Don’t you just love larger-than-life characters? The ones who jump off the page and grab you? Whether you love them or hate them, you can’t be indifferent to them.Rachel Kalama, the main character in Moloka'i by Alan Brennert, is a fighter and an optimist. In 1892, at the age of seven, she is diagnosed with Hansen's Disease, commonly known as leprosy. Hawaiians, having been such an isolated population for so long, were particularly susceptible to this disfiguring disease. To control the spread, the Board of Health established a leper's colony on the island of Moloka'i. Everyone who was diagnosed with the disease was ripped away from their family, friends, and communities and shipped off to live out whatever time remained to them on Moloka'i.
I would love to know about the characters who just won’t leave you! Most of you will probably post about how much you love (or loathe) each character, but this is a great place for the more creative ones among you to let go and have fun! Write yourself into a scene with Anne and Diana. Write a love poem in elvish for Aragorn. Draw a picture of Harry obliterating Voldemort. The possibilities are endless.
Be sure to post the book's title and author, and be very careful not to give away spoilers while talking about how much you love your characters.
Mr. Linky will be posted here on The Introverted Reader every Thursday.
So off Rachel goes.
Of course she's angry and confused and hurt and feels abandoned. She's seven. She doesn't really understand what's happening to her. Heck, the older people who are sent over there feel the same way and they sort of do understand.
But she's also young, adaptable, and an eternal optimist. And that's the Rachel that I adored.
This is the spirit who finds herself confined to a few square miles because of a disease.
She holds out hope for a cure though. She is fortunate in that she has just enough resistance to the disease to slow its progress through her body. As her friends are disfigured and die from complications, Rachel actually blossoms into a beautiful young woman, still dreaming of the wider world. Whenever a doctor has a new idea for something that might cure, or at least slow, the leprosy, Rachel is the first to sign up. Mostly for selfish reasons, but also because she doesn't want other children to go through the wrenching separation from family that she endured.
Even confined to her small little settlement, Rachel seizes life and wrings everything she can out of it. She makes lasting friendships, surfs, swims, reads, befriends newcomers, and enjoys beauty wherever she can find it. Talk about blooming where you're planted.
I won't say more because I'll start getting into spoilers. But Rachel Kalama is a remarkable female character and I felt bereft when I finished her story and realized I wouldn't be spending any more time with her.
Who did you connect with this week? Link your post on Mr. Linky, then be sure to go check out the other Character Connections!
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