10. Dumbledore (Harry Potter)
Let’s face it, the dude was already about 800,000 years old when he kicked himself in the bucket, and apparently he had magical cancer or whatever, which means his big pratfall is really more like ghosting out of a party than straight-up suicide. But here’s my take on it: Dumbledore didn’t care much about the whole Elder-Wand-Don’t-Think-About-It-Too-Hard-Or-It-Dissolves-Like-Play-Doh-In-Battery-Acid-Plot-Contrivance fiasco. Instead, he jumped off of Hogwarts because he was depressed. And why was he depressed? Because his creator had kept him stuck in the closet for over ten years, then trumped up a retroactive homosexuality for him because she hadn’t won any GLAAD awards yet. Dumbledore wasn’t ready for the inevitable media firestorm, so he chose to end it all. Study Question: Does Rowling’s murder of her beloved gay wizard qualify as a hate crime? All the straight characters seem to make it out alive…
9. Anna Karenina (Anna Karenina)
When somebody breaks up with me, I just watch a lot of Scrubs and cry in bed. Not Anna. She THROWS HERSELF UNDER A TRAIN. I don’t wanna condone suicide, but that is a baller move right there. Levin was probably all like, “Damn. Why’d I marry a little wiener like Kitty, when that Anna chick is throwing herself under trains and shit? I bet she was crazy-go-nuts in the sack.” Study Question: Is it more or less emo to throw yourself under a high-speed train, such as the Acela?
8. Antony, Cleopatra, Eros, Iras, Charmian (Antony and Cleopatra)
Did you know that five characters commit suicide in this play? First, Cleopatra pretends to commit suicide, which makes Antony so sad that he tells his buddy Eros to kill him, which makes Eros so sad that he kills himself instead, which makes Antony feel like a pussy for not killing himself already, so he kills himself, which makes Cleopatra so sad that she kills herself, which makes her two maids super sad that they don’t have a steady income anymore, so they kill themselves too. Study Question: Wouldn’t a giant ceramic urn of poisoned Kool-Aid been more efficient, both practically and dramatically?
7. Javert (Les Miserables)
Okay, bear with me here. Javert is basically the computer from WarGames. Think about it. The computer is programmed to carry out WWIII. Javert is programmed to capture Jean Valjean. Both of them lose their mind when faced with a logical contradiction. In the case of the computer, it’s playing Tic-Tac-Toe. For Javert, it’s realizing that the “criminal” in question is actually a pretty good guy. The computer shuts down. Javert swan dives into the Seine. But not before singing an emo power ballad. Study Question: When Russell Crowe is singing, don’t we all kinda wish we could jump off a bridge?
6. All the Characters (Girls)
Okay, I’ll admit it: this is neither literary, nor something that ever happened. It’s really just a fantasy of mine. Study Question: Does Girls suck donkey? Study Answer: Yes.
5. Little Father Time (Jude the Obscure)
Alright, this is a dark one, so prepare yourself. LFT is a little boy who convinces himself that he and his half-siblings are the reason his parents are so bummed out all the time. So one day, he kills himself and the half-siblings, leaving behind a one-sentence suicide note: “Done because we are too menny.” Holy Kevorkian. If that isn’t emo, then neither is wearing thick mascara and listening to The Cure wearing a Nirvana t-shirt and also you’re in the suburbs and you have a biology paper due tomorrow and life is pointless. Study Question: Would you murder your siblings if it meant saving them from a life of pain and dishonor? What about to keep them from having to watch Girls?
4. Gollum (Lord of the Rings)
Tolkien’s Gollum (played in Peter Jackson’s cinematic adaptation by Steve Buscemi) is willing to jump into hot lava for a little gold ring. Which basically makes him indistinguishable from every woman on eHarmony. Heyoooo! Study Question: Would replacing “eHarmony” with “Christian Mingle” in the above joke improve the punchline?
3. Romeo and Juliet (Romeo and Juliet)
There’s nothing more emo than giving yourself the old mortal handjob for love. So Juliet gets fake poison from a Friar, while Romeo gets real poison from a dude named Apothecary (which is a badass name, BTW). Juliet takes the fake poison. Romeo sees her, thinks she’s dead, and takes the real poison. Juliet wakes up, finds Romeo dead, notices that he didn’t leave her any poison (#dickmove), and stabs herself. Double emo. Study Question: Do you think either Romeo or Juliet watched Girls before committing suicide, and if yes, were they more bothered by the terrible acting, the abysmal writing, the lackluster direction, or simply the pestilential cloud of nepotistic inbreeding that floats over the entire operation, negating the show artistically even as it drags Lena Dunham and her hipster coven even more inevitably into the zeitgeist, like a mortally wounded animal hobbling beneath the porch to die?
2. Seymour Glass (A Perfect Day for Bananafish)
Seymour was a savant. He was the star of a game show. He was professor at Columbia by the age of 20. Then he went to war, and it made him SUPER SAD. He tried to kill himself once, by slitting his wrists, but he must’ve missed all the good veins. He survives, and ends up eloping with some chick named Muriel. On their honeymoon, he’s like, “On second thought, life is still shitty. I’m a bananafish stuck in a hole.” So he shoots himself in the head. Muriel is RIGHT THERE ON THE BED next to him when he does it. But he doesn’t give a fuck. Because he’s fucking Seymour Glass, emo king of literature. Study Question: If Holden Caulfield killed himself at the end of “The Catcher In The Rye,” would he steal the emo-king suicide crown from Seymour? What about Max from “Where The Wild Things Are”? Doesn’t he already have a crown?
1. Sylvia Plath (Real Life)
Okay, so she’s not technically a literary character, but she sorta is, right? Plath once described her sadness as like “owl’s talons clutching my heart,” which definitely sounds like a rejected Morrissey lyric. And that’s just the tip of the emoiceberg. Check it: “I talk to God but the sky is empty.” Emo. “I desire the things that will destroy me in the end.” Mega-emo. “Dying is an art, like everything else. I do it exceptionally well. I do it so it feels like hell.” HOLY FLAMING SHIT IN A STUDIO APARTMENT THAT’S EMO. Sylvia Plath is the human manifestation of emo. Study Question: Does Sylvia Plath qualify as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and if so, why didn’t Zooey Deschanel or Kate Winslet play her in the movie Sylvia? Also, on a scale of 10 to 10, how much do you think Sylvia Plath would’ve hated Girls?
Special Mention: All the girls in The Virgin Suicides. I only skipped it because it seemed a little on the nose. I think the title is what does it.