(Updated June 15, 2013)
“Mr. Collins is a conceited, pompous, narrow-minded, silly man; you know he is, as well as I do; and you must feel, as well as I do, that the woman who married him cannot have a proper way of thinking.” –Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Austen neatly characterizes the disagreeable clergyman here, yet doesn’t condemn intelligent, sympathetic Charlotte Lucas for marrying him. (The seemingly odd couple appears to have a happy marriage, too.) Unlikely romantic couples are often thrown together as a result of unlikely circumstances—a spooky farmhouse for Wuthering Heights’ Heathcliff and Catherine, a Third-World hostage crisis for Roxane Cross and Mr. Hosokawa in Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto. Even the different personalities that mark nonromantic “dynamic duos” like Huckleberry Finn and Jim, or Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, deepen characterization while driving the plots of our favorite books.
We asked Red Roomers to write about their favorite unlikely couple in literature. Why did the author put them together, and why did they end up together or apart? A few posts stood out:
- Red Room's own Jennifer Kathleen Gibbons was justifiably outraged when filmmakers linked Beverly Cleary's beloved Beezus with Henry. In "Just friends, nothing more," Jennifer shows how the two were always "just friends," and explains why the should've stayed that way.
- Daisy Buchanan and Jay Gatsby from, of course, The Great Gatsby are member A.J. Attard's choice. She writes in "My favorite unlikely couple in literature..." that they "are a dream, a vision not only of love, but of the actual American dream."
- Author Mariette Ana Papic goes right to the beginning for her favorite unlikely couple. In "My Favorite Unlikely Couple: Adam and Eve," she sympathizes with the couple who, after all, aren't just themselves, but they're the Almighty Awesomeness that IS in a type of disguise."
These bloggers will receive a book by a Red Room author:
Jo Maeder’s two most recent books contain two vry different examples: In her memoir, How I Married My Mother, Maeder leaves her fast-paced New York life to care for her estranged, declining mother in the South. In her novel, Opposites Attack, a seemingly superficial American woman clashes with a famous, cultured French writer at an immersion school in the south of France. Two lucky bloggers will receive copies of Opposites Attack.
Jo said about the entries in this Creative Challenge: "They were all great. What talented writers there are on Red Room!" We agree, and hope you'll check out all the posts on this topic, and leave comments letting the bloggers know what you liked about their choices.
All of Red Room's past blog topics are here. Thanks as always for blogging!
–Huntington W. Sharp, Senior Editor, Red Room