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Romance at Heart Magazine is pleased to bring you Articles, Page 2 with some good reading about writing. Whatever your talent, or even if you just enjoy good reads, we hope this a well from which you can draw in the future!

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Well Behaved Women Rarely Make Antagonists:
Lessons from Fiction’s Most Famous “Nice Girls”

Article by Megan Munroe

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures,” and as the founder of "The Nice Girls Rule Movement" and author of “Bitch? Please! How Nice Girls Can Succeed in a Bitch’s World”, I wonder if Mr. Emerson would agree that the “nice girl” heroine in fiction doesn’t get the kudos she deserves in real life. Fables promote nice girls finishing first and praise them for morality and valiance, but reality applauds the opposite. In fiction, like Cinderella, we see the good girl getting the man, the castle, and the sexy glass heels, but the reality of our culture’s current climate is that the evil stepsister seems to be getting what the nice girl deserves.

If Ralph was right and fiction does reveal truth, then let’s celebrate some of fiction’s most famous nice girls and encourage each other to believe that the beauty of behaving well does have a happy ending.

Jane Bennet | Pride and Prejudice

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is the classic tale of unsuspecting love and fairytale endings. And despite the wide variety of lovable and intricate characters, the “nice girl” among them would have to be Jane Bennet. While her mild temperament and sweet-to-a-fault disposition almost cost her the love of Mr. Bingley, we were never happier for her when he finally did pop the question. Without conniving or gold digging, Jane Bennet reveals that you can have it all while keeping your heart in the right place.

Anne Shirley | Anne of Green Gables

Anne Shirley isn’t your typical nice girl. An orphan who grew up in a world where she was considered daft, Anne was often overlooked and misunderstood. A spirited redhead with a temper to match, she gets into trouble at school, irks her adoptive mother, and of course butts heads with her ultimate love, Gilbert Blythe. But her fiery attitude isn’t rooted in meanness. She desperately wants to be “angelically good,” but her vivid imagination always gets the better of her. An academic whiz, bosom friend, and kindred spirit, Anne Shirley is a model nice girl who teaches us you don’t have to be like everyone else to follow your dreams.

Lily Owens | The Secret Life of Bees

She may have accidentally killed her mother at the age of four, but that doesn’t mean that her dark past has any bearing on her bright future. In this story a fourteen-year-old white girl begins pondering the prevalent racism in rural South Carolina and progressively learns that love transcends skin color. Instead of smoking cigarettes behind the outhouse or judging others based upon appearances, Lily blossoms into a graceful young woman, who can teach all nice girls a thing or two about accepting those who are different than you.

Nancy Drew | The Nancy Drew Series

Most young girls read a Nancy Drew mystery novel at one point in their lives. Ms. Drew is a squeaky-clean sleuth with a penchant for unveiling secrets and setting things straight. Motivated by exposing the truth, Nancy teaches us to trust our instincts and to never second-guess our intuition, even when it seems that no one takes us seriously.

Georgia Walker | The Friday Night Knitting Club

Georgia Walker proves to all nice girls that second chances are the ultimate saving grace. Founder of a knitting club and single mother to her daughter Dakota, Georgia invites and inspires women in her community to become active members of each other’s lives and promotes a sense of sisterhood that is rarely found among women in our culture. Backbiting, jealousy, and covetousness are nowhere to be found, and instead, a bond of women is formed while each character grows and learns from each other. Georgia, in the end, discovers that even when you think your world is falling apart you are really just beginning to truly live.

Bella Swan | The Twilight Series

Bella is an unlikely nice girl. A moody, withdrawn type who doesn’t play super nice with those whose blood doesn’t run cold, she still has certain attributes that lend themselves to the nice-girl lifestyle. First, she doesn’t sleep with her high school boyfriend. (A feat in today’s sexually charged culture.) Second, she doesn’t cuss or wear revealing clothing. Third, she doesn’t run around boasting about Edward’s undying love for her or his super-sweet set of wheels. She’s humble, to the point of self-deprecation, and endearingly awkward. She’s proof that you don’t have to party, sleep with the football team, or wear sexy duds to get the guy or to possess eternal love.

Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan | The Help

Returning home is never easy, but when you are an unmarried woman “along in years” returning to Jackson, Mississippi, in the early 1960’s it is borderline taboo. But Skeeter Phelan is a nice girl who isn’t afraid to talk about taboos. In this beautifuly written story, Skeeter embarks on a journey to unveil truths about an often-overlooked society of women who are treated unfairly by their racist employers. She teaches nice girls that even when you are met with resistance, doing the right thing is worth the uphill climb.

Laura Ingalls | Little House on the Prairie

The wild frontier’s ultimate nice girl, Laura Ingalls took “honor thy father and mother” quite literally. Quick to help and never one to willingly disobey “ma” and “pa”, Laura’s actions have us asking is she a little too nice for reality? Her nice girl status shines through as she deals with her own share of troubles with a certain big B, Nellie Oleson. Their interaction in three of the Prairie books teaches all nice girls that exercising grace in the midst of even the meanest girls can help you rise above even the lowest of punches.

Katherine | The Taming of the Shrew

At first glance Katherine may seem like the biggest B on the block, but we discover as the story unfolds that even mean girls have a nice girl underneath if they are willing to dig deep enough for it. Unhappiness rules Katherine, so she turns to a sharp tongue and ill temper to keep people away. This is the exact type of insecurity that every B suffers from. This mean-girl-gone-good teaches nice girls everywhere that you shouldn’t jump to conclusions about a shrew in your life, and instead try to peel back some of her prickly layers one page at a time.

Hester Prynne | The Scarlet Letter

I know, I know. How did Hester Prynne make the list? She committed adultery and was the object of scorn and shame in her community. Well, nice girls don’t always get it right the first time. Nice girls make mistakes too, but Hester learned how to love the lowly in spirit through her experience and spent her free time caring for the poor and bringing them food and clothing. In the end, she becomes a hero to the women in her community and a confidant for other women who have suffered similar injustices.

There are so many wonderful examples of nice girls in literature, but these are just a few of my favorites. I encourage you to value and uplift the protagonist nice girl in your own life and to stay true to your own storyline, no matter what antagonist may be standing in your way.

Megan Munroe is the author of Bitch, Please! How Nice Girls Can Succeed in a Bitch’s World, and founder of the "Nice Girls Rule Movement". For more ideas on becoming the Nice Girl in your cast of characters visit: www.nicegirlsrule.blogspot.com or www.meganmunroeauthor.com.

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