Friday, October 30, 2015

Personality through Literary History

by Kelly Baugh

In the vein of Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) spin-offs that range from Star Wars  and TV show characters to Saints and Disney Princesses, personality profiles seem to be everywhere. I am, however, shocked that there exists no highly accurate literary character version of this phenomenon. Obviously, there is a hole in the universe that I must remedy, so here is my list of MBTI from characters of classical literature:

ISTJ: Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility--Responsible, sincere, analytical, reserved, realistic, systematic. Hardworking (unlike others in her family) and trustworthy with sound and practical judgement (she always knew Willoughby was bad news).

ISFJ: Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy--Warm, considerate, gentle responsible, pragmatic, thorough. Devoted caretakers (of gardens and quests for the future of Middle Earth) who enjoy being helpful to others (except Gollum). 

INFJ: Dr. Watson from the Sherlock Holmes mysteries--Idealistic, organized, insightful, dependable, compassionate, gentle. Seek harmony and cooperation (even when his parter is trying to offend everyone in the greater London area), enjoy intellectual stimulation (why else would he still be with Sherlock?).

INTJ: Alexandra Bergson from O Pioneers!--Innovative, independent, strategic, logical, reserved, insightful. Driven by their own original ideas (what? Alfalfa?!) to achieve improvements (the largest farm in the entire state of Nebraska).

ISTP: Pa Ingalls from the Little House on the Prairie series--Action-oriented, logical, analytical, spontaneous, reserved, independent. Enjoy adventure (they moved ALL over America), skilled at understanding how mechanical things work (I mean, he made EVERY SINGLE THING IN AND INCLUDING THEIR HOME from scratch).

ISFP: Meg March from Little Women--Gentle, sensitive, nurturing, helpful, flexible, realistic. Seek to create a personal environment that is both beautiful and practical (the March's home, her piano, she just loved everyone so much ... OK, now I'm crying).

INFP: Cosette from Les Miserables--Sensitive, creative, idealistic, perceptive, caring, loyal. Value inner harmony and personal growth, focus on dreams and possibilities (like falling in love with a firebrand revolutionary while stuck in a convent with a very overprotective dad).

INTP: Jane Eyre--Intellectual, logical, precise, reserved, flexible, imaginative. Original thinkers who enjoy speculation (exactly what is going on in the attic?) and creative problem solving (I will run away from the man I love because he has a lunatic wife then hang out with some long lost relatives, inherit a fortune and see what happens).

ESFP: Heidi--Playful, enthusiastic, friendly, spontaneous, tactful, flexible. Have strong common sense (knew Clara would be able to walk, if only she could get to the mountains), enjoy helping people in tangible ways.

ESFJ: Lucy from The Chronicles of Narnia series--Friendly outgoing, reliable, conscientious, organized, practical. Seek to be helpful and please others (especially in other worlds), enjoy being active and productive (the very best kind of queen).

ESTP: Tom Sawyer--Outgoing, realistic, action-oriented, curious, versatile, spontaneous. Pragmatic problem solvers and skillful negotiators (fence painting scene... 'nuff said).

ENFP: Anne from the Anne of Green Gables series--Enthusiastic, creative, spontaneous, optimistic, supportive, playful. Value inspiration (or melodrama), enjoy starting new projects (more melodrama), see potential in others (except Gilbert).

ENTP: Charlotte from Charlotte's Web--Inventive, enthusiastic, strategic, enterprising, inquisitive, versatile. Enjoy new ideas and challenges (saving life of a barnyard pig), value inspiration (even if it comes from a not-so-bright pig).

ESTJ: Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind--Efficient, analytical, systematic, dependable, realistic. Like to run the show (AKA marry socially and financially advantageous matches) and get things done in an orderly fashion (if everyone would stop whining about loosing The War).

ENFJ: King Arthur from Le Morte d'Arthur--Caring, enthusiastic, idealistic, organized, diplomatic, responsible. Skilled communicators who value connection with people (although possibly a bit dense when it came to his wife and Sir Lancelot). 

ENTJ: Cora Munro from The Last of the Mohicans--Strategic, logical, efficient, outgoing, ambitious, independent. Effective organizers of people (specifically, those fleeing for their lives) and long-range planners (there's no way she's getting hysterical, even if everyone else around her is being hacked to pieces).

This list is in no way definitive. What are some of your favorite literary characters and what type of personality do you think they exhibit?

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