What’s a fib here or there? We’ve all told a few lies– some small, and some more, well, Olympic-sized. But not all liars are malicious. Some liars are even downright lovable; whether it’s the cute, gold-medal worthy bad boy or one of fiction’s most well-known truth twisters.
Here are a few of literature’s most lovable liars:
1. Holden Caulfield, Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Ah Holden. One of the most pathological, incessant fictional liars, but let’s be honest…we all saw a little of our teenage selves in Holden Caulfield. He lies to himself more than he lies to anyone else. So how could you not love him at the end of the day (end of the chapter)? His likability stems more from eliciting readers’ sympathy than it does from any good-doing, but his quirkiness and ability to make life more interesting, even if it’s slightly deceitful, make it hard to dislike him.
And if someone is so honest about being a liar, doesn’t that at least make them a liar you can trust?
2. Severus Snape, Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
All of Snape’s lies are done in the name of his unconditional, undying love for Lily Potter. Could anything be more forgivable or heartwarming? He lies to the most powerful, deadly wizard to protect the child she had with a man who made his life miserable. I won’t pretend like Snape has many other lovable qualities, but at least his lily-love pulls your heart strings so hard you don’t care. Can we all agree that every awful thing Snape did was wiped off the record the second we saw into that pensive with Harry?
3. Pip, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
If you were to judge Pip’s lies by the level of guilt he carries, you would put him at the top of the heap– somewhere up there near our favorite fib-spewing politicians. Yet Pip really only tells two major lies in Great Expectations: covering up his theft to help a criminal and the extravagant lies about his experience at Satis House. And each can be easily justified out of fear and insecurity. But these insecurities, along with his romanticism and ambition, are what we relate to and love.
You can’t help but like Pip because he’s just so human.
4. Huck, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
You’ve got to give Huck credit for his full committal. I mean, he faked his own death. That’s not your run of the mill white lie. But as voluptuous and frequent as his tall tales are, they have obvious moral underlyings. Maybe he didn’t always need to go quite so far, but hey, I appreciate the pizzaz Hucky boy.
Huck’s moral compass always points due North (once you factor out dishonesty).
Whether you’re a swimmer or a wizard, we all lie. So, do it for the right reasons. Or at least make sure you have some other redeeming qualities like these lovable literary legends.
Who are your favorite literary liars and what makes you still love them?
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Featured image via Tristan Schmurr