waited patiently, even though she did not know whether he was alive or dead. It was most likely that he was dead. She hadn’t received so much as a Christmas card from him in all those 20 years. She was considered a model of Good Womanhood because of her faithfulness.
I am inviting her to happy hour because I want to know the truth. After a few drinks, I am going to ask her for the real scoop. Was she really faithful the whole time? Really? We wouldn’t blame her if she slipped up now and again. Perhaps there was some cute swineherd who cleaned up well and looked pretty hot after a rub-down with olive oil. You’re among friends, Penelope, you can talk frankly after all these years…
(I thought about inviting Odysseus, too, but he would just dominate the conversation and brag about his adventures. We already know the story, dude. Let someone else talk.)
- The Wife of Bath from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. This lusty, gap-toothed wench had five husbands and lots of stories to tell about them. In her day (before she turned the ancient age of 40), she was a hottie who knew how to charm a man into marrying her. She was a serious talker and had some sharp insights into gender relations. I would like to hear stories about her domestic adventures.
Source of picture here,
- Othello of Shakespeare’s Othello was also known to be a great story-teller. He had travelled widely and charmed Desdemona with his adventurous tales. I think he would be a charismatic addition to the happy hour conversation. I’d like to catch him before he is possessed by the green-eye monster, though. I want to warn him against Iago and talk some sense into him about Desdemona—before it is too late!
- Elizabeth Bennett of Pride and Prejudice. She is witty and fun and would be full of snarky comments about everyone else at the table. Of course, she is invited. The only problem is that everybody else wants her at their table, too, so I don’t know if she is available.
- Mr. Bennett of Pride and Prejudice. I have a soft spot for him, even though he’s not a very good father. I can identify with his desire to retreat from life to the library. He is well-read, and I suspect he’d be a good conversationalist. He would also, like his daughter, be full of snark, a definite plus at the dinner table.
6. Hester Prynne of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Beneath her proper Puritan demeanor lies a passionate, artistic woman. I’m sure she’d open up after a few glasses of wine and be the life of the party.
7. Ellen Olenska of Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence. Ellen was considered a disgrace to her upper-class New York society because she left her husband and thought about getting a divorce. (The husband had cheated on her blatantly and clearly didn’t care about her, but that is irrelevant.) The fact that she is disgraceful is already a good reason to invite her to happy hour. She is also, however, sophisticated, and open-minded, with a deep appreciate for art and culture. I would welcome her company.
- Jay Gatsby of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald would be charming as well. More important, he would almost certainly buy all the drinks.
9 and 10. What would happy hour be without some Russians? I’ll invite Anna Karenina and Vronksy as well. They should add some passion (however wrong-headed) and intensity to the gathering.
I’ll let you know how the happy hour turns out? Who would you invite to lunch or happy hour?