Last week, I gave a brief example to show the difference between Sensing and iNtuitive types. This week, since this is the first time we'll be talking about a 'T' type, I thought I would explain the difference between Thinkers and Feelers.
Contrary to popular belief, Thinking and Feeling does NOT refer to the manner in which decisions are made- not entirely, anyway. If that were true, it would imply that Feelers ONLY act when their emotions are involved, and Thinkers are ALWAYS logical. This is not true.
I believe that everyone is completely capable of making decisions based on logic or on emotion. However, the way Thinkers and Feelers portray that decision is different. Thinkers often attempt to justify their decisions through logic, while Feelers often try to justify their decisions through morality. For example, in the 2009 Star Trek movie, Spock justifies his decisions to maroon Kirk on the grounds that Kirk was being disruptive and insubordinate, when in actuality, Spock just didn't want to listen to him (an emotional reason). In Disney's Tangled, Rapunzel tries to justify her decision to leave the tower through emotion ("I've been on this incredible journey and I've seen and learned so much! ...I think he likes me...") even though she made the decision after realizing that the only way she would ever see the lights would be to go herself, so she went (a logical thought process, if not exactly a logical decision).
However, yes, Thinkers do tend to base their decisions around logic, even if they only utilize that logic after the fact. And Feelers do tend to base their decisions around emotion, again, even if it is after the fact.
And now without further ado... let's dive into the fascinating world of ESTJs and ISTJs!
|Star trek : Turtlenotes on Etsy|
ESTJ- The Guardian
"I ask only for the strength to defend my people!" -Boromir, The Fellowship of the Ring (film)ESTJs are realistic, outgoing, and decisive leaders. They hold justice in high regard, and are willing to do just about anything to gain it. They desire order and structure amongst their peers and their subordinates, with very little tolerance for inefficiency, laziness, and messiness. They are both reliable and loyal, and often quite brave. However, they sometimes become critical and insensitive of those who don't live up to their standards. Despite this, they are often socially popular because of their pleasantly boisterous personalities.
ISTJ- The Inspector
"Alas, not me, lord! Look not to me for healing. I am a shieldmaiden and my hand is ungentle." -Eowyn, The Return of the King(Yes, I'm reading Lord of the Rings again, why do you ask?)
ISTJs are duty-bound, honor-driven fighters... even if that fighting happens within their minds or through their words. Like their extroverted counterparts, they value justice, order, and structure. Unlike ESTJs, ISTJs prefer not to be leaders. They are usually perfectly content to play "Best Supporting Actor/Actress" as long as their discoveries and accomplishments are properly considered. They are serious and loyal individuals with few friends, but they fervently cherish the ones they have. Like ESTJs, ISTJs can be critical and insensitive, sometimes to the point of cruelty- both accidental and purposeful.
ESTJ Fictional Characters
Boromir (The Lord of the Rings), Arthur Pendragon (BBC Merlin), Eugene Fitzherbert/Flynn Rider (Disney's Tangled), Thor Odinson (Marvel Comic and Cinematic Universe), Killian Jones (ABC's Once Upon a Time), Sirius Black (Harry Potter), Peter Pevensie (The Chronicles of Narnia), Irene Adler (BBC Sherlock), Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle) Kelsier (The Mistborn Trilogy) Edward Rochester (Jane Eyre), Galinda/Glinda (Wicked: The Broadway Musical)
ISTJ Fictional Characters
Eowyn (The Lord of the Rings), Spock (Star Trek 2009, Star Trek TOS), Severus Snape (Harry Potter), Hermione Granger (Harry Potter), Pepper Potts (Marvel Cinematic Universe), Edmund Pevensie (The Chronicles of Narnia), Reyna (Heroes of Olympus), Gamora (Marvel Cinematic Universe), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Star Wars), Fernand (The Count of Monte Cristo), Sebastian (Disney's The Little Mermaid)
What This Means in Fiction
There are three interesting aspects of the fictional characters who fit into these types that fascinate me.
1. There seems to be a character trait that these fictional characters share that, during my research, I NEVER found any mention of in "real life" ESTJ and ISTJ types. It's aggression. In all of the articles and infographics I read, I never ONCE found any mention of aggression being a common trait. And yet, in the fictional characters, nearly all of the ones I found have some form of it. What is interesting is that it really only seems to be true aggression in the Introverted characters, while the Extroverted characters use it more as persona, a defense mechanism. Here's an example of what I mean...
If you look at the list of ESTJs I have compiled, every single one (except for perhaps Eragon and Peter) has a mask of bluntness, harshness, and/or devil-may-care-ness that they use in public situations. Think of Boromir constantly bringing up and semi-bragging about Gondor during the Council of Elrond. Think of Arthur drawling "Ohhh, don't run away!" mockingly to Merlin after Merlin attempts to walk away from a fight. Think of "You can't tell anyone about this, okay. It could ruin my whole reputation" from Eugene after a brief moment of sincerity. Think of Thor's brashness and loudness which would imply that he is nothing more than an oaf with a hammer, and yet he is so hurt by Loki's betrayal. Shall I go on? Fictional ESTJs tend to have a "mask" of aggression to hide the vulnerability they feel inside.
Fictional ISTJs, on the other hand, seem to often truly be aggressive. Outwardly, they appear controlled, serene, and unflappable, but if you push the right buttons, they blow into a completely unforeseen explosion of aggression. Think of Eowyn appearing so distant and cold at first, and then we see her frantically pacing the Houses of Healing, desperate to return to the war. Think of Spock when Kirk's life is threatened, or, better yet, Pon Farr. Think of Snape completely losing it after realizing that Sirius Black, the alleged betrayer of Lily Potter, had escaped Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Think of nerdy, talkative, and caring Hermione turning rather ruthless when it comes to bullies like Rita Skeeter or Draco Malfoy. Fictional ISTJs tend to house a deep-rooted anger that will burst if targeted.
I'm not entirely sure why this is. Again, none of my resources said ANYTHING about aggression in ESTJs or ISTJs. So why does it appear in fiction? I have a few ideas, but I would love to hear your thoughts on this strange phenomenon!
I think it might be because conflict makes stories interesting. Anger and aggression in a character stays interesting to a reader far longer than peace and passiveness. Assertiveness also tends to drive plots forward. Pixar's Brave did not have much of a plot, but it had an extremely assertive heroine that kept the movie going. However, people also love softies... as long as the "softie" part of the character isn't annoying or obvious. Showing a blunt, commanding, and insensitive ESTJ get pressed into admitting that Merlin is the bravest person he's ever met, or that he desperately loves an ordinary and plain governess makes the character lovable, giving the audience a chance to go "awww".
ISTJs are different. Instead of aggression being a mask, they hide their aggression beneath a mask of solemnity. However, I think the writers create characters who do this for the same reason writers give ESTJs a soft side. It's paradoxical, and it keeps the reader fascinated, while also making the character relate-able. Showing a calm, seemingly emotionless, composed ISTJ sassing the Witch King before destroying him, or his deep remorse at the betrayal of his family and Aslan lets the audience know that no matter how robotic the character might seem, he is deeply and forever human.
And that was only the first interesting thing about these characters! XD These next two are shorter, so bear with me.
2. ESTJs and ISTJs often house the characters that have extremely fanatic and passionate fan bases! Boromir, a character who is, comparably, not in Lord of the Rings very long, who attempts to steal the Ring, and who starts off rather obnoxiously in the Council of Elrond has some of the most die-hard, extreme fans in the Lord of the Rings fandom. I don't blame them. I'm a huge Boromir fan. I actually find myself getting angry when people talk trash about him. Why? I have no idea. He is certainly a well-done character. I sympathize with him without resorting to pity, and I love him without denying his faults. This same sort of fan loyalty has happened with Irene Adler, Edward Rochester, and others! The same goes for the ISTJs. When Star Trek TOS first aired, people were completely enthralled by Spock... and it wasn't just because of the fact that he was really the first main character of a story to be an alien. People simply loved him.
Again, I'm not sure why people love these characters so much. They just do, I suppose. I love the characters in these types, and I can't exactly explain why,
3. You love them or you hate them. This sort of goes along with the above paragraph, but these characters seem to invoke the most audience-emotion... for both ways. I personally LOVE Edmund. I confess, I'm not much of a Narnia fan, but Edmund has never failed to grab my attention. To me, he seemed like the only truly relate-able character in the series. However, I have met people who vehemently hate Edmund. When I try to get them to give me reasons for their hatred, they can't come up with anything, but they simply hate him. This same bizarre paradox of extreme love/extreme hate applies to Snape, Glinda, Sirius, and, believe it or not, Pepper Potts. I don't understand it so I shall not try to explain. I just thought I would point it out.
Have I Ever Written an ESTJ or an ISTJ?
Why yes! The illustrious Miss Ember of Ember Flame is very much an ESTJ. She's very fun to write, but I much prefer her as an ally like she is in Hail Frost then I do a hero like she is in Ember Flame. Being an ally, a bossy little firework to the plot, suits her much better than being a hero. Don't get me wrong, I loved writing her in Ember Flame, but I'm enjoying her spark and attitude much more now that I don't have to worry about giving her a super deep character arc. Her arc in Hail Frost mostly consists of taking a bit more responsibility, and becoming an older sister. Easy and fun.
As mentioned (very extensively) above, these types are prone to different versions of aggression. However, I am reluctant to define this as a "cliche". Cliches make stories weaker, and I am struggling to think of an example where the aggression in an ESTJ or an ISTJ made the story weaker. Actually, I would suggest attempting to find the soft side of an ESTJ and the aggressive side of an ISTJ, and then find a way to show it in your story. You'll have to be careful though. Too subtle, and it won't be "eye-catching" enough. Overdone and it will lose the emotional punch to the audience.
Ember is very headstrong, unrelenting, and forceful. She can also be a bit of a bully, has difficulty trusting others, and is extremely insensitive. This is not, entirely, a mask. She is truly like this. However, she loves very easily. People find their way into her heart without her even wanting them to. She doesn't trust them, but she loves them. This is her soft side.
I've never written an ISTJ, but I think it might help to drop hints at the aggression beneath the surface. A slight frown when the villain mocks her friend, a quirk of an eyebrow when his ideas are callously disregarded. Dropping hints will help make the aggression, once it blows, more believable.
Romantically, ESTJs and ISTJs probably need someone who is orderly and structured, though it might be good for them to have someone a bit more laid-back to tone them down. Think of Uhura simultaneously understanding Spock and respecting him, but also pushing him to open up a bit more because she knows it will be good for him. Think of Gwen steadfastly encouraging and pushing Arthur to be the good king she knows he can be, instead of the prat prince he used to be.
Friends and allies. ESTJs and ISTJs NEED people to disagree with them. They NEED conflict, but they need it to come from someone who is "on the same side". Think of Aragorn and Boromir, how they rounded each other out. Think of Hermione and Harry, both natural leaders but with sometimes conflicting views. Arthur and Merlin. Glinda and Elphaba. Gamora and Peter Quill. Sirius and Remus. And, naturally, Spock and Kirk. The list goes on and on.
ESTJs and ISTJs would probably dislike/oppose people who either lack justice, or don't value justice. Obi-Wan and Anakin. Killian Jones and Peter Pan.
These types have the capability of being either the most-loved/most-hated (Hey! Any emotion in the reader is better than no emotion!) character in your story, or the most unrealistic and inhuman. Pour some effort into the character, find out their secrets, and force those secrets to come to light. Who knows? The character just might get an extreme fan base.
Are you writing an ESTJ and/or an ISTJ? What do you think about them? What do you think about my aggression theory? I'd love to hear your comments!
Also, which character do you prefer, Han Solo or Gandalf? This will help me determine which types to do next. I'm voting Han!
Thanks for reading! :)