Comical Characters in Novels

The comical character in Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice is Mr. Collins. He is pompous, overly pleased with himself, and filled with a sense of his own importance. He spouts inanities to anyone who will listen to him. Overawed by having been chosen by the haughty Lady Catherine de Bourgh to be the rector in her parish, he uses every opportunity to gush about her attention to him (invitations to dine at Rosings!), the size of the rooms in her mansion, the number of windows, and the price of the staircase and the fireplace! He bows and scrapes and hangs on her every platitude.

He is the heir to the Longbourn estate which is entailed (only a male can inherit it). He pays a visit to Longbourn with the intention of marrying one of the Bennet sisters. Having no doubts about his attractiveness, he is offended when his proposal to Elizabeth Bennet is rejected.

When Lydia Bennet elopes with Mr. Wickham, Mr. Collins hastens to Longbourn to offer his hypocritical condolences which do not mask his delight at the family’s downfall. Oozing insincerity from every pore, he assures them that they will never recover from disgrace.

He is the epitome of schadenfreude (the malicious enjoyment of others’ misfortunes). Mr. Collins: created for the reader’s amusement by an author with a satirical eye and a sharp wit.

What are some of your favorite comical characters in novels? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Reviewing Romance: “Moon Tiger” Part Two

A few weeks after Claudia returns to Cairo, Captain Southern calls her–he has a two day leave. They meet and this is the beginning of their passionate love affair. For the next few months, they meet whenever he has a few days leave. Claudia realizes that for the first time in her selfish life she has met a man who has captured her heart. On his final leave, he asks her to marry him. He wants her to bear his child.

For several weeks after his return to the desert, Claudia hears nothing from him. Rumors start to circulate in Cairo that a huge battle is being waged–a titanic struggle to defeat Rommel. Knowing that Tom will be in the thick of this battle, Claudia is frantic with fear. She scrutinizes the casualty lists; Captain Southern is missing!

Though not religious, Claudia visits a cathedral to pray that he has only been taken prisoner. The thought that he might be lying injured, dying of thirst and unable to reach his water bottle, tortures her.

Her prayers are unanswered; the casualty list officer calls her to tell her that Captain Tom Southern has been killed. His body has been recovered.

A few weeks later, she discovers that she is pregnant. Many years later, she receives a package from his sister–his desert diary, which had been found in his effects.

To be continued in the next “Reviewing Romance” Series…Captain Tom Southern’s Desert Diary.

Great Romances – A Memorable Love Affair

Moon tiger is a green coil which is placed in a saucer; when it is lit, the smoke repels mosquitoes. Moon Tiger is also the name of the 1987 novel by Penelope Lively; winner of the Booker Prize in the U.K. For those of you looking for an epic love story to read after finishing Too Late for Regrets, here is the first part of my Moon Tiger review.

An elderly woman lies dying. The story of her long life is told through her memories. The central section of the book is her heartbreaking love affair with Captain Tom Southern, a tank Commander.

The Time: 1941-1942

The Place: The Libyan desert where tank battles are being waged. The British tanks are pitted against those of the Germans under the command of the Desert Fox, Rommel.

Claudia Hampton is a journalist; she is beautiful, independent, and willful. She wangles a ride in a truck which is traveling through the desert to headquarters where she is to interview some of the top brass.

The truck becomes bogged down in the sand. Through the murk of a sandstorm, a jeep appears. The driver is Captain Tom Southern who offers to take her to headquarters. Sitting next to him and dazed from lack of sleep, Claudia naps. Through half-closed eyes, she observes his hands on the steering wheel.

Forty years later, as she lies dying, she can recall with clarity those hands. The author’s description of the carnage Claudia sees as the jeep ravels through the desert is vivid and unforgettable.

To Be Continued Next Week…