MBTI: Taking the Character’s Word for it

rock4

It seems whenever a character says something about themselves, people into typology see it as Word of God. No more need to question the personality of the character, they used a word we’re familiar with in MBTI and because it’s associated with a type, there’s no need to dig any deeper.

This character mentions plans, so they must be a “J” type because “J” types plan. This character must be a heavy feeler because they tell another they love them. Or even better, a character cares about certain people so they can’t be a character that prefers thinking over feeling.

Let’s sort some stuff out.

Just like in real life, characters aren’t always as straight-forward as they seem. What’s even stranger is how a character may describe themselves within the story and how audiences take those words to heart so much so that it affects their typing. In reality, I think people just want a character to be something so they bend it to fit what they like but there are also innocent mistakes that are mistakes all the same. When I suspect the intentions are less than innocent are when the user is arguing tooth and nail for a character to be something they aren’t just to have them typed as the same thing as the user themselves. How…convenient.

I actually wrote an article on this a few months ago, specifically when it came to the Joker. I don’t really like arguing for him as an ENTP because of things like I just about arguing for a character to be your type. That being said, he’s so obvious as a character and such an extreme that to not see the tendencies just makes me feel like you’re missing out on a key fundamental in typology- How to friggin’ type.

But as a major example as to what people were looking at when it comes to The Dark Knight Joker is the scene where he talks about not having a plan, being like a dog chasing cars, yada yada yada. But still, people persist in typing him a feeler or a judger for one reason or another. All because of something a psychotic fictional character said about himself as if a character has never been delusional or dishonest about the way they view the world and their place in it.

But there’s an entire article about him so I’ll leave you to it. Another one I’ve gotten a couple confused emails about Rocket Racoon. People seem to have a hard time with all the Guardians of the Galaxy but it’s not too complicated when you just take them for what they are. No need to rack your brain about what functions you’re seeing because unless a character is accurately describing their thought process, you’re not going to search for seeing functions in a character the way you would in a person.

I ALWAYS point at people when I accuse them! So Ni!

I ALWAYS point at people when I accuse them! So Ni!

In any case, people are looking to closely at this raccoon. He’s loud, he’s simple, he’s good with the weapons, explosives, machinery. He’s crude and blunt but you still can’t help but like him. There’s a scene in the movie where he’s drunk and his insecurities come out by way of him pointing a gun and telling everyone that when they get paid, he’s done with all them. What’s the conclusion? INFJ of course.

ENTJ?

ENTP?

No. This guy is ESTP in the comic and he’s ESTP in the movie. Surprisingly, the comic book nobody knew about actually kept the personalities intact in the big screen adaption. And while the traits/actions I listed above could be spread out and attributed to several other types, put them into one character and ESTP is your best bet. If you have to stretch out their traits and another type’s, you probably want to examine the possibility that they’re a different type. If you have to say “I think he’s a depressed INTJ who stresses their tertiary Fi when he’s drunk.” just imagine what else they could be because he ain’t INTJ. You should just be able to say his type without adding a bunch of fillers in the same sentence to argue it.

Most characters aren’t going to need much analysis before you figure it out. It seems Rocket’s mentioning of “plans” throws everybody off and makes them think he’s a “J” type because “Js plan.”

When it comes to Rocket and planning, he doesn’t do much of it. Him having ideas about how to get out of prison, ripping on Quill for not having a plan, and having a “plan” to get Quill back from Yondu does not make him a Te type or Judger. As he says when Quill questions his “planning ability” Rocket says “We didn’t have time to work out the MINUTIAE of the plan!” seeing as how it involved blowing up the ship Quill was on.

I’m sick of typing the word “plan” so I’ll try and wrap this up.

If somebody asks me what I have planned for the day and I give them some sort of an rough answer, that’s not a plan, that’s a general idea. Actual planners have a schedule or at least a more defined idea in their mind of how things should be done and while people who are more likely to be perceivers may be more laid back, it’s not like they wake up from a daze in the middle of doing something and don’t know how they got there. “Huh? How did I get here, doing this thing? I haven’t thought ahead a day in my life!”

Well maybe some people do this.

Well maybe some people do this.

Everybody plans or has forethought, it’s a matter of how strict they are. Rocket ain’t strict. Judgers don’t own planning, people.

The point isn’t that you shouldn’t mistype the raccoon, it’s more about not hanging onto the details of what the character says about themselves but rather what’s actually going on in the story, motivations, executions, etc. This is just one example of many on what not to do when it comes to typing- don’t take the character’s word for it.

Advertisements

3 Responses to “MBTI: Taking the Character’s Word for it”

  1. Kristen Says:

    Something tells me I had some sort of influence on this blog post.

  2. Thank you! I’ve been trying to point out this problem in character-typing for some time now, but was never able to articulate it properly. Well done.

    I really don’t understand the mistypings of Rocket. When I first heard ENTJ, it made me facepalm. He’s one of the most obvious ESTPs that I have ever encountered in fiction.

Discuss!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: