September is Fall Hat Month. As a hat lover, I embrace this holiday. As a book lover, I of course, want to find the bookish angle. That is how I came up with the idea for today’s post: iconic hats in books. All of these hats are important to the story in some way. Let’s see how important hats are in literature!
This book is all about the hats. In Caps for Sale, a traveling hat salesman is mercilessly teased by a band of wild monkeys. That’s what you get for taking a nap, hat seller!
Where would new readers be if they didn’t have access to this white and red striped hat? Who knows, the children might have even remained well-behaved while their mother was gone, and how boring would that be!
This fun series of books is based around a club of women, much like the real-life Red Hat Society. The book focuses on women who have been friends since high school- 30 years before. The women don their red hats and have adventures, embracing the Jenny Joseph poem which says, “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat that doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me.”
When I was a little girl, this was one of my favorite books. I loved looking at all the hats that Miss Fannie had, and I also felt bad for the decision she had to make! Perhaps it was this book that inspired my own love of hats.
The deerstalker hat that Sherlock Holmes wears is so iconic, that Sherlock Holmes is instantly recognizable in profile. In the new BBC rendition of Sherlock Holmes, even though Sherlock doesn’t wear a hat, Benedict Cumberbatch dons the hat as part of his “PR face.”
You only think Harry Potter is about a wizard and the fight between good and evil. Actually, it’s all about the hats. Just look at how many characters wear a hat! Even more proof: everyone allows a hat to dictate their place in life.
Alice doesn’t wear a hat, but the Mad Hatter is one of the most famous characters of all time. He uses his hat for a variety of things, such as to pour tea out of and to serve as a home to the door mouse.
In Huckleberry Finn, the hat isn’t used so much to define a character as it is to reveal the neglect that Huckleberry has seen. He wears cast-off adult clothing and a battered hat that no parent would allow their child to wear- if they cared about their child at all. I always felt vaguely sad for Huckleberry, even as I envied him his adventures.
There are several mentions of hats in Little Women. The girls are scolded for going outdoors without hats. In one of my favorite scenes, the girls are going on a picnic and Jo wears an enormous hat that she ties to her head with ribbon. Ever since reading Little Women, I’ve wanted to wear giant hats.
Fewer people have read the later books in the Anne of Green Gables series, but the last book, Rilla of Ingleside, is one of my favorites. It follows Anne’s daughter Rilla as she is a teen growing up during WWI. At the beginning of the war, she uses all her allowance to buy an expensive green hat. As she matures, she decides not to spend money on any more frivolous things, so she declares she will wear the green hat until the end of the war.
Laura and the other Little House girls wore bonnets to keep the sun out of their eyes. Laura’s mother was always telling them to put their bonnets back on. Bonnets are extremely difficult to see out of, which you know if you have ever tried one on. I can see why a little girl wouldn’t want to wear one. I am certainly glad girls today are not so limited by fashion!
Dr. Dolittle was a tiny veterinarian who wore a top hat and could talk to animals. His striped pants, black waistcoat, and black top hat always stood out to me in sharp contrast to what he did. I thought it was funny that he always wore formal clothing, even while visiting the moon.
What would Captain Hook be without his elaborate tricorn hat? Just a man with ratty hair, that’s what, and certainly not villain worthy! John’s top hat that he swipes while they fly through London is also worthy of note.
Curious George would still be a monkey in the jungle if the man with the yellow hat never stopped by. That yellow hat is just as important to the story as George himself.
Goldfinger villain Oddjob is renowned for his black bowler hat. His hat is not only a fashion statement, but also a weapon, which he uses to throw at anyone who opposes him. Unlike the movie, Oddjob is described as being quite tall in the book.
So tell me, which famous book hats am I missing? I’ll add them to the list!