I am afraid of falling through the sewage grate. Do I really think that the metal will break under my weight? No, but do I still make a point of walking around? Yes. Irrational fears such as these are called phobias. I take comfort in the fact that there are many crazier phobias than mine. For example, there is caligynephobia (fear of beautiful women), sesquipedalophobia (fear of long words), and even *gasp* bibliophobia (fear of books).
Fictional characters have phobias too. The following is a random sample. Enjoy!
Acrophobia: Fear of Heights
Protector of the Small by Tamora Pierce
Keladry (Kel) wants to become a knight, the first Lady Knight since the legendary Alanna, and she is not going to let anything stop her: Not training Master Lord Wyldon and definitely not her fear of heights.
Musophobia: Fear of Rats
1984 by George Orwell
The story of Winston Smith’s nightmare odyssey as he pursues a forbidden love affair through a world ruled by warring states and a power structure that controls not only information but also individual thought and memory (adapted from Product Description).
As if he didn’t have enough problems, Winston Smith also has a fear of rats.
Cheloniophobia: Fear of Turtles
Love Hina by Ken Akamatsu
When Keitaro Urashima fails his university entrance exams for the second time and his parents kick him out of his house, his grandmother hires him as the caretaker for the Hinata Lodge. To his surprise, the lodge is actually a girl’s dorm, and he’s the only guy in a quirky bunch of teenage girls including Motoko Aoyama, who has a fear of turtles.
Agoraphobia: Fear of Open Space or Crowds
Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Still moping months after being dumped by her Arizona boyfriend Leo, fifteen-year-old Stargirl, a home-schooled free spirit, writes “the world’s longest letter” to Leo, describing her new life in Pennsylvania with her new friends: five-year-old motormouth Dootsie, angry Alvina, agoraphobic Betty Lou, grieving widower Charlie, and developmentally disabled Arnold.