Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Introverted Characters

People, I just had the most aggravating thing happen yesterday.  I was getting ready to finish up I am Half-Sick of Shadows (the next Flavia de Luce) when I forgot it at the dentist.  Argh.  So now I have no idea what is going to happen and I don't have a book review, but here's the other post I've been working on.
The silly kitten who likes to drink out of the sheep water tank.

I just noticed a phenomenon.  Has anybody else noticed the fact that an overwhelming majority of protagonists are decidedly introverted?  Just a little refresher:  An introvert is a person who needs to "recharge" after being in large groups of people.  It's not that they're socially awkward or unable to be in society, they just have to rest up afterwards.  They often tend to have a lot of inner dialogue and enjoy just thinking. This characterization must be just perfect for book characters.  Think about the last 5 books you read.  How many of them had an outgoing, busy character that spends hours talking to people and never sits and thinks.  As I thought about this, I realized that maybe a book character has to be introverted to be a book character.  Otherwise, the reader would have no idea what the motives were and what was going on at a whole other level.  With the exception of action cartoon characters and Nancy Drew, most book characters have a pretty busy internal dialogue, thinking through things and paying attention to their emotions.  Or, are most authors introverted, so it just feels normal for a character to spend lots of time thinking?  I'd love to hear what you think.  And now I'll close with several quotes that I found from books, just to illustrate my point.
The view of the barn through the trees

From my dear Flavia de Luce (*sniff*)- "Whenever I'm with other people, part of me shrinks a little. Only when I am alone can I fully enjoy my own company."

And another because I'm missing this book so much- "There's a lot to be said for being alone. But you and I know, don't we, Flavia, that being alone and being lonely are not at all the same thing?"
A coat of wool from one of the sheep, ready to go to the mill.

From Meg Murray of A Wrinkle in Time- "Meg, don't you think you'd make a better adjustment to life if you faced facts?" 
I do face facts," Meg said.
They're lots easier to face than people, I can tell you."

From Matilda- "“You seemed so far away," Miss Honey whispered, awestruck.

"Oh, I was. I was flying past the stars on silver wings," Matilda said. "It was wonderful.” "

From Ferdinand the Bull, one of the most memorable children's books- "And for all I know he is sitting there still, under his favorite cork tree, smelling the flowers just quietly. He is very happy."

I have a whole bunch of other quotes, but I won't bore you.  Start reading and notice all of the introverted characters.


  1. I never gave it much thought before, but you're right, I suppose it would be difficult to write a three dimensional extrovert, although I can think of a few. Rochester in Jane Eyre and Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility come to mind.

    I've only read the first book in the Flavia de Luce series so far, but she's already one of my favorite protagonists ever. Such a unique character.

    1. Thanks for the comment! I love your blog, by the way.