Beautiful Lena has spent her life being “beautiful Lena.” Because she is so accustomed to people seeing only her looks, she has learned to keep her true self tightly wrapped inside. Shy, quiet, and self-conscious, Lena has difficulty connecting to people, and she happily stands in the shadow of Effie, her warmer, more openhearted sister. Lena’s reticence does not suggest that she is dull or cold, however. Inside, she is passionate, loyal, and deeply loving, as she demonstrates in her relationships with the girls. Lena wishes she could open up to others, and she envies people like Effie who are willing to risk falling in love. But she has kept her true self hidden for so long that exposing it seems impossible. When she meets Kostos, she doesn’t think twice about dismissing him as she dismisses every other boy she meets, certain that he is the same as all the others: attracted to her looks and nothing more. In a way, Lena has created a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because she is certain no one will see beyond her looks, she hides her inner self, ensuring that no one does see beyond her looks.
Lena learns a valuable lesson about the necessity of taking risks when she tumbles into a conflict with Kostos. When he accidentally sees her skinny-dipping, Lena assumes he was spying, and she storms off in a huff, not bothering to correct her grandparents when they misread her anger and think Kostos attacked her. Rather than tell the truth—and, in the process, get to know Kostos a little better—Lena stays silent, allowing the conflict to escalate into a fight between the grandfathers and ensuring that Kostos stops trying to talk to her. However, when Lena gets what she wants—for Kostos to leave her alone—she realizes how she really feels about him. As her time in Greece comes to an end, she thinks deeply about love, and she understands that she must take a risk. For the first time, she bares her soul. Doing so not only wins her Kostos but also lets her feel pride in herself.
More characters from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
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