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Who Are The Worst Couples In Literature?

Hooray for Valentines Day!

Today is a wonderful opportunity to gorge oneself on overpriced chocolate and questionable fettucine alfredo, while dining with the one you love.

Or, if you’re tired of hearing everyone yapping about love and such, then perhaps you’d like to relish in the dark, miserable side of romance.

Like these terrible couples from literature, for example. So if you hate Valentines Day, then today’s post is for you.

Here are some of the worst couples in literature–at least that I could think of.

Scarlett and Ashley (and Rhett)(Gone With The Wind). I’ve talked a lot about my disdain for Scarlett on this blog—but it’s no match for the disdain I have for pansy boy Ashley. This guy, he pee-peed all over his big boy pants on a daily basis. He reminds me of a more feminine version of Justin Beiber. Scarlett and Ashley, as a couple, were a total disaster. Out of these three, I think Rhett would do well to just marry himself.

Humbert Humbert and Dolores (Lolita). I don’t know if I should really count these two as a couple. Humbert is a creepy old guy who basically forces himself on Dolores, an impressionable pre-teen. The whole story just reeks of an extended episode of To Catch A Predator. It’s just nasty. And a twisted, nasty sense of love isn’t love.

Tom and Daisy Buchanan (The Great Gatsby): Let’s start with this: Tom Buchanan is one massive douchebag. He’s an unfunny version of Schmidt from the TV show New Girl. Seriously, Daisy is a few sandwiches short of a picnic herself, so these two were really made for each other. The only couple in literature more shallow than Tom and Daisy might be…

Frank and April Wheeler (Revolutionary Road): These two are the most miserable human beings that have ever graced the pages of a novel. They’re alcoholics and cheaters and crappy employees and use do-it-yourself abortion kits. They just suck. Happy Valentines Day, Frank and April!

Anna Karenina-Count Vronsky (Anna Karenina): Because she’s so deeply in love with Vronsky, and because she’s paranoid and believes him to be cheating on her, Anna can’t go on living. She throws herself under a moving train. If you’re going to kill yourself, why not at least hire a private eye first to make sure that the Count is, in fact, cheating on you? As the old saying goes, “Sometimes love sucks. But throwing yourself under a moving train sucks even more.” Such wisdom in that statement.

Clyde Griffiths and Roberta Alden (and Sondra) (An American Tragedy): Another wonderful literary love triangle! For some people, being young and in love with a beautiful fiancé is a dream come true. But not for Clyde Griffiths. He tosses his young, pregnant fiancé off the back of a boat so he can date another young, non-pregnant, rich girl. Clyde, ever the charming romantic.

Now, if that list of miserable couples doesn’t get you all cheered up for Valentines Day, then what’s wrong with you?

And, while you’re thinking about it, answer the question: Who’s the worst couple in literature?

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35 Comments Post a comment
  1. I fear the large volume of “depressing” novels you’ve covered has clouded your view! Jeez, this was a depressing list. I prefer Winston and Julia from 1984 who realize love is more important than obedience. Or how about Tommy and Kathy in Never Let Me Go? Love against all reason?

    Come on man, today is the day! Let Cupid’s Arrow fly.

    Like

    February 14, 2013
    • But, but but…Winston and Julia betray each other in the end! Long live the crappy couples and V-day resentment!

      Like

      February 14, 2013
      • Nice try Emily. Duress nullifies all action/inaction. Love triumphs!

        Like

        February 15, 2013
    • Haha. Maybe you’re right. Good call on Never Let Me Go

      Like

      February 14, 2013
  2. I am reading The Beautiful and Damned right now, Gloria and Anthony could easily qualify as the worst couple. I read Middlemarch a couple of years ago, and the main couples in the book were also pretty terrible, as I recall.

    Like

    February 14, 2013
  3. Ryan #

    From The Sun Also Rises: Lady Brett and Jake.
    From Light in August: Joe Christmas and Bobby (the waitress) or Joe Christmas and Miss Burden.
    From I Married A Communist: Ira Ringold and Eve Frame.

    Like

    February 14, 2013
  4. bba #

    Avril Incandenza and Charles Tavis from Infinite Jest.

    Like

    February 14, 2013
  5. Catherine and Heathcliffe
    Lydia and George Wickham

    The only couples I can think of right now….lol.

    Like

    February 14, 2013
    • Kathryn Frances #

      Totally agree! I’ve never understood why so many women love Catherine and Heathcliffe. That’s as unbalanced and unhealthy as a couple can get.

      Like

      February 14, 2013
      • lol…yeah, they were pretty dysfunctional.

        Like

        February 14, 2013
        • Agreed!! I’ve heard so much about Wuthering Heights being “the greatest love story ever told” and I’m just like…no.

          Like

          February 14, 2013
          • Never read it!

            Like

            February 14, 2013
          • Oh, it’s definitely a great book. But it’s less a love story and more a “people are batshit insane” story.

            Like

            February 14, 2013
      • Wuthering Heights is perhaps the worst book I’ve ever read, thanks mainly to Catherine and Heathcliff and their relationship. That was no love story! It was a train wreck I was very glad to finish.

        Like

        February 14, 2013
  6. You are an ace judge on relationships (meaning that I agree with all your choices, except the last because I’ve not read it). Bathsheba Everdine has a very bad time with two out of three of her suitors in Far From the Madding Crowd. Nicola homemadekids.wordpress.com

    Like

    February 14, 2013
  7. how about every couple in Little Children by Tom Perotta? Ugh!!!

    Like

    February 14, 2013
  8. Agreed that Rhett should just marry himself =P And I think Maria Bertram and Henry Crawford from Mansfield Park are pretty awful…

    Like

    February 14, 2013
    • Maria and Henry were made for each other! They were both conceited hedonists. It’s boring Fanny who is the idiot for not snapping up the heathen Henry and marrying her pathetic cousin that is the crime in my opinion.

      Like

      February 22, 2013
  9. vrbridge #

    Hamlet and Ophelia

    Like

    February 14, 2013
  10. vrbridge #

    Also Ethan and Mattie in Ethan Frome

    Like

    February 14, 2013
  11. “He reminds me of a more feminine version of Justin Beiber.”

    I snorted my coffee.

    I had the unfortunate experience of reading Gone Girl for a book club. I can’t even remember the names of two main characters, but they were horrible, awful people separately, and even worse together. I could even forgive these contemptible characters if the book were well-written, but it just wasn’t. I can hate the characters and still love the book, but that just didn’t happen here. I think Catherine and Heathcliff were a pretty terrible couple, but I still loved reading Wuthering Heights.

    And speaking of the Bronte sisters – how about Rochester and Bertha from Jane Eyre and/or The Wide Sargasso Sea?

    Like

    February 14, 2013
    • Oh, of course. Wide Sargasso Sea is a good one. What a terrible relationship that was.

      Like

      February 14, 2013
  12. This might seem painfully obvious, but… Romeo and Juliet. Definitely. Romeo’s a pansy-boy driven by his hormones, and Juliet’s a pre-teen who makes TERRIBLE life decisions.

    Like

    February 14, 2013
  13. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Completely, utterly awful for each other. Great list, by the way!

    Like

    February 14, 2013
  14. I’m surprised no one said Edward and Bella (Twilight). Barf. What an unhealthy and ridiculous relationship.

    Like

    February 15, 2013
  15. Reblogged this on 1TVNauta 3.0e comentado:
    Piores casais da literatura

    Like

    February 15, 2013
  16. Catherine and Heathcliff. Their relationship is abusive, controlling and demented. I don’t even understand how it’s considered a viable romance.

    Like

    February 16, 2013
  17. letrosa #

    Florentino and Fermina – Amor en Tiempos de Cólera- The book is all about Florentino‘s undying love: he sleeps with a large number of people so he could forget Fermina, which never happened, whereas Fermina never gave him any thought (until her usband’s hilarious death) for she saw him only as a shadow. These shouldn’t even be considered a couple. At all.

    Like

    February 18, 2013
  18. Scarlett and Ashley hands down! First couple that popped into my head when I saw this.
    What was she thinking?
    Who on earth would go for Ashley anyway? Throw in Rhett as the alternative and it’s more baffling; almost ruined the book for me actually… frustrating!

    Like

    February 22, 2013
  19. How about Emma and Charles Bovary? The only things worse than Charles’ lack-luster personality is Emma’s promiscuity and distorted self image. I have never wanted to slap a book so bad. When I took my copy of Madame Bovary to the book doctor I had to tell him that my book had fallen down the stairs.

    Like

    February 23, 2013
  20. jannamills01 #

    Your critique of Scarlett and Rhett, Daisy and Tom was absolutely hilarious!

    Like

    March 2, 2013
  21. Stella and Stanley Kowalski. Too obvious?

    Like

    March 5, 2013
  22. Angel Clare and Tess. What on earth did she see in that prissy milquetoast? Now Alex may have been a bad boy, but at least he was a flesh-and-blood man. She murdered the wrong one, if you ask me.

    Like

    June 15, 2013

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. 4 Literary Archetypes You Shouldn’t Love IRL « Book Club Babe

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