The following is a case study of a particular author.
As a prior introduction to the process here see: https://chrisblog662.wordpress.com/2017/03/01/studying-types-via-fiction/
From my point of view, the following is written for the following purposes:
- To give an example of author type categorization in some detail, enough that readers can begin to understand how to do it themselves
- To unpack or provide evidence for some of my suppositions e.g. on relationship between MBTI and enneagram type.
- To begin to look at data emerging from type analysis
We have to start somewhere – here I’ve started with Two as its perhaps one of the less controversial examples, and also happens to be one of the points for which I have more (or more definite) data. Here I will look at a particular author – Louise Cooper – as a sort of ‘case study’ of Two, since she happened to write a series that’s particularly interesting and has a lot of detailed information. In order to look for patterns that are common across Twos etc., I sometimes have to refer to information from other Twos, though these will not be considered in as much detail, at least in this post.
Function Profile of Two
Twos show primary extraverted feeling, with introverted-thinking (the function dominant for Fives) being the fourth function. Twos may be quite intelligent, but their thinking can show a certain non-objectivity, which allows them to more readily accept and absorb outside opinions. Quite often, an extraverted feeler explores or understands their surroundings by asking others’ opinions, solves problems using help, or searches for idealistic solutions. The traditional Hurley-Dobson “centers” model somewhat corresponds, in this case, to the Jungian system, suggesting that the “feeling centre” dominates whereas the “intellectual” centre the final or repressed centre (just as other types repress feelings or instincts).
Possibly, the thinking function has an innate selfishness – a calculating quality – that is difficult for Twos to accept and so develop (theoretically we would expect primary thinking types to have morals but build them through a different process, passing through an amoral phase early which is the level of development feeling types reach using their thinking ). To some extent, Twos still operate from their own needs, but will try to avoid thinking about it consciously. Perhaps “Pride” is a selfishness which relies on some degree of self-justification (which would indicate how it fits next to One righteousness, as well as Three ‘vanity’). /w3 has more of an pragmatic quality, while /w1 is more principled.
To some extent the centre setup here is built into the basic defense mechanisms of the type – primary “Repression” works by removing data [thoughts] to the unconscious, a different affair to how many other types operate (especially 5 detaching from feeling), and requiring the thinking function to remain as it were partially unconscious to operate. Twos are oriented by an adaptation of feeling in a way difficult at times for other types, particularly introverted feelers but also primary-thinking types, to understand.
Wings and Functions
The 2w1 looks fairly clearly to be ESFJ [introverted sensation [Si] secondary] whereas the 2w3 is ENFJ [introverted intuition [Ni] secondary]. A weaker 3-wing probably gives more Ni.
Subtypes and Wings
The 2w3 perhaps is more likely to be the ‘self-preservation’ subtype, as there’s a degree of feed of anxiety into intuition. 2w1s generally seem to be more sexual on the whole, occasionally writing things that are quite shocking.
Because 2w3s have a stronger Ni, there are more likely to have a sort of ‘mystical’ tone about them – something actually a result of the 3 wing, although not shared with normal 3s. An interest in things like the tarot, astrology or the occult seems fairly common.
The structure is interesting, and almost unique (3w2 has a similar relationship with thinking – an ESTP base pattern; 5w6/6w5 operates similarly with the exact opposite pair of functions – Ti and Ni). In a sense part of the normal 3 pattern is ‘inverted’ in the 2w3, to preserve the same stack of functions. The Ni function secondary is somewhat equivalent to having a “6” in tritype, in enneagram terms, showing up in literature as sidekick characters that are 6-like and themes around anxiety, loyalty, and madness.
2w1 instead uses Si/Ne [=7 in tritype, and perhaps 9]. Ne representing an external problem-solving process, this may be a sort of ‘adaptation’ of the One Extraverted Thinking function; the 2w1 reconciles the One’s interests in organizing the external environment with feeling by substituting the slightly warmer, intuitive problem-solving process. The 2w1 overall has more interest in aesthetics (Si) as well as, perhaps surprisingly, a more sort of entrepreneurial focus than the 2w3 [Ne].
Both sorts of Two often are quite interested in music, this being about evoking feeling as much or more than purely the sound (sensation) – this doesn’t necessarily suggest Si secondary. Music as having magic about it appears in both Louise Cooper’s work (2w3), and also as a theme for some 2w1s, e.g. Piers Anthony’s “Incarnations of Immortality” series.
Case Study: Louise Cooper [2w3]
Type: 2w3 so/sp
MBTI: ENTJ or INTJ (relatively detached for a Two)
Categorization based on: MBTI, Holy Idea mention, behaviour review, defense mechanisms.
Louise Cooper was an English children’s author who I particularly enjoyed reading as a teenager (as having a rare ability to make me tear up in places), who died in 2009. In her personal life she belonged to a singing group, and was partly self-educated after leaving school early. She seemed to have an interest in occult business such as the tarot (coming through in her early work The Book of Paradox), and astrology (which features in Indigo book 3, albeit not in any way astrologers would consider serious).
Based on analysis of her work, I would be 100% convinced that she was a 2, absolutely convinced that she’s an ENFJ or INFJ (function setup is Fe/Ni though social introversion may be higher – possibly some anxiety is apparent, though not approaching e.g. normal 6 levels), and almost certainly a 2w3, specifically. She wrote a variety of fantasy novels with occult and romantic themes. Of her series, her personal favourite was apparently the “Time Master” novels (trilogy), but of more psychological interest is her “Indigo” series, since this followed a sort of “spiritual quest” format that’s quite interesting. Overall, the series comprises 8 books; the first two start off with environmental themes but it undergoes a metamorphosis as it goes on to explore deeper themes.
The basic plot [Pandora’s box]: the princess Anghara is looking forward to her upcoming wedding, but is also fascinated by the story of the secret’s of an ancient tower nearby – the “Tower of Regrets”, built by the founder of the island. She ignores custom and her family and opens it, unleashing demons which destroy her family; as she plans suicide, an angelic being appears which tells her she “will not find escape in madness, or in death” and offers her a choice to try to destroy the demons, forsaking her former identity/title which she accepts (barely). It shows her a creature resembling a demonic child which is ‘a part of herself, grown to independent life’ [referred to as her ‘Nemesis’] and also explains that her fiancée Fenran’s soul is held captive by the demons –if she can destroy them, he can be freed.
Adopting the name Indigo , ‘the colour of mourning’ among her people, she leaves to search for the demons, shortly after picking up a telepathic talking wolf companion (Grimya). She resists being tempted by her ‘Nemesis’, which wants to rejoin with/into her and tempts her with a return to the island as Queen, and then goes on to deal with various other demons, one by one.
Interesting points in Book One: The initial section of the book builds a strong description of Anghara’s family and (at least for me) is very successful at building a bond with the characters, showing the authors’ abilities as a feeling type.
Note that while Indigo represents the feeling function (her and the author have quite high levels of positive emotions, generally), her talking wolf represents her secondary intuition [Ni] fairly clearly (earlier in the book before meeting the wolf, the wise-woman Imyssa serves the same purpose; in her other Time Master series, the secondary character Cyllan is psychic). Nemesis and the Tower are interesting because Nemesis seems to represent the [introverted] thinking process. Effectively the whole situation with the tower can be seen symbolically as a conflict between the demands of society and her family, vs. a need to explore inside herself and find out who she really is, beyond just a potential wife/mother, against the opposition of outside forces i.e. family and culture. This sort of conflict is basic to personality/essence, but in the particular form it takes here the personality is driven by social forces that make it characteristically Two-ish.
Something slightly weird in the first book (first printing) is that the author makes a slip where it reads ‘Indigo returns to conscience’ instead of ‘Indigo returned to consciousness’ [something I’d heard a 2w1 do IRL as well, although she was not a native English speaker].
Repression [the Two defense mechanism] may be apparent in use: “A shock, chill as a hoar-month frost, ran through her as she realized that for the first time since leaving Carn Caille, she had formed the syllables of her own former name in her mind.” [i.e. this suggests she has not thought her own real name in weeks or months, if that’s even possible and not just bad writing]
The descriptions of her slowly convincing herself to open the tower are interesting. After the devastation of the castle, she wanders in a numb, dream-like state, extremely calm ( unlike how a 2 might be expected to behave ordinarily and unlike anything explicable by the MBTI – maybe reflecting the wing-3 aspect [suspending emotions to get the job done].
A fear of being unloveable appears to some extent in Indigo herself [after opening the Tower, wanting no one to know her crime] as well as in Grimya [thrown out by the other wolves for being ‘different’].
Book 2: Inferno – here the demon is basically ‘nuclear energy’ and it continues environmental themes in the first book, the first of a couple of directional changes. Indigo kills more people by erupting a volcano to kill the demon. A degree of rage/anger is evident overall in the book (leading me initially to assume the author might be /w1).
Book 3: Infanta – the book here is plot-driven, with the original environmental theme dropped and no real spiritual themes as yet. Indigo becomes a caretaker for a child for about 11 years while plotting the assassination of the usurping king here. Overall a good book, but very much driven by the ‘aha!’ Ni idea and feeling values, with poorer structural design. [Cooper also described her writing style as very much having an idea just come to her, while working in the garden etc. – unsurprising with Ni].
A ‘plot twist’ (or two) near the end is a fairly typical expression of Ni functioning – which redefines problems, rather than working linearly toward a defined solution. The weakness would be that the book as a whole, is really written for a ‘character’ different to the series’ main character, having to go to some length to integrate her. At a stretch, the way the character integrates is somewhat Two-ish (abandoning her needs to become a caretaker). Particular attitudes toward remorse as un-useful are expressed (3 comparative immunity to negative emotions), along with pragmatic views (near the start, the docks give priority to their ship because its ‘from the jewelled isles’ i.e. rich), and a focus on social climbing – the usurper who took over the city is sometimes portrayed as basically OK and a good ruler, despite his takeover of the city being purely self-interested and is also the (unrequited) love interest of another character, i.e. is viewed somewhat as lovable despite his flaws. [He also plans to marry an 11-year old girl to cement his control of the city]. Indigo kills some more people, this time by not telling them demons are involved. The self-satisfied rulership style is slightly reminiscent of Indigo’s father in book 1, who is happy to spent the countries’ tax money indulging his queen (“As long as my coffers can stand it, you can have anything you want!]. Note that interest in social status is particularly high in 2/3, and so having characters be nobles or belong to other high-status families is fairly common in fiction, with little concern paid to problematic aspects of this [that someone is being given respect or control of others despite a lack of any objective personal merits]. In the case of this story, Indigo taking her being a princess for granted , apparently despite her crimes, makes her exile ‘unspeakably bitter’). /w1s also tend to like themes of nobility, but are more likely to want there to be moral or rational justification for that status.
That Nemesis personifies the ‘introverted thinking’ function is somewhat apparent in book 1 (tempting her with her repressed desire to be freed of her task and return home/be Queen), but moreso in books 2 and 3 – described as a manipulator and seducer, it appears to subvert her thinking directly in book 2 where she becomes angry enough to start taking on an ends-justify-the-means rationale, while in book 3 it appears briefly to taunt her with hints or bits of information.
That the ‘demon child’ is somewhat archetypal to the author is apparent in that more-or-less the same thing appears in later works (in a later book by her ‘The King’s Demon, the demon there [Xai] is basically the same). Note that while Grimya the wolf here is fairly clearly Ni, this is an unusual representation– the author really likes animals, but its more common for animalistic or bestial things to represent feeling (particularly introverted-feeling). While Indigo is clearly the [extraverted] ‘feeling’, Grimya does serve a moral or ethical function – or as the final bad guy in book 8 puts it “Ah, the voice of your conscience. Now I know why I always hated wolves”.
Note that Ni sometimes seems to serve more of a moral/ethical purpose than Fi, despite the MBTI’s founder [INFP’s] ideas on this– unhealthy 4w3s/3w4s for example can have a very strong awareness of their personal feelings without necessarily behaving well, and arguably we may have seem a similar symbology for tertiary Ni in a 4w3 [Stephen Brust with “Lady Teldra” – see future posts, hopefully). Another possible interpretation is that a function model really needs to encompass all 8 functions (not just the 4 of the ‘primary stack’), so that the wolf actually is ‘Fi’ as well as ‘Ni’.
Book 4, Book 5, Book 6 – [Nocturne, Troika, Avatar] – slowly progress on more spiritual themes with the demons representing respectively despair, anger and fear. The precise order is not particularly in keeping with enneagram integration lines: Book 4’s demon as “despair” is arguably the first real ‘psychological’ demon, and fits with this being what is fought for at integration to 4, but whether anything is really learnt in the book is debateable [fighting despair with denial, and ending in a strange circus performance]. Book 4 connects the idea of ‘despair’ and ‘illusion’ but isn’t quite convincing in how these are related.
More social climbing appears in book 5 (a plot to take over a Duke’s household using the family curse); book 6 has a conflict between custom/emotion (reinforced by fear) where a priestess is asked to sacrifice her daughter to soul-eating zombies.
The books wander around to-and-fro from continent-to-continent. Some character development that perhaps doesn’t really seem like gaining wisdom – she learns to first stop the “lodestone” that finds the demons (i.e. take a holiday) then eventually throws it away. This on one level suggests her remorse for her actions is not as deep as it could be, or may be that the author is trying to work in themes around freedom (see later) that are difficult due to her framing of the initial setup of the series.
By Book 7 – Revenant , Indigo deals with a sort of quasi-Chinese society which values only work and status, considering abstractions such as music or love valueless. She finds a world holding the lost ‘inner children’ of the people, and also overcomes her hatred of Nemesis (self-hatred?) to finally absorbs/reintegrates it …dealing with her projection and so making the shadow a part of herself [“Thank you…you gave me back my self]. Its more clearly explained that each of the earlier demons she was victorious over were really themselves aspects of Nemesis (and therefore of herself) . She remembers it being somehow there with her, through her previous life. This then explains more the symbolism of the ‘demonic child’ – it being an inner child as it were, but rejected. [and compare also, Gurdjieff’s notions of essence often ceasing development at a childlike level]. The concept of Nemesis being her “self” is also perhaps especially interesting in light of it seeming to be primarily, a thinking rather than feeling representation [at least to me as a 5, I would often see feeling as more about who I ‘really’ am]. In some respects the “demon” here looks 5-ish (a coldness), 3ish status issues are interwoven and the reintegration of the shadow aspect seems unrelated to that.
Romantic Relationships and Instincts, and also Book 8 of Indigo
Overall raw sexual (SX) instinct in the author is fairly weak although its difficult to say how much that is influenced by the market she is writing for, vs. personal preference, and in the latter case how much is then influenced by her gender or social expectations of gender, etc. Occasional sexual references appear only.
By Two standards, Indigo as a character is relatively free of romantic relationships, being committed to her lost love. She is frequently pursued however (a fairly warm friendship with Leando in book 2, and pursued in book 4 by Forth and book 8 by Vinar) – a wish-fulfillment for a 2 (if not unusual). Book 5 has a very brief affair (ending in his convenient death, with her wondering if she is somehow responsible since the power guiding her quest is somehow inside her). By comparison in her other works, other short stories show a similar focus on relationships with occasional cynicism – “The Sunlight on the Water” has a man remain faithful to a woman who died of plague whose spirit returns to him once a year, only to have her turn from him once he becomes old and decrepit [ending with him dying and then, as a spirit, revenging himself by leaving her to frolic]. In another, “Services Rendered” a jealous wife stabs her husband for suspected cheating [also he’s a vampire]. (The depth of relationships on some level is undercut or generates conflicts due to their compulsive quality).
Which leads us into discussing book 8…
Book 8 “Aisling” concludes the series, with Indigo returning home. The book here is complicated by a romance subplot where she loses her memory (with lovestruck sailor Vinar taking advantage of this to convince her she is his fiancé). Overall, this has a somewhat days-of-ours-lives /soap opera feel not unusual for Two. By contrast, Nines seem particularly interested in amnesia for its own sake (themes around self or identity), while here its framed as traumatic (from a convenient blow to the head) rather than triggered by stress, and exists to complicate the plot, including a last-minute escape from a marriage that wouldn’t have occurred under normal circumstances, along with the identity of one character being kept hidden by this (and a completed unexplained name change) until late in the book, which would have hugely reduced dramatic tension. Reduced functionality makes Indigo herself fairly passive for much of book 8, while another new character (the witch Niahrin) steps into her functional role, trying to solve the plot with much more limited information and Grimya seamlessly continuing to plug in to her as a sidekick.
The main interesting point for book 8 however – is that in a final twist, rather than the last demon being destroyed releasing her beloved Fenran, he is the last demon. She finds him actually still alive after the devastation in book 1, now an old man (as she has spent the last 50 years wandering, as an immortal). Having discovered all her powers now, she realizes that if she wanted, she could turn back time to un-open the tower…but that he was marrying her out of ambition, and that if she hadn’t opened the Tower, would have eventually tried to assassinate her brother to become queen.
“For half a century she had clung to the dear and precious memories of the love and the bond they shared and which neither time nor distance could sully. And for half a century she had been deluded.”
The core concept of this, then, reflects the holy idea largely unique to Two, freedom – fighting her love is hard for her (making it the last demon) because freedom relates to the need for or dependence on the approval of others.
The concept is also named explicitly later, despite the author almost certainly having zero knowledge of the enneagram:
“I would name it life, and freedom. For they are what you chose in the beginning. Your own life and the freedom to live it”…[she replies] ”It took me a long time to learn that lesson, to learn that I was free, that my demons were of my own making and that I must face and conquer them in my own way. But now, I am beginning to understand”.
Note that there are indications that (as with some other changes in direction in the books around the nature of demons), Fenran as the final evil was a retcon thought of during the writing of the other seven – in the first book, he is somewhat manipulative and ‘had found ways to manage Anghara’ but generally seems good [and in book 1, protests against her accepting Nemesis’ first offer of reintegration].
Mentions of other Holy Ideas through the series [disambiguation]: “hope” is frequently mentioned by Cooper; this might be expected based on a read of Ichazo (hope as the holy idea for 3), but actually seems almost as frequent in some 2w1s e.g. Danielle Steel (see later). Love is of course frequently mentioned by 2s.
Further Discussion of MBTI functions throughout the Series
Overall, the author expresses feeling values in the form of relationships well (Fe), but characters aren’t tremendously developed (Fi). Creativity is more conceptual (Ni) rather than geared toward problem-solving.
World building is perhaps especially poor – generally scale is poor, with the world suggested to be a future earth but with the whole world being very small (pole-to-pole isn’t far). The main character is white (blue eyes, auburn hair) while having a mother who’s basically an Arabian princess. The mutant wolf is cute, but somewhat excessively is both talking *and* telepathic (and when it first speaks to Indigo is in Indigo’s own language, despite having grown up in an area where humans don’t speak that tongue). These could be suggestive of weaker Ti, again, or high-intuition. The author does however have a reasonable flair for description and certain sorts of practical details – ‘the luxuriant growth of summer foliage of root vegetables’, or describing how the terrain changes where the irrigation ends outside a desert city [Se or practical detail; tertiary] (or if you prefer, Three efficiency); discovering the wolf you’ve found doesn’t have pups ‘because there’s no milk in her’.
Problem-solving in character [Ne or Te] is basically n/a, with solutions often involving finding someone who can help [Fe] (or a dubious intuitive solution – Ni – that works because of magic), or with nothing working particularly and so giving rise to occasional hopelessness.
More on the Holy Idea for Two
Control of emotions seems relatively poor – perhaps with the emotional centre dominating, it is therefore less subject to control by the other centres. “It took all of her willpower to meet his gaze”. This somewhat fits the idea of freedom as ‘will’ – though it specifically implies emotional control, rather than ‘physical’ will [Of the other types, Sevens also have issues around something that could be called ‘will’ but in a more active or physical context – “Work”).
Without going into excessive detail on other Two authors analysed, it is at least interesting to talk about ‘freedom’ [the Holy Idea] as they mention/understand it.
Danielle Steel for instance would be another author that mentions this:
“I lost him, but I got me back…I want to me myself, not someone else’s fantasy. Whatever I do next time, I need to be me, and not get lost in the shuffle to satisfy someone else’s image of what I should be, or could be, or have to be for them…And I’m a little scared now to get too close to anyone. What if I get lost again?”
– Ellen, character in the book Rushing Waters
Note that a basic look even at Danielle Steel’s author bio very obviously supports a Two structure, even if we would be surprised that the worlds’ premier romance novelist is a Two. For her, Literature examination suggests /w1 ( responsibility, loyalty, Si/Ne 2nd and 3rd functions). In light of her being /w1 it is possibly surprising that her second husband was jailed at one point, but without knowing the exact details or feelings involved its hard to say… potential mitigating factors). A notable trend across a few characters in different books is a conflict between an ideal of compassion for employees, and a workaholic attitude that grinds them. Doctor characters are also popular (both prestige and helping others).
Another reference to Freedom that’s interesting to compare with Indigo is in Jim Henson (2w1?) Labyrinth, where Sarah finally defeats the bad guy who is attempting to seduce her by remembering the words from the play that invoked him: “my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom as great…you have no power over me.”
Note that freedom in Two is about an “inner freedom”. Physical slavery in a book is more often an Eight topic (intuitive focus on power/control). Sevens also are not keen on forced labour.
In Piers Anthony (2w1) Xanth series “freedom” appears as a theme in the second book , “The Source of Magic”, where the physically “but not socially” omnipotent demon X[a/n]th is imprisoned for a millennium waiting for someone to release it, as part of a game it is playing.
Other type portrayals in the fiction
While the author’s type is obvious and bleeds through inevitably to the protagonist, Indigo herself is normally described as ‘impulsive and headstrong’, with an adventurous streak that seems 7ish in places – which if it is there is just overlay of constructed traits that suits the narrative. Macce in book 3 (the gritty sea captain archetype) appears 8-ish for the most part, but is again really a stereotype. Similarly we could say Esty in book 4 is somewhat 4ish, Vinar in book 8 perhaps 9ish (?), Cyllan and Grimya perhaps 6ish [Ni], while a number of her bad guys (the usurper Augon in book 3, Carlaze in book 5 and Sashka in the Time Master series) are all somewhat 3-ish. These last are perhaps particularly good renditions since it reflects both her actual wing and tertiary function, but most of these are more superficial attempts to generate individual personalities by the author.
Other Types Considered for the Author & Type Disambiguation
There’s some tendency for the author to have poor structure in favour of dramatic-ness, which to a degree is a 4 trait, but overall the darkness and intensity of feeling here /for Two is lower than would be seen in a 4 (Game of Thrones might be an example there).
1 traits: it took a while to decide on wing for the author (in part due to need to exclude functions from consideration, since she is a key Two for determining which functions go where). The characters do occasionally seem to be chafing under responsibility (a 1 trait), being resentful, and a certain amount of cult activity (in book 2) is also reminiscent of unhealthy One behaviour, as well as Indigo becoming particularly self-righteous at one point there (influenced by Nemesis). In the end however, I put these things down to One-like features within the general Two structure [adjacency] rather than effect of a separate wing.
Comparing the 2w3 to other types, 3w2 has a very different function structure (sensation/thinking rather than feeling/intuition), with 6w5 appearing somewhat similar in some ways but having a higher anxiety level generally (and with this generalized to existing generally or even, what is “real” and not simply socially). C J Cherryth and Philip K. Dick (and possibly Octavia E. Butler) are comparison points. 9s are potentially mistakeable – theoretically we expect 9s to be similarly “nice” but in a more passive way, less actively seductive. 9s lower resistance to mental stress/defenses (diverting energy to inessentials) may be noticeable, and 9s also seem to have deeper questions around “self” and individuality than do 2s. One author that I found particularly problematic to type (tossing up between 2 and 9 for awhile) was Robert Silverberg, who I currently believe would be a 9w8.