Literature retains a powerful hold on the imagination. Many people have favorite books that the read over and over, and the vividness of characterization that exists have led to many fictional beloved characters. Beloved characters exist for many different reasons. Some beloved characters emerged out of children’s literature providing a connection to an idyllic childhood. Characters such as Paddington Bear, Winnie the Pooh, or Curious George are examples of beloved children’s characters.
Adult literature is rife with beloved characters as well. Many of the works of Charles Dickens contained characters embodied with such pathos that readers developed emotional connections to them. Tiny Tim from “A Christmas Carol” can be considered to be a classic example. Because many of Dickens’ novels were published in serial form, readers became anxious about their fates. With Old Curiosity Shop, published in 1841, American readers awaited the arrival of ships bearing the latest copies, asking if Little Nell was still alive.
Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes was another early beloved character. When Doyle decided to kill off Holmes, public outcry was so great in Victorian England that he was forced to bring the beloved character back to life. Modern examples of beloved characters include those in the Harry Potter series, whose deaths frequently sparked emotional reactions in readers. The ability to create beloved characters is a hallmark of exceptional literary skill.