The Moon is in the Seventh House and Jupiter aligns with Mars, which means: a) Peace will guide the planets and Love will steer the stars, or b) we have a new series at the B&N Book Blog? Trick question, the answer is both! I have amassed a formidable collection of crystals from Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag’s estate, calibrated my cosmic vibrations, and positioned my personal library in a series of concentric circles surrounding me, and I am ready to plumb the astrological truths of literature. Convinced that characters, like “real” people, have personalities defined and ruled by the positions of the planets, I will now attempt to determine the Zodiac sign under which our favorite literary characters would have been born.
First sign: Capricorn. Celebrating their birthdays between December 22 and January 19, Capricorns are ambitious and determined worker bees (or mergoats, as the case may be) who crave status and recognition. They are pragmatic and reserved, and while they tend to be responsible and fair, they can also be miserly, fatalistic pessimists. We think these characters had to have been Capricorns:
Ebeneezer Scrooge (A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens)
Not to peg all Capricorns as grinches, but ol’ Scrooge represents the worst in the Goat. Scrooge’s bean-counting has made him a wealthy but miserly man who refuses to spend money even on coal. And “Bah! Humbug!” might be the most pessimistic line in the English language. Luckily, a little spiritual visitation is enough to bring out the “responsible and fair” part of his character.
St. John Rivers (Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë)
Even his weird name is a reflection of St. John’s pious ambitions, because Jane’s frigid cousin would love nothing more than to be a real saint. He loves Rosamond Oliver, but she just wouldn’t do as a missionary’s wife, so he makes the calculated decision to marry plain Jane instead. All business, this guy. Shocking that she chooses Rochester instead.
Dick Hunter (Ragged Dick, by Horatio Alger)
In the best known of Alger’s rags-to-riches novels, an orphaned street urchin gets in touch with his inner Capricorn, transforming, with a little help from his friends, into a ‘spectable “Esquire.” Dick, turned Richard, is the original Boy Done Good, determinedly bootstrapping his way to middle-class affluence and forever associating Capricorn qualities with the American Dream.
Winston Smith (1984, by George Orwell)
Goats aren’t usually rebels, but Winston isn’t your typical rebel, either. He’s a reserved revolutionary, opposing Big Brother through quiet but determined insubordination: keeping a diary, having a love affair, and thinking forbidden thoughts. Mostly, Winston is famous as a fatalist, convinced, even as he resists them, that the Party will eventually get him. Unfortunately, he’s right.
George F. Babbitt (Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis)
In the beginning, the titular Babbitt enjoys the results of classic Capricorn tendencies: He’s a successful, ladder-climbing, booster-clubbing real-estate agent living the bourgeois life. Stasis does not a novel make, however. Babbitt soon bucks his Capricorn ways with a good, old-fashioned midlife crisis, only to be disillusioned by his rebellion and brought back into the fold to live out the rest of his life in resigned middle-class conformity.
Next up: Aquarius!