3 Great and Realistic Pairs of Literary Sisters

Sisters are great (sometimes), and I think they are an important part of literature. Here are some of my favorite literary sisters.

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Book characters Princess Adalina, Princess Meryl, Beezus Quimby, Ramona Quimby, Jane Bennett, and Elizabeth Bennett

As someone who has a sister, I know exactly how wonderful—and how annoying—they can be. Especially older sisters, who are generally more bossy and obnoxious. (Love you, sis!) But they are important, and I know I wouldn’t be who I am without my sister.

A lot of people think that sister-sister relationships fall into one of two categories: they love each other and are best friends, or they hate each other and are enemies. (The Kardashians certainly don’t help with the latter.) These can certainly be true, but sister relationships are never that simplistic. There’s so much nuance that gets lost in that way of thinking.

Ramona and Beezus from the Ramona series

There were about five years between these sisters, which is a pretty big gap. They also had to share a room, which made their relationship more difficult. (My sister is several years old than me, and I can’t imagine having to share a room with her while growing up.) Ramona and Bezels always wanted the best for each other, but at the same time, they partook in petty fights and insults like any normal siblings do. Ramona got frustrated with Beezus for being so bossy and nitpicky, and Beezus got frustrated with Ramona for being so messy and immature. Their parents sometimes had to intervene in their arguments, and when they apologized, it was usually because their parents told them to.

Beezus (left) and Ramona (right) peering out from behind a curtain

The sisters got along better as they grew up when the maturity gap started getting smaller. But then Beezus started having teenage problems like boys and figuring out her identity, and Ramona had her own struggles such as friendships and not feeling needed in her family. (Not to mention the new Quimby sister who comes later in the series.) As they navigated through adolescence and teenage years, they had to learn to live with each other and get along differently — though it did help that they no longer had to share a room.

Princesses Adalina,”Addie,” and Meryl from The Two Princesses of Bamarre

Addie was scared of her own shadow, yet Meryl was afraid of nothing. The sisters were opposites in many ways, but they loved each other dearly and were always together. Then, Meryl got sick with Gray Death, a terrible sickness spreading throughout the kingdom that could only be stopped if a prophecy was fulfilled.

Addie, despite her fear and shyness, set out to find the cure. The Gray Death ended up almost killing Meryl, but she chose to become an immortal fairy to save her life. However, this meant she could never return to Addie, as she would have to join the fairies in their fights against evil — and fairies also had no human sisters. It wasn’t all sad; the sisters could still visit each other, and Meryl was the fairy godmother to Addie’s children.

"The Two Princesses of Bamarre" bookcover of Princesses Addie (left) and Meryl (right) sitting outside near a gate with trees and the castle of Bamarre in the background

What really stuck with me was how the sisters had to learn to be apart. They were together all their lives until Addie set off to find the cure. Then, at the end of the book, they had to learn how to live apart and be independent. They loved each other too much to let the other go before Addie’s adventures started, which only held both of them back. But they—mostly Addie—changed during their time apart, and they learned, over the course of Addie’s life, how to disentangle themselves from the other. They still loved each other dearly, but they learned to support the other rather than protect the other.

Elizabeth and Jane Bennett from Pride and Prejudice

These sisters were also opposites. Jane was kind and friendly, always seeing the best in people even to her own detriment. Elizabeth was blunt and a bit standoffish, always skeptical of people and quick to judge. Jane was described as one of the most beautiful girls in their area, while Elizabeth was more plain. (Her wit and intelligence made her attractive in other ways.) As the two oldest of their sisters, they were under a lot of pressure to marry rich men, which is partially why they got along and support each other so well.

Elizabeth (left) and Jane (right) looking at each other in a mirror

I love that they were so supportive of each other, but I think my favorite was how Elizabeth wasn’t afraid to stand up for Jane. Jane would hide her emotions and pretend things were okay, but Elizabeth would’t. When Jane was upset that Mr. Bingley went away, Elizabeth confronted Mr. Darcy, who was partially responsible, for her sister and told him how upset Jane was. This, in my experience, is something sisters often do; if one is too shy, polite, etc. to stand up for themselves, the other will do it.

If you have a good relationship with your sister (whether you’re her sister or not), go tell her you love her. I’m sure she would appreciate hearing it.

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