Literary Heroine Spotlight: Clary Fray

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There have been many movie heroines over the past couple decades but Clary Fray, from The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, is a fairly new character. This heroine is not the most popular, but she holds her own amongst a smaller fan base.

Clary Fray is a young adult living alone with her mother in a small apartment. She has been living a fairly normal life for a character her age, until everything changes. The world she lived in is no longer the same and she begins to realize that the stories of fairies, vampires, werewolves, and demons are all very much real. In the novel there are also orders or groups who work to keep peace in this type of realm. Clary discovers that she is a shadowhunter. Throughout the series, readers can find ways to look up to Clary Fray as a heroine and to let imaginations expand into realms were the stories we were told as children are all very much true.

There are many characteristics that make Clary a heroine, but the biggest one is her unique talent as a shadowhunter, which gives her the ability to make new rules and magic. She is able to explore her unique abilities that help her to become independent from her peers. She handles her talent with grace and uses it to help save the organization of the shadowhunters and keep the peace in a world full of the supernatural.

Spoiler alert! Clary also overcomes the issues that come along with being the offspring of a villain and therefore looked upon with much suspicion. She does not allow her father’s evil intentions and decisions to get to her or impact her decisions negatively. Clary actually strives harder to thwart her father and fights him throughout the entire series. She helps break the convention that children will become what their parents are or taught them to be. This contributes to Clary’s ability to stand up for herself and those she cares about. She follows the beat of her own drum and does what she feels is right and necessary. This is a characteristic that many readers may attribute to Clary’s heroine status.

In many novels, we see female characters having romantic interests or male characters that they stand apart from. Cassandra Clare writes the character Clary to rely on her romantic interest, Jace, particularly in the beginning of the series. As Jace and Clary begin to approach a relationship that may be more than friends, there is a dynamic shift in the plot. Clary begins to not only drift apart from Jace, but also begin to question almost all of his decisions throughout the rest of the series.

There is another main male character named Simon, who has been Clary’s best friend since the beginning. He also holds romantic feelings for Clary throughout the majority of the series. Readers could compare Jace and Simon to Edward and Jacob from the Twilight series, and the way that they pine after the leading female character. However, there is much more depth to Clary than there is to Bella Swan.

Clary Fray is a relatively new heroine in the 21st century. Clary displays many characteristics that would cause readers to view her as a heroine. She is quite different from heroines displayed in other popular novels, but this just makes Clary that much more unique.

Join me next week to discuss Tris from the Divergent series.

— Jessica Jordan, Managing Editor

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