7 Loved Literary Characters Inspired By Real People 


How an artist creates art is a curious subject, but we all will agree that there are aspects of the artists themselves, fine threads of their own personalities embedded in their creation. But does it stop there? As an artist moves into the outer world, they start seeing bubbling potential in everyone and everything.The world in itself in art – the gentle murmur of flowing brooks inspire poetry, the beautiful people on the street inspire paintings, the swaying of someone inspires dance and people from real life inspire stories and characters. Yes, even with a wild imagination, a writer’s work will always be grounded in real-life experiences, plots will manifest themselves as parallel works with gentle tweakings, and characters will be inspired by real-life people the authors have met. Today, we list down 7 such literary characters inspired by real people, just to enable you to see art in the mundane. 

Dorian Gray, A Picture Of Dorian Gray 

7 Loved Literary Characters Inspired By Real People 

The lively poet John Gray, who was a member of Oscar Wilde’s circle, inspired the character of Dorian. Gray has been romantically linked to Wilde for some time and the similarities between the real Dorian Gray and the character are striking. 

Charles Baker (Dill) Harris, To Kill A Mockingbird 

7 Loved Literary Characters Inspired By Real People 

Author Harper Lee’s best childhood friend, Truman Capote, who had taught himself to read and write by the age of 5 inspired the character of Dill Harris, Scout’s best friend and Jen’s companion. Before Lee had drawn inspiration from him for this character, Capote had already added her character in two of his own works. 

Elizabeth (Beth) March, Little Women 

7 Loved Literary Characters Inspired By Real People 

We are all aware that Louisa May Alcott’s personal experiences with her sisters had inspired her pioneering work Little Women, but the character of the world-favorite delicate Beth was drawn from Alcott’s neighbour Elizabeth Hoar, who was also friends with Emerson and Thoreau. 

Huckleberry (Huck) Finn, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

7 Loved Literary Characters Inspired By Real People 

Mark Twain’s one of two signature characters, the beloved Huckleberry Finn, drew inspiration from Tom Blankenship, Twain’s own friend. Twain has testified to this himself. According to the author, Huck’s story is what he calls a true story. 

Philomena Guinea, The Bell Jar 

The real life Philomena Guinea, from “The Fifth Wheel”, via Wikimedia Commons

Sylvia Plath’s Philomena Guinea in The Bell Jar was based on Olive H. Prouty, Plath’s benefactor. Prouty was herself a stunning novelist who wrote revolutionary works like Now, Voyager. Plath considered the benefactor as her friend and mentor. 

Severus Snape, Harry Potter 

7 Loved Literary Characters Inspired By Real People 

Ah, our very own Professor Snape! While many have said that the name Harry Potter was inspired by someone Rowling knew, the character of Severus Snape was inspired by her teacher John Nettleship, a strict teacher whose classes Rowling attended. The real life Snape wasn’t too pleased with his portrayal, but later wrote a book called Harry Potter Chepstow, describing and naming various locations from JK Rowlings’s school that might have inspired Hogwarts. 

Daisy Buchanan, The Great Gatsby 

F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ginevra King, the real life Daisy of The Great Gatsby, liked each other as soon as they met. The author was then 18, his beloved 16, and their love affair stood firm for two years before Ginevra had to marry someone of her father’s choosing. This episode in his life has inspired the frivolous Daisy. 

These were 7 literary characters inspired by real people. How many of them did you know about? Share with us in the comments below!

If you liked reading about the literary characters inspired by real people, you’ll like our picks for video games that have roots in classic literature. 


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