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Literary Matchmaking

Toby Shuster / Tuesday, February 9, 2010 Comments Off

true love

Unfortunately, our favorite literary characters don’t always shack up with the perfect mates. So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, here’s a list of hypothetical couples that should make any dedicated reader swoon.

Ophelia + Randall McMurphy: Madness loves company. After her father is accidentally killed by Hamlet, Ophelia is so nuts that she doesn’t even know which direction is up. What better companion for her than McMurphy, the man who made a sport of craziness? These two can build a cuckoo’s nest of love. And, if it doesn’t work out, there’s always the lobotomy chamber.

Emma Woodhouse + Patrick Bateman: To some people, status is the most important quality in a partner. Jane Austen’s well-born and well-bred Emma is such a snob that she’s sure to fall for Patrick Bateman, the highly successful and refined Manhattan executive. And Bateman will appreciate that she’s dense enough to overlook his unwieldy habits of cannibalism, corpse sex, and heavy Huey Lewis rotation.

Jo March + Philip Marlowe: Sometimes, hardboiled passion is all you need to sustain a relationship. Disinclined to give a damn what anyone thinks, Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe character likes his women the way he likes his gimlet: strong and to the point. Jo March’s stubborn streak and bold affection – as seen in Little Women – are just the remedy to soften this hardened detective.

Emma Bovary + Jay Gatsby: Look, money can buy love, so don’t pretend otherwise. And when you take someone like Emma Bovary, a dirt poor country girl who harbors all kinds of idealistic romantic illusions, the pickings are slim. Let’s give her a break and set her up with Jay Gatsby, a man so loaded he doesn’t know what to do with himself except throw lavish parties and stare at some green light of symbolism all night.

Tess Durbeyfield + Pangloss: Extravagant contrasts sometimes make for positive results.  And Tess of the d’ubres has had such a crappy hand dealt to her – poverty, extreme suffering, execution – that she deserves an optimistic influence. Pangloss, from Voltaire’s Candide, is as faithful and freethinking as they come. Hopefully, he’ll be able to bring some enlightenment to Tess’s drab existence and get her to lighten up a bit.

Holly Golightly + Victor Frankenstein:  Think of beauty and the geek; the socialite and the scientist. Elegant and free spirited, Holly will be out at a fabulous party somewhere while Victor entertains his creations in the lab. Then they can meet up at home every once in a while for some down to earth domesticity.

Anne Shirley + Willy Wonka: Some couples prefer to let their imaginations run free. So the talkative and cheerful young lady of Green Gables would drool all over Willy’s choco factory. Plus, Wonka would be into Anne because of her bright red hair and her ability to relate to the oompa loompas. And what girl wouldn’t love an unending supply of candy?

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  • SC

    what a wondeful article!

  • SC


  • Gary

    Wonderful matchups! Emma and Jay would have been a nice story.

    I would have loved to have Carrie Bradshaw or Edna Pontellier coupled up with Grendel.

  • http://www.globalsportsfraternity.com HPL

    Ophelia and Randall is spot on. How about one of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew? They could solve all sorts of mysteries together. It would probably have to be Frank Hardy, though…he was always a bigger pimp than Joe.

  • http://www.citizenrobot.com sherrie

    Now would have been an appropriate time to try to smash Holden Caulfield into an uncomfortable date – or are you sparing his imaginary feelings out of mourning?

    And all your matchmaking is so straight! All these people could probably use a date:


  • maggie

    maybe queer couples for next year!

    now I want to see some short steamy stories with all this fantastical romance played out…

  • claire

    I know, Maggie! Creepy fanfic time!!!!

  • Mary

    Emma and Patrick is genius. I like the idea of Edna Pontellier with Grendel, too. Payback for all the times I had to read her sob story. And I still stand behind Isabel Archer + Heathcliff. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  • emilyfitz

    I think the Anne of Green Gables and Willy Wonka pairing is pretty creepy. But that’s probably because I only read the books where she was really young! haha

    I wonder who could be paired up with Edna Pontellier from “The Awakening” by Kate Chopin….

  • http://plasmapool.org/2010/02/10/happily-ever-after-2/ Happily Ever After – Plasma Pool

    [...] list of seven dream love  connections from literature. I cannot wait for Mrs. Emma [...]

  • zae

    this was the best thing i’ve read this week. what a way you have with words! keep up the superb work!!!!!!!!

  • http://e6n1.blogspot.com/ e.lee

    Sebastian Faulks already wrote a parody in ‘Pistache’ that paired Emma with Patrick Bateman

  • http://lesserkey.blogspot.com/ Tere Kirkland


    “And Bateman will appreciate that she’s dense enough to overlook his unwieldy habits of cannibalism, corpse sex, and heavy Huey Lewis rotation.”

    LOL. They deserve each other.

    Thanks for the laugh!

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