Character Connection: Calpurnia Tate

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I apologize for not posting last week. I got busy with a lot of things. I will make a point in the future to at least have Mr. Linky scheduled to post every week.

Now. Calpurnia Virginia Tate.

Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Calpurnia, or Callie Vee, is a girl ahead of her time. It is 1899 in The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly, and Callie is 11 years old. She is living at the turn of a new century, new inventions are making lives easier, but she is still a girl living in a man’s world, and she’s not too happy about it.

At first, she doesn’t really seem to be too aware of it. She is still a child and she gets to run around and play and mostly do what she wants to do. Eventually though, she feels her mother starting to rein her in. She is forced to do more knitting, sewing, and cooking, and she hates it. She is not built for such pursuits, because she is a naturalist at heart.

She first ventures in this direction when she tries to figure out why some grasshoppers are green and some are a brownish yellow. She asks everyone, but few have time for her questions and none know the answer. Out of desperation, she ventures into her eccentric grandfather’s laboratory, and a deep friendship is born. With a few hints, Granddaddy points her in the direction of natural selection, and it’s like a light bulb goes on in Calpurnia’s head. This, she understands. This fascinates her. But she still has to face her mother and learning how to run a household. Because what else are girls good for?

Calpurnia knows that she is meant for more than a husband, children, and endless rounds of housework. She chafes constantly against the constraints put on her. Granddaddy is always firmly on her side and quietly helping her get what she wants. She is still only eleven (or maybe twelve–I can’t remember if she has a birthday) at the end of the book, but you know that she is going to get what she wants.

That’s what I admire the most about Calpurnia, but there is more to her than that. She is funny and honest and loyal, and she adores her family even when they are driving her crazy. She does some–misguided, shall we say?–things to them, but it comes out of a place of love. She also does a few things that she does not want to do at all, just to save a brother from having to do it.

Finally, here’s a quote that sort of sums up Callie’s worldview at this point:

“One day I would have all the books in the world, shelves and shelves of them. I would live my life in a tower of books. I would read all day long and eat peaches. And if any young knights in armor dared to come calling on their white chargers and plead with me to let down my hair, I would pelt them with peach pits until they went home.”

You just have to love her spunk.

She is so much her own character that I can’t think of anyone that I would cast in her role if a movie were ever made. Any suggestions?

Who did you connect with this week? Link your post on Mr. Linky, then be sure to go check out the other Character Connections!

Character Connection

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.

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.

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s, my local independent bookstore, and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site.

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  1. Calpurnia is such a great character, I am hoping for more books about her! I loved your character connection!

  2. I've heard so many great things about this book — and Calpurnia sounds like my kind of gal! I'll definitely be checking this one out. Fun feature!

  3. She sounds adorable! I simply loved that quote at the end…Lol! I think I'm putting this book down in my wishlist. It sounds like it would be a really good read!

    If she wasn't so grown up, I would've thought Dakota Fanning would be great in the part!

    I should have my character connection post up in awhile…

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