As a student of the Well-Educated Mind, I am required to keep a list of characters. Author Susan Wise Bauer suggests that I not only list characters but give a brief description for each one. I’ve tried a couple different ways of doing this.
For Don Quixote I listed characters on index cards that I used as a book mark. This got frustrating since there were so many characters and so few of them ever made a reappearance. I think by the time I finished the book I had five index cards covered front and back with tiny script. As an added insult, the cards continually fell out of my book, losing my place.
For Pilgrim’s Progress I used the same format with some of the same frustration. Few characters return in later chapters. At least in this book, the characters’ names are their descriptions, so that part was easier.
For Gulliver’s Travels I confess that I neglected to keep a list. I was so wrapped up with end notes that I completely forgot about it. Again, it wasn’t that big a deal because once Gulliver left a location, he never came back.
For Pride and Prejudice, the first character-based novel on our list, I planned to do a stupendous job. SWB suggests when there are lots of related characters, one should make a family tree. This sounded like a great way to maintain the list (and to gather blog post material!). Sadly, I do not know anything about family trees, and it took me many chapters to figure out who was related to whom and how. I abandoned that idea and created a list organized by family in my journal (the one I use for chapter summaries).
I finished the novel. Still I dreamed of a P&P family tree. Fortunately there’s google and Wikipedia.
It’s not a family tree, but isn’t it beautiful?! It’s more of a family web. A family and friends web.
I love how it shows the relationships between the characters.
Oh, what a tangled novel! What a web! Though I suppose it is a web without a spider…
Unless you think of Lady Catherine as the spider, using her silken threads of wealth and power to compel others to do her bidding…
Maybe there was a spider after all.