GALLERY: 30 standout Oscars gowns over the years
GALLERY: 30 standout Oscars gowns over the years

Jennifer McShane

These gorgeous pots will zhuzh up even a slightly sad houseplant
These gorgeous pots will zhuzh up even a slightly sad houseplant

Megan Burns

This gorgeous redbrick home in Rathmines is on the market for €825,000
This gorgeous redbrick home in Rathmines is on the market for €825,000

Lauren Heskin

This bright Dublin 8 extension is a masterclass in adding life to a house
This bright Dublin 8 extension is a masterclass in adding life to a house

Megan Burns

10 Netflix picks worth a repeated watch
10 Netflix picks worth a repeated watch

Jennifer McShane

Why I can’t bring myself to post a make-up-free, filter-free selfie
Why I can’t bring myself to post a make-up-free, filter-free selfie

Aisling Keenan

5 clever hacks for a small kitchen
5 clever hacks for a small kitchen

Lauren Heskin

Image / Editorial

How To Be A Heroine


by Jeanne Sutton
24th Mar 2014
blank

?My whole life, I’d been trying to be Cathy, when I should have been trying to be Jane.?

How To Be A Heroine (Or, what I’ve learned from reading too much) by playwright and writer Samantha Ellis is a delight. It’s a memoir-slash-accessible-literary-criticism, slash-your-next-read. Ellis was inspired to revisit and reexamine her library after a trip to the haunting Bront? country of Yorkshire with a friend. An argument ensued about whether the calm and virtuous Jane Eyre or Wuthering Height‘s passionate and reckless Cathy Earnshaw was the better heroine. Ellis, older and wiser than the girl who consumed the classic tale of thwarted passion and wandering-the-moors soulmates, realized she may have gotten it wrong regarding Team Cathy and should have perhaps nailed her colours to a more sensible mast. This self-doubt sets in motion a journey through the western canon and the female protagonists that captured the reading imaginations. Turns out that Lizzy Bennet is still fabulous, Anne Shirley beats Sara’s passive A Little Princess hands down, Scarlett O?Hara might not be as likeable a bitch as we previously thought, and the original Sleeping Beauty is actually a bit of a feminist nightmare.

Jane-Eyre-movie-image-Michael-Fassbender-Mia-Wasikowska

The best parts of How To Be A Heroine however are when Ellis delves into her family history; her mother was an Iraqi jew who had to flee persecution in Baghdad across the mountains of Kurdistan. That escape attempt failed and she and her family were imprisoned. She eventually reached London, fell in love with Ellis? father and started a family there. This ‘storybook life? had all happened by the time she reached 22 and its legacy casts a sometimes sad shadow on Ellis? childhood. Growing up with a grandfather who never recovered from the treatment he received in his home country, she sees how serious and helpful imagination can be, but also how it can be redundant at certain times. And that’s the lesson How To Be A Heroine rams home. Being a sprightly can-do heroine is all well and good, but sometimes it’s the women who face their problems head on that are the really inspiring ones. Long live Jane.

Buy How To Be A Heroine here.

Jeanne Sutton @jeannedesutun

Also Read

blank
EDITORIAL
Eclipsed: The powerful, all-female play exposing a Magdalene Laundry you need to see

‘Eclipsed’ director Kate Canning told Jennifer McShane of the challenges...

By Jennifer McShane

blank
EDITORIAL
“You’re weird Mammy… other mothers iron”: Author Elske Rahill on writing and motherhood

“Every baby costs you a book” – that’s something women...

By IMAGE

Women with MS who take medication, especially immunosuppressants, cannot become pregnant unless they come off medication.
premium HEALTH & WELLNESS, REAL-LIFE STORIES
I had to weigh up the possibility of losing my mind against losing my future children

Holograms of the children she may never have dance across Dearbhla Crosses' mind as an MS diagnosis and Covid-19 are unwelcome reminders of her biological clock ticking.

By Dearbhla Crosse

Rosanna Davidson and her twin boys
premium REAL-LIFE STORIES, PARENTHOOD
Rosanna Davidson: ‘I had sort of accepted that I was a girl who couldn’t have a baby herself’

For Mother's Day Lia Hynes sits down with Rosanna Davidson, whose exceptional journey into motherhood has given many hope.

By Lia Hynes

blank
EDITORIAL
The unexpected benefit lockdown is having on our children

By Amanda Cassidy

Monica Lewinsky
RELATIONSHIPS
Monica Lewinsky will soon get to talk of scandal on her terms

It was on this day, January 17th, 1998, when news...

By Jennifer McShane

blank
HEALTH & WELLNESS
The trickle of information from the Government on restrictions has made a grim situation so much worse

By Amanda Cassidy