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Kid Literary Characters and Their Grown-Up Counterparts

We recently discovered something we didn’t know about the Steig Larsson books — that he modeled his introverted computer hacker protagonist, Lisbeth Salander, on childhood favorite Pippi Longstocking. When delivering his Millenium series to his publisher, Larsson wrote, “My point of departure was what Pippi Longstocking would be like as an adult. Would she be called a sociopath because she looked upon society in a different way and has no social competence?” Well maybe, but we have to agree with Slate‘s analysis that cheery, delightfully odd Pippi Longstocking is not a believable younger version of the tough-as-nails Lisbeth Salander. Nevertheless, the idea got us to thinking about other literary legacies, and whether any of our favorite young characters might have grown up into other, older literary figures that we know and love. Click through to check out the pairs that we came up with, and let us know who you think would grow up to be who in the comments.

Holden Caulfield and Jay Gatsby

While many comparisons come to mind for Holden (Hamlet and Seymour Glass being two of these, though each is overly generous to that snotty, sighing teenager), we think Gatsby fits like a well-crafted glove. Holden is American literature’s archetype for teenage angst and refusal to grow up, and Gatsby — a man building his world around a childhood dream — seems a natural extension. Though Holden came from as rich a family as Daisy could have hoped for and Gatsby was forced to make his money himself, we would also find it evilly satisfying (and, let’s face it, realistic) if Holden grew up to be to a man as phony as Gatsby.