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Fiction Characters & Theories of Personality

by Alicia Anthony, Demand Media Google

    The Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator is often used to indicate where characters fall in terms of their particular personalities. Characters often behave in certain ways dependent upon their personality traits. The dimensions of the Myers-Briggs indicator consists of four pairs: extroversion/introversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling and judging/perceiving. Carl Jung's theory of personality also includes four distinct temperaments. They are protectors, who are a combination of sensing and judging; creators, who are both sensing and perceiving; intellectuals, who are part of intuition and thinking groups; and visionaries, who are in the intuition and feeling categories.

    Extroversion/Introversion

    This dimension is responsible for the energy of the character. Extroverted characters get energy from people and activities. These characters enjoy interaction with others. Introverted characters are more idea-oriented. Emotions and impressions are important to them. Examples of fictional characters who belong in each of these categories include Sherlock Holmes, who would fall into the spectrum of the introverted. Carl Jung's theory also places him as a creator, meaning his skills of sense and perception are highly attuned. Captain James T. Kirk, of the Starship Enterprise, would be considered an extroverted character on the Myers-Briggs indicator and a visionary according to Jung's theory, possessing characteristics of both intuition and feeling.

    Sensing/Intuition

    This dimension is responsible for the character's abilities of attention. Sensing characters focus on facts, while intuition characters focus on possibilities. Examples of a character falling in the sensing spectrum would be Lucy Van Pelt of "Peanuts" fame. A character more attuned to intuition would be Gandalf of "The Lord of the Rings." Lucy's temperament would be considered protector, a combination of sensing and judging, while Gandalf's temperament is intellectual, a combination of intuition and thinking.

    Thinking/Feeling

    This spectrum deals with the decision-making ability of the character. Thinking characters make decisions based on a logical system. They have a strong sense of justice. Feeling characters make decisions based on an innate need for harmony. These characters are compassionate. Examples of thinking characters are Ebeneezer Scrooge from "A Christmas Carol" and Katniss Everdeen from "The Hunger Games." An example of a feeling character would be Forrest Gump.

    Judging/Perceiving

    Lifestyle is the focus of this spectrum. Judging characters proceed toward their goals in an organized way. They like to plan. Perceiving characters adapt to life as it comes. They are more spontaneous and enjoy keeping their options open. An example of a judging character is Hoss Cartwright from Bonanza, also considered a protector personality, a combination of sensing and judging. Hedda Gabler, from the Ibsen play by the same name is a perceiving character. She is considered a creator personality.

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    About the Author

    Alicia Anthony is a seasoned educator with more than 10 years classroom experience in the K-12 setting. She holds a Master of Education in Literacy Curriculum and Instruction and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications. She is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing: Fiction.

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