We seem to live in a world where real people are influenced by made-up characters. We form our opinions of the world based on what we read on the internet and see on TV, as well as by reading our favorite novels.
An example of this was discovered by BBC radio program Woman’s Hour recently. The show did a poll of listeners’ ideas about the women who have had the most impact on British women, naming the winning group its Power List.
Two of the women selected were unsurprising. One was Margaret Thatcher, prime minister of Britain between 1979 and 1990. She was the first female prime minister of the country and dominated British life for over a decade. Others included US singer Beyonce.
One of the other choices was surprising, however. Whereas most of those chosen were real people, a fictional character also made the list. Bridget Jones, creation of British novelist and journalist Helen Fielding, was named as an inspiration to women.
Jones featured in Fielding’s newspaper columns, before the author wrote books about the character. These were so successful that several movies were made based on the novels, with US actress Renee Zellweger playing Jones.
But what makes this character so important to women? Jones is loved, one suspects, because she is the opposite of Margaret Thatcher and Beyonce. She’s an ordinary woman living her life from day to day, and quite often makes a mess of it. Like many of her fans, she appeals because “everyone knows a Bridget [Jones]”, said Ayesha Hazarika, a Power List judge. In fact, many see Jones when they look in the mirror.
She drinks too much and is rather eccentric.
Known for her trouble with men, she has a complicated love life. Not only can she not find “Mr Right”, she can’t even find “Mr Half-right”.
However, the irony of the character is that she is hardly “Mrs Right” herself. Like everyone on the planet, she has her flaws, and this is what makes Jones endearing (讨人喜欢的) to her fans.
In a sense, she is an updated version of the heroines of Jane Austen, a writer who created many characters who seem as real as actual people to readers. Fielding even named Jones’ “Mr Right” after Mr Darcy of Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice.
Jones isn’t a “woman of achievement”. Like everyone else in the world, both men and women, she’s just trying to live as well as she can – while messing up a lot along the way.
琼斯并非是一个“有成就的女人”。就像世界上的其他人一样，不论男性女性，她只是尽自己所能好好生活 —— 尽管一路走来她也弄砸了不少事情。