One of the things I like to do when studying personality types is find examples of the different types in fictional characters. It helps each type make more sense to me if I have some example to link it to. While I was reading The Road Back to You: An Enneagram Journey to Self-Discovery by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile, I started having fictional characters come to mind as I was reading. The types “clicked” as I realized I understood them well enough to relate each to a fictional character.
Much has been written in books and online about the numbers on Enneagram, and today’s post is not going to re-tread that ground with complete profiles of each Enneatype. I’m just going to give a brief example of each type using a fictional character that I think is a good example of that type. I’m still an Enneagram beginner, so don’t take everything I say as the definitive view on the Enneagram. But I hope to give a overview for others who, like me, are trying to get a better sense of how the Enneagram shows up in real life using examples of fictional people. I’ll be quoting from the book I mentioned earlier as well as type profiles from The Enneagram Institute®.
Ones — Steve Rogers
These types are perfectionists who follow rules to the letter and are deeply committed to the concept of fairness. They tend to believe that their way is the right way and they’re very sensitive to criticism (both from other people and from their harsh inner critic). Ones have a mind that naturally compares things and makes value judgements, but as The Road Back To You points out, they tend to be shocked that other people see them as critical. They’re “The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic” according to The Enneagram Institute. Read more →
Think about your favorite novel, movie, or TV show. It probably begins with the main characters going about their ordinary lives. Bilbo Baggins lives peacefully in his hobbit hole (The Hobbit). Elizabeth Bennet is socializing with her sisters and putting up with a mother eager to marry her off (Pride and Prejudice). Luke Skywalker is moisture farming on Tatooine (Star Wars). A pastor is sailing with his family to a colony in the South Pacific (The Swiss Family Robinson).
Then Gandalf arrives with a party of dwarves. Mr. Bingley moves to Netherfield. Droids arrive carrying secret plans that must be delivered to the Rebellion. The ship crashes on an uncharted island. Something changes, acting as an inciting incident to push the main character out of their normal life and into the events of the story.
We’re currently living in a time of great change. People are talking about what the “new normal” will look like and speculating about how much things will change now that there’s Covid-19 in the world. There have been many other times of great change throughout history — pandemics, the industrial revolution, natural disasters, colonization by European powers, terrorist attacks, the falls of empires, the birth of Jesus Christ. Some are terrible, some depend on your point of view, and a very few are spectacularly good.
We have very little control over how the world changes. But we do have some control over if and how we change in response to those changes. In many ways, we get to decide whether the effects of this pandemic will be an inciting incident for personal growth, a speed bump as we continue on much the same as before, or something that derails our path.
We would not have had a story if Bilbo stayed home, Elizabeth refused to speak with Darcy a second time, Luke didn’t follow R2-D2 into the desert, or the Swiss family had been rescued after only a week on the island. Now, I’m not saying you should ignore social distancing guidelines and go running off on a grand adventure. For us today I’m talking more about an internal adventure and a commitment to positive change.
Some of the greatest journeys we can go on are those of self-discovery, and they’re often prompted by change. The biggest moments that stand-out in my mind as times that sparked personal growth were starting college, beginning a dating relationship with a man I’d been friends with for years, and then the breakup which ended that relationship. Maybe this pandemic will be another one for me, and for many other people.
Whether you’re stuck at home and have some extra time on your hands or not, the changes in the world around us can serve as a reminder to look inwards and evaluate ourselves. We might ask questions like, “What impact am I having on the people around me for good or ill?” or “How can I become a healthier individual mentally, emotionally, and physically?” or “What do I want the next part of my story to look like?”
We can’t control when quarantine restrictions lift, who gets sick, or most other things associate with this pandemic. But we can control how we respond to the changes that are happening in our lives and the world around us. Let’s commit to making sure the great changes we’re going through now spark great next chapters in the stories of our own lives.
I haven’t quite finished it yet, but even just reading the introduction and chapter on my enneatype has given me some additional clarity on a couple issues I’ve been struggling with for a while. You might want to check this book out if you’ve been curious about the Enneagram or want some ideas for personal growth. I borrowed it from a digital library, so that might be an option for those who (like me) prefer to try out a book before buying it.
What fictional characters do you relate to as an ESFJ?
Just as we can describe real people using the Myers-Briggs® typology system, we can also use the system to type well-written fictional characters. Some of fiction’s most iconic and intriguing characters are ESFJs, and today we’re going to talk about seven of them that I think real-life ESFJs will find relatable.
Another great thing about looking at character personality types is that it helps us to better understand people who have different types than we do. Fictional ESFJs can serve as examples for what real-life ESFJs might be like, and also show how much variation can exist between individuals with the same type.
Most people type Anna from Disney’s Frozen as an ESFP or ENFP, but hear me out. ESFJs lead with a function called Extroverted Feeling (Fe, or “Harmony”). Fe is a decision-making process that’s concerned with connection and meeting other peoples’ needs, and that’s what we see Anna prioritizing throughout the film. Like so many real-life ESFJs, Ann longs for harmonious connections with other people. She’s also so concerned with the needs of people around her that she asks Kristoff, “Are you going to be okay?” while she’s dying. If that’s not an FJ thing I don’t know what is. Read more →
What fictional characters do you relate to as an ENFP?
Just as we can describe real people using the Myers-Briggs® typology system, we can also use the system to type well-written fictional characters. Some of fiction’s most iconic and intriguing characters are ENFPs, and today we’re going to talk about seven of them that I think real-life ENFPs will find relatable.
Another great thing about looking at character personality types is that it helps us to better understand people who have different types than we do. Fictional ENFPs can serve as examples for what real-life ENFPs might be like, and also show how much variation can exist between individuals with the same type.
Ahsoka is one of my favorite Star Wars characters, and she’s one of three who I type as an ENFP (Qui-Gon Jin and Ezra Bridger are the other). Like others of this type, Ahsoka leads with Extroverted Intuition, which Personality Hacker nicknames “Exploration” because for NPs “the best pattern recognition system for the outer world is to mess with everything that can be messed with, and to explore.” Read more →
Sometimes I like reading posts titled things like “Books Every Family Should Have In Their Library,” “Best YA Books of All Time,” and “Top 100 Fantasy Books Ever.” While I’ll occasionally get an idea for a new book to read, I usually end up checking to see if they’ve “rightly” included any books I like or “wrongly” included books I hate. One thing that always amuses me, at least slightly, is how all these lists propose to be good for every family or include all the best books even though it’s clear all such lists are completely subjective.
For this list, I’m not even going to try to be objective or include all the best books. This is an unabashed list of my favorite books, which I irrationally think everyone should read and enjoy just as much as I do. They aren’t even organized alphabetically — just whichever popped into my head first.
My “Must Read” Books
Mara: Daughter of the Nile
My mother gave me Mara, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw, when studying ancient Egypt in elementary school and I’ve read it pretty much every year since. It has everything a book needs — strong characters, good writing, and intriguing plot. On top of the admirable writing is danger, mystery, and romance. Spies! Double agents! Political intrigue! It also features the most romantic (possibly the only romantic) attempted murder in literary history. If I’m forced to choose just one favorite book, this is the one I pick.
Moving from one of my oldest favorites to one of the newest. I first read Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card at the end of last year. It’s brilliant. I’ve written about it before, so I won’t spend much more time telling you how wonderful this book is, especially the characters. I cried buckets of tears in the last chapter.
The Blue Sword
Written by Robin McKinley, this may very well be my favorite fantasy book. Like Mara, The Blue Sword features a strong female protagonist and an irresistible hero (let me just say Corlath is the only person who I wouldn’t mind being abducted by [this statement will make sense if you read the book]). McKinley’s world building, characters, and story are excellent. My only quibble with this story is that, like many of her books, it doesn’t really end. It’s as if the author wasn’t sure how to end the story, so she slapped an epilog on and called it the last chapter. Perhaps I should just say that is part of the book’s irresistible charm.
Pride and Prejudice
I know it’s a terribly predictable title to include — couldn’t I have at least chosen one of Jane Austen’s lesser-known works? But I’ve read all six of Austen’s major novels at least once (some two or three times), and Pride and Prejudice remains my favorite. Maybe it’s the fact that people type Lizzie Bennet as an INFJ (which I’m not entirely convinced of, but it would explain why I identify with her so much). Perhaps it’s because Mr. Darcy is my favorite of Austen’s men. Whatever it is, Pride and Prejudice is firmly on my recommended reading list.
Not a single book, but it would take to long to list them all separately. I recommend Jack Zipes’ translation of The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, augmented liberally with Hans Christian Anderson and Charles Perrault. The reasons for this have been explored at length in my posts Fairy Tales and Dark Fairy Tales, so I’ll not devote any more time here on describing their merits.
A Gown Of Spanish Lace
Roses for Mama
I read Christian fiction on an irregular basis, usually because I want a easy-to-read book that doesn’t require much thought to digest and might supply some spiritual encouragement (yes, I know that sounds terrible). In spite of my generally low expectations, two books by Janette Oke have made it to my favorites list. A Gown of Spanish Lace has outlaws. Roses for Mama is simply charming.
If I was offered the chance to move to any fictional place I wanted, I’d pack up right this minute and relocate to James Gurney’s Dinotopia. Who wouldn’t want to live in world filled with dinosaurs and without any worries about money? Specifically, I want to visit Waterfall City and the coastal towns along Warmwater Bay where you can swim with cryptoclidus. Once you’ve read Gurney’s first book Dinotopia: A Land Apart From Time, I advise moving on to Dinotopia Lost by Alan Dean Foster. I’ve read that one at least four times.