Tag Archives: HEIDI

The 52 Lists Project #2

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Week #2: List your favorite characters from books, movies, etc.

(Well, I love this assignment!)

  • Heidi, from the book of the same name, for her love of animals, devotion to Grandmother, and her trust in Meadow Nuncle.
  • Jo March, from Little Women, for her temper (that she worked to control), for writing, thinking contrarily and challenging the ideas of how a woman should behave.
  • Huckleberry Finn, from the book of the same name, for coming through a hard life with a spirit of good fun, his daring nature intact and a true sense of right and wrong.
  • Lulu Lamartine, from Love Medicine and other books by the same author. Louise Erdrich creates wonderful characters. They are as real as any fictional people I’ve known, with deep flaws, big hearts and attitudes that I know I’ve run into in real life.The central character of one book may show up as a bit player in another, so it’s possible to get a sense of their whole lives, and how things turned out.
  • Taylor, from The Bean Trees and Pigs in Heaven. Barbara Kingsolver is another author with great characters. Her men are good; her women are strong. She gives me hope for the world.
  • Garp, from the book and the movie, The World According to Garp. John Irving, again, is an author with a whole collection of wonderful characters. Garp was the first one I got to know, and is still my favorite.
  • E.T., from the movie of the same name.
  • Superman, as played by Christopher Reeves, in the movie of the same name.
  • Billie Elliot, from the movie of the same name.
  • Erin Brochovich, from the movie of the same name.
  • Amelie, from the movie of the same name.
  • Mr. Holland, from Mr. Holland’s Opus.

This should be a much longer list.

With time to research and make up for my failing memory, it could be a much longer list. I have been enriched and inspired by characters created by others for all of my life. These are just the ones that I remember today. They are the ones that made the list this morning.

 

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#38 Johanna Spyri and Heidi

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My life has been greatly influenced by Johanna Spyri and the character she created, Heidi.

I cannot separate them.

I cannot separate them, even, from the book that brought them into my life. I have it here in front of me. The cover has illustrations from other children’s books – Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island, Pinocchio – in many colors over a gold background. A large blue rectangle in the upper left hand corner displays the title in bold white upper-case letters. The binding is torn and the edges of the pages are discolored. Inside, there is only one color illustration, at the front. There are a very few black and white pictures at the ends of some chapters. Some child wrote “T e e” in pencil on the page that lists the contents; lines in red ink frame the word “HEIDI” on the title page. On the last page, in a childish scrawl in blue ink, I wrote, “A very very good book!” My name is written in cursive on the top right hand corner of the first page, just inside the cover. The “Y” in Cindy has a curled flourish at the end of the tail and the “G” in Ricksgers looks much more like a “Q”. The entire signature looks a little wobbly. I had just turned ten-years-old when I wrote it.

I received the book from my mother and father, for my tenth birthday.

I was an early reader, and enjoyed books, but had never owned one all to myself.

I don’t know if I’d ever read a chapter book before.

Heidi was sassy, smart and kind. She loved animals and the outdoors. She was not intimidated by her gruff Grandfather.

I fell in love with the mountains and the meadows and the wind in the treetops; with Meadow Nuncle, his cabin and workshop, and with the goats. I cried when Heidi was sent to the city, and suffered through all of the horrors of loneliness, confusion and sadness with her. I despised Miss Rottenmeier and pitied little Clara. I rejoiced when Heidi was able to return to her mountain home and read with interest how her new knowledge and worldliness improved the lives of those around her.

I remember the feeling of wonderment, that words on a page had such power over my emotions.

I wonder at it still, though I’ve learned to expect it.

This was the beginning of a lifelong love of books and reading, that has enriched my life beyond measure.

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