Have you ever had that realisation while reading a book, that here is a character that you can relate to? As readers, I’m sure there are often parts of a book that we can relate to – it may just be one small thing, but there is usually something. But, have you ever come across a book and been able to personally relate to a character in a way you haven’t experienced while reading a book before? This book for me was Graceling, by Kristin Cashore.
You may wonder: But, this is a fantasy book. It involves Graces… Wait. Do you have a Grace? Do they exist? Okay, you probably wasn’t thinking that Grace part, but even though it does indeed involve a fictional world and people who have certain fictitious abilities, that doesn’t mean you can’t relate to certain parts of the book. For me, it was Katsa. Katsa may be a Graceling – which for those of you who haven’t read the book, this means she was born with a certain skill/ability – but in this book I found a character I could relate to in a way I haven’t before.
I may not be able to relate to Katsa’s fighting abilities (I wish), but I can relate to her on a certain personal level. I can relate to having to deal with a controlling person whose voice you can’t stand hearing – in the book her uncle is the controlling person. The thing that I can really relate to though is her desire to not have children or get married. I admire her conviction in knowing what she wants, or in this case what she doesn’t want. This is what struck a cord with me in Graceling: a book that portrayed a different type of character. A book where it is shown that someone may want something different.
People don’t question Katsa’s fighting skills as a girl because of her Grace, but they question her decision to not want what is expected of females: marriage and children.
“You’re not an unnatural woman, Katsa. You can fight as other women can’t, but you’re not so different from other women. You’ll want babies. I’m certain of it.”
It was refreshing to find a character whom I can relate to on this level. This should be a personal choice and it shouldn’t be assumed that just because you are female that you have to have children and get married. I have heard of instances where a woman says she doesn’t want children and the response was something like: But you’re a woman. This just angers me! I believe all different kinds of people should be represented in literature. We are all different, are we not? We have different desires and this should be represented in the books we read.
Graceling is a tale of a girl who breaks free of a controlling king by taking her life into her own hands by learning to not fear her Grace and what she is capable of. She takes back control by choosing to not kill. She fights for what’s right and I admire that. Read the book, it contains a collection of great characters. I’m glad to have found a character like Katsa.