Oh, brother. Siblings are everywhere in literature – and in the real world, come to think of it – whether they’re causing trouble or swooping in to save the day. But when they form an alliance, ain’t nobody gonna hold ‘em back. So, to honor National Siblings Day and my real life little brother, here are some of my favorite literary siblings.
The Blackwoods, We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Sure, Constance and Merricat are a little strange — they’ve lived in isolation for six years, ever since the rest of their family died of arsenic poisoning. Constance was tried and acquitted, but the town still assumes she committed the crime. These may be twisted sisters, but they’re tough ladies who love and stick by each other. After all, who better than a sibling to hang out with you and do your grocery shopping while you hide from the world for six years?
The Bennets (at least, the oldest two), Pride and Prejudice
I can’t bring myself to care much for Kitty, Mary, or Lydia. But Elizabeth and Jane are two of my favorite literary sisters of all time. Gentle Jane balances Elizabeth’s rough edges beautifully, and they both care fiercely for one another. I mean, have you read the scene where Elizabeth rips Darcy a new one for taking Bingley away from Jane? And, when Elizabeth does what looks to her family like a 180 and falls for Darcy, Jane is the first to pull her chin off the floor and cheer for her sister’s happiness.
The Finches, To Kill a Mockingbird
Scout and Jem do a lot of growing up in Harper Lee’s first novel. Sure, they tease each other and get on each other’s nerves but, through it all, they look out for each other and help each other do the right thing. Of course, with Atticus to inspire them, how could they not?
The Quimbys, The Ramona Series
In Beverly Cleary’s beloved series, Ramona is forever getting on her older sister Beezus’s nerves. Having a little brother, I can relate. But, book after book, Beezus and Ramona show us that siblings’ friendships are tougher than their tendency to invade each other’s space and that, though they may not like each other all the time, they’ll always love each other.
The Baudelaires, A Series of Unfortunate Events
The protagonists of Lemony Snicket’s 13-book series, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny find themselves in trouble everywhere they turn and, though they’re young, they’re pros at playing on each other’s strengths in order to get out of one sticky situation after another. Violet (14) is a skilled inventor, Klaus (12) is a brilliant researcher, and Sunny (a very small infant) is an acclaimed biter and chef. Each of the three siblings is smart on his or her own, but they know that, together, they’re all but unstoppable.
Who are your favorite fictional siblings?
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