Is there any better inspiration from which film, television, and literature has drawn from than our own South? There are so many rich settings, themes, and characters we take from Southern fiction. So whether it’s from a high school reading assignment or a Disney film, you can be sure you don’t have to look to hard to find a great Southern Fictional Character.
We’ve made a list of all our favorites, and then whittled them down to just the Top Ten. Who do you consider the quintessential Southern favorite?
10. Stella Kowalski
This Southern belle from Mississippi is the famous character from Tennessee William’s drama, A Streetcar Named Desire. The younger sister of the main character, Blanche, we chose Stella instead because of the haunting and unforgettable line, “Stella!”
9. Foghorn J. Leghorn
This Kentucky rooster is our favorite Southern cartoon. You’ll remember him, I say, you’ll remember him from Looney Tunes or Merry Melodies from Warner Brothers in the 1950’s.
8. Bo & Luke Duke
You can’t have a list of Southern characters without including these Georgia cousins. And they certainly were characters. The Hazzard County boys were staples in the early 80’s, and are as Southern as they come. Yee-haw!
7. Kenneth Parcell
This Georgia boy is known as “Kenneth the Page” on one of the funniest shows currently on television — 30 Rock. He just might be my favorite character, and I suspect that because of his kindness and loyalty, true Southern qualities, he might just be a lot of folks at Rockefeller Center most beloved as well.
6. Andy Taylor
This loveable sheriff from fictional Mayberry, North Carolina, played by Andy Griffith, was based on his real hometown of Mount Airy. His country smarts and genuine wisdom in every situation have made this character one of the most enduring on television. And, I’m pretty sure my father-in-law could quote you any line from any episode. He’s seen them all about a hundred times.
5. The Compson family
The infamous family from William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, which takes its title from the illustrious Shakespeare, also appeared in Absalom, Absalom! and other short stories Faulkner penned. They had once been prominent in Mississippi, and while their fortunes have faded over their 250-year history, their complex and troubled characters make for great reading.
4. Atticus Finch
One of the South’s most beloved stories comes in the form of book To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper Lee won a Pulitzer for his novel, and while there are many memorable characters — Boo, Scout, Jem, Calpurnia, Tom — Atticus is the patriarch that holds the little family, and story together. And to me, Atticus always looks a lot like Gregory Peck, pictured above, portraying Atticus Finch in the equally as celebrated film version of the story from 1962, for which he received the Academy Award for Best Actor in this role.
3. Forrest Gump
This little boy from Alabama sure could run, couldn’t he? And shrimp, and play ping pong… and just generally had a knack for being in the right place at the right time. But what we love most about him is his good heart. His Southern momma taught him right.
2. Huckleberry Finn & good friend Tom Sawyer
We can barely separate these two boys from around the Mississippi River parts, so we’ve listed these friends together here. They appear in both Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. They were constant friends to each other, and despite humble circumstances, a friend to others in need as well, such as slave fugitive Jim. And yes, I was a 90’s kid, so Tom Sawyer still looks a little like JTT to me!
1. Scarlett O’Hara
Now, really, who did you think would be my number one Southern character? Whether you fancy Margaret Mitchell’s heroine, or Vivien Leigh as the classic definitive character from Gone with the Wind, every Southerner has a picture of who Scarlett is. Elegant, funny, strong, proper, tragic — this belle of Tara grew into the most popular Southern lady, and our top favorite Southern fictional character!
So there you have it, our Top Ten Favorite Fictional Southern Characters. Did we leave anyone off the list you would include?