New Year’s Eve is typically the only day of the year when you’re encouraged to get shitfaced on champagne and make promises you probably won’t keep. (If you do that throughout the year, you’ll soon find yourself in a 12-step program.) Many people make resolutions to lose weight, to quit smoking, to spend more time with their families and other boring things, but let’s face it: Most resolutions are just admissions of the things we screwed up last year.
So instead of dwelling on those regrets, let’s focus on the resolutions of our most beloved literary characters. After all, their endearing fuck-ups have made them some of the most captivating figures in fiction. Here are 20 resolutions they would likely make and almost certainly not keep:
1. Alexander Portnoy:
“Okay, resolutions: The worst thing I did this year was fuck up my family’s dinner, so I should probably stop doing that. I should also probably seek a different psychologist after that stupid joke he made last appointment. Now vee may perhaps begin, my ass.”
2. Miss Havisham:
“The afterlife has been kind of boring without any marriages to sabotage — but I swear, I’m done with that. I mean, I still feel terrible about toying with Pip’s love life. Really messed that up. ... So I guess the only goal I have for the new year is to haunt the living hell out of the terrible man who left me at the altar.”
3. Holden Caulfield:
“Goals for this year? Get back to school, and stop driving myself goddamn crazy.”
4. Humbert Humbert:
“I can never forget my Lolita, but this year, I think it’s best I try to move on: break out of jail, teach a class, meet new people — preferably someone who ignites the fire in my loins.”
5. Dick Diver:
“For the new year, I would really like to ease down on my drink. I might also give it another go trying to patch up my marriage. ... Not so sure how I’d accomplish both things at once.”
“After that whole thing with Desdemona, I was thinking about attending anger management this year and, you know, working on my jealousy issues.”
7. Holly Golightly:
“I’ve been thinking of a change of scenery for this new year — not as if I’m no longer in love. I love him, I really do, but I’ve been thinking of maybe going to Paris this time. Or Thailand. Or to visit my good friends in Belgium. Oh, Belgium would be splendid!”
8. Edie Middlestein:
“This year, I’ll stay healthy for my family. I’ll try not to snack late at night, and when I go to the Golden Unicorn, I’ll order smaller portions, no matter how damn succulent those pork buns are.”
9. Laura Lamont:
“This year, I’m either making a comeback or a time machine.”
10. Clarissa Dalloway:
“I think I’ll make it a goal to see Peter and Sally more often. To think we all lost touch! I should send them letters at the very least. Or maybe I’ll throw another party in honor of that brave man, Septimus.”
11. Caroline Meeber:
“I should really make more of an effort to say ‘thank you’ rather than being such a, well, such an ungrateful brat. After all, my sister is letting me stay with her in Chicago and all I do is complain about how gross her house is! And, yes, her house is gross. It is so very gross. I really cannot overemphasize how disgusting her home is. Dirty and small, and covered in dust ... it’s terrible. Still, I shouldn’t be ungrateful.
You know, on second thought, I think I’ll make my resolution to move out. Being gracious is overrated.”
12. Esther Greenwood:
“I really ought to give New York another chance. This year was defined by that terrible, terrible summer, but certainly New York isn’t just frivolous banquets hosted by Ladies’ Day magazine. Perhaps I’ll give it another go this summer. Oh, and I’d like to try out dry shampoo! The idea of not having to wash my hair daily sounds wonderful.”
13. Howard Roark:
“Donate the money from the Wynand Building to charity. Apparently helping others can feel good. We’ll see.”
14. Edward Rochester:
“Figure out what to do with ex-wife living in attic.”
15. Jo Bhaer:
“My resolution this past year was to convince my sisters to not get married. I must admit that I failed terribly at that one. Oh, is it too much to ask to live in a world where none of my sisters get married and they live their lives acting in the plays I write from them? I think it is not.
I would love to figure out what has happened to father. I was sure he had died at sea, but Amy tells me that he is very much alive. Then where he is? I can only scarcely remember what he looks like. It would seem I have many things to resolve this year.”
16. Daisy Buchanan:
“Take driving lessons — I mean, not that I was driving the car that killed that woman. Because I wasn’t. But that car accident — for which I was just a passenger — was so upsetting that I want to make sure I never do something like that.”
17. Patty Berglund:
“Find better place to hide autobiography. Don't sleep with husband’s best friend. Don’t be so emotionally stunted that you’re still seduced by musicians.”
18. Yunior de Las Casas:
“Write apologies to all the women I’ve screwed and screwed over.”
19. Hester Prynne:
“So, this was an interesting year — or should I say ‘A’ interesting year? (Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge.) I’d love to spend this year providing advice to the women of Boston and tearing down gender stereotypes. I also think it might be fun to jazz the ‘A’ up a little. Stick with the red, of course, but perhaps add some fringe? A bit of lace?”
20. Patrick Bateman:
“Okay, okay: So, I realize ‘stop killing’ should probably be my resolution, but hey, everybody’s got their guilty pleasures, right? No, instead my resolution is to make more money. Mark my words: 1987 is going to be the year for the stock market.”
Have any literature-related resolutions for the New Year? Got the inside track on what another fictional character is resolving? Think some of the resolutions above are off the mark? Let us know all about it in the comments below.
Happy New Year from everyone at Black Balloon Publishing to you and all of yours.
Black Balloon Publishing is an independent press headquartered in New York, NY, with both print and digital distribution channels. We've published literary fiction, nonfiction and memoir, and we're willing to grow our reach in any direction that suits: Our books evolve, rotate, get mapped onto cities and light up your screen. We champion the weird, the unwieldy and the unclassifiable.
KEEP READING: More on Literature
- The 7 Deadly Sins of Literature
- Strong Female Protagonist: Searching for Heroic Women at MoCCA Fest
- Can You Identify the Alternate Covers for These Well Known Books?