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  1. #21
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Thanks for the thought-provoking comments. Yes, video game characters are fair game; I just won't know who you are talking about, since I don't play them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I can identify with the characters in books I read, I can read a book if a character differs from me in some respects, I'll give it a chance, but if those differences are too great then I'll lose interest and stop reading.
    I take it, then, that you identify primarily with characters who are like yourself. Do you find at least one such character in most books you read?

    Quote Originally Posted by shortnsweet View Post
    I've only really identified with a few characters in the past. And usually only on a few levels. When I relate a character to myself, I normally have an inkling that the author has an aspect of themselves or someone they know very well that also has those same resonating qualities- or some great insight into human nature- to be able to reach out to the audience well enough to resonate with them.
    Interesting observation. Turtledove mentioned something similar. So identifying with a character for you has more to do with the author's skill than with any particular likeness between yourself and the character?

    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    A lot of characters that I "identify with" aren't all that similar to me at all, but I can see where they're coming from. Which is rarer than you'd think, because I tend to have a problem with "illogical" characters in movies/books/TV -- not that they're illogical but that thinking that is my first instinct, because I can't relate to them. (This is much more of a problem for me with female characters than male characters, and 99% of the time the problem is with romantic heroines, in movies or books.) So when I really relate to a character's thought processes easily, that's a moment to be savored.

    Almost always, the characters I identify with are thinkers -- and usually introverted thinkers. Often they're moody and dark, and usually they're the love interest to the character that I'm SUPPOSED to identify with. e.g. Mr. Rochester from "Jane Eyre".
    Same for me. I liked Mr Rochester as well. About the "illogical" characters: I wonder if they are easier to understand in fiction, where the reader is often privy to internal thoughts and feelings that remain hidden from us in real life interactions. We can understand them because we have their backstory, the context and motivation for their actions.

    About Beatrice: do you relate to her because you think you are like her, or she embodies how you would like to be, or your "ideal person"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Guess View Post
    Characters that I identify with? Oh yeah, definitely similar; characters who present a mask to the outer world, but inside, tend to be secretive, dramatic, passionate, introspective, and cynical. Those are the characters I identify with the most, and that's me to a T. I also, 99% of the time, identify with the villains, or anti-heroes of the story far more than the regular heroes, as those characters tend to fit those criteria far more often. They almost always have a backstory similar to mine, though admittedly, theirs is more interesting (for now; I have quite a number of years to go, though ).

    It's more or less like I'd say "yeah, that's exactly what I'd do right there". It's almost like living vicariously through the character, and the more similar to you the character happens to be, the more you enjoy being in their shoes.
    I sometimes also turn the tables and imagine what my favorite characters would do in my shoes. Your perspective is very similar to my own, especially the highlighted.

    I have had this thread idea for some time now. I have always read voraciously, and from time to time have a very strong identification with a character. For me, it is almost a physical sensation, like my whole being is flooded by some imaginary current as the character-as-thought-form goes to ground through me. The effect is less strong with movies, I think because the sound and images leave less to my imagination than the bare words on a page. I am trying to understand this better.

    I used to find it curious that the characters I related to in this way seemed so dissimilar, and often quite unlike me. I was looking at external variables then, though: occupation, age, family background, skill set, etc. When I started to study personality theories, however, I realized that what we shared was a common way of seeing the world, of communicating, of solving problems and dealing with adversity. With some of my favorite antiheroes or villains, it is like seeing what I might have been had circumstances been different: "there but for the grace of God . . . "
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  2. #22
    this is my winter song EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Same for me. I liked Mr Rochester as well. About the "illogical" characters: I wonder if they are easier to understand in fiction, where the reader is often privy to internal thoughts and feelings that remain hidden from us in real life interactions. We can understand them because we have their backstory, the context and motivation for their actions.
    Perhaps. I'm not entirely sure. I've been frustrated by "illogical" characters in books, too. On second thought -- my usual frustration has to do with the characters' emotional, impulsive reactions to things. Which is why I didn't relate to Jane Eyre, and why Harry Potter frustrated me so much in the fifth book ("I don't care that I have no information to back up my feelings! My opinion is still valid! *starts yelling at Hermione for being the only voice of reason in the book*"). Although I relate to some impulsive characters, too -- as long as their impulsive decisions are impulsive decisions that I might have made too -- or that I would have wanted to have made.
    About Beatrice: do you relate to her because you think you are like her, or she embodies how you would like to be, or your "ideal person"?
    A little of both. In terms of how she is as a person, I relate to her because I think I'm a lot like her -- although she's put in a lot of tough situations that I will never be in, so I don't know how I'd react (but I'd like to think I'd do what she does). In terms of her strength and intelligence in battle -- that's how I want to be. I have idolized "badass" characters for my entire childhood and young-adult-hood, and I idolize them even more when they're female. Typical female role models in movies can still really irritate me; their strength is Feeler strength, not Thinker strength, and I identify with Thinker strength.

    I have had this thread idea for some time now. I have always read voraciously, and from time to time have a very strong identification with a character. For me, it is almost a physical sensation, like my whole being is flooded by some imaginary current as the character-as-thought-form goes to ground through me. The effect is less strong with movies, I think because the sound and images leave less to my imagination than the bare words on a page. I am trying to understand this better.
    I think it's like a platonic version of falling in love. You really get to know them -- you feel like you understand every facet of who they are. You start to care. And you can't care about characters you don't identify with.

    It's why fangirls and fanboys are so fanatical about their favorite characters. They identify with them to an extent that any "wrongs" done to the character, by a critic or a writer or another character, feel like a personal insult.
    ~ g e t f e s t i v e ! ~


    EJCC: "The Big Questions in my life right now: 1) What am I willing to live with? 2) What do I have to live with? 3) What can I change for the better?"
    Coriolis: "Is that the ESTJ Serenity Prayer?"



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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    I sometimes also turn the tables and imagine what my favorite characters would do in my shoes. Your perspective is very similar to my own, especially the highlighted.

    I have had this thread idea for some time now. I have always read voraciously, and from time to time have a very strong identification with a character. For me, it is almost a physical sensation, like my whole being is flooded by some imaginary current as the character-as-thought-form goes to ground through me. The effect is less strong with movies, I think because the sound and images leave less to my imagination than the bare words on a page. I am trying to understand this better.
    Oh, I definitely agree; I think the reason it's not as strong with characters in movies, is because you have much less time to be able to get in their heads as you do with a book, or even a TV series. It's the difference between imagining something and seeing it for yourself; at least on TV, you've been following the character for enough time to make a deeper connection with them.

    I definitely relate to the physical sensation; it's stronger the more alike the character and I are, though it usually happens with any character I see a common trait in.

    I used to find it curious that the characters I related to in this way seemed so dissimilar, and often quite unlike me. I was looking at external variables then, though: occupation, age, family background, skill set, etc. When I started to study personality theories, however, I realized that what we shared was a common way of seeing the world, of communicating, of solving problems and dealing with adversity. With some of my favorite antiheroes or villains, it is like seeing what I might have been had circumstances been different: "there but for the grace of God . . . "
    Definitely relate to that. Most of the characters (and historical figures, as well!) that I've related to the most tended to be the same personality type as me. Same way of looking at the world, and all of that, plus it made lots of sense when they would act the way they did, even when it didn't make logical sense.

  4. #24
    Sugar Hiccup OrangeAppled's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EJCC View Post
    A lot of characters that I "identify with" aren't all that similar to me at all, but I can see where they're coming from. Which is rarer than you'd think, because I tend to have a problem with "illogical" characters in movies/books/TV -- not that they're illogical but that thinking that is my first instinct, because I can't relate to them. (This is much more of a problem for me with female characters than male characters, and 99% of the time the problem is with romantic heroines, in movies or books.) So when I really relate to a character's thought processes easily, that's a moment to be savored.

    Almost always, the characters I identify with are thinkers -- and usually introverted thinkers. Often they're moody and dark, and usually they're the love interest to the character that I'm SUPPOSED to identify with. e.g. Mr. Rochester from "Jane Eyre".

    The only character that I've read/seen and gone "That is ME" was Hermione Granger. Which makes sense, since for the entire series she was roughly my age, similar appearance (not to Emma Watson, but to the description in the book), just as academic and perfectionistic, tough, assertive... and xSTJ.
    Yes, that is likely because male characters are more likely to be TJs than female ones.


    -----

    I relate more to characters in books also, but there's not a character in everything I read that I see as similar to me. I'm less likely to relate to a character on TV than any other format. Relating for me is not the same as imagining myself as a character either, which I do very easily. The line between the two can be blurred also, as can relating to the real me vs the ideal me (some characters represent an ideal I have, not necessarily how I behave). Rarely can I say a character is a lot like me, but I tend to enjoy the books, movies, shows, songs even, where I can relate heavily to a character.

    In fiction, a character I relate to immensely is Levin in Anna Karenina. In film, Amelie is a character that resonated with me on a level few do.
    Often a star was waiting for you to notice it. A wave rolled toward you out of the distant past, or as you walked under an open window, a violin yielded itself to your hearing. All this was mission. But could you accomplish it? (Rilke)

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  5. #25
    Junior Member Troisi's Avatar
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    I just recently watched Luther and although he isn't fictional, the portrayal of him in the movie really resonated with me.


  6. #26
    Away with the fairies Southern Kross's Avatar
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    In general, I identify with most characters with ease. It's usually not difficult for me to put myself in others' shoes; that is, unless they are foolish and annoying. This may be more of a sin to me than being evil . I often enjoy the more complex villians or difficult, unpleasant characters, such as Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood. Repressed rage or misanthropy perhaps?



    As for those I strongly identify with, they're usually very INFP/4-like: quiet and intense intellectuals, quirky/awkward and misunderstood outsiders, and female characters that aren't silly, emotional wrecks (they are rarer in fiction than you think); with the latter, I particularly identify if there is a strong sense that they feel (and think) a great deal more than they express - Anne Elliot in Persuasion for example. NF characters in general seem to appeal; the non-INFPs NFs often draw my interest because they are similar to me but possess desirable qualities I lack.
    INFP 4w5 so/sp

    I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas;
    they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

    - Emily Bronte

  7. #27
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Southern Kross View Post
    In general, I identify with most characters with ease. It's usually not difficult for me to put myself in others' shoes; that is, unless they are foolish and annoying. This may be more of a sin to me than being evil . I often enjoy the more complex villians or difficult, unpleasant characters, such as Daniel Plainview in There Will Be Blood. Repressed rage or misanthropy perhaps?
    I wouldn't say I identify easily with most characters overall, but I can identify with some specific aspect of surprisingly many characters, even those not like me. It is when I identify with almost everything about a character that I feel the strong reaction I described above. This happens infrequently, usually for not more than one character per book/movie/series, and sometimes none at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Guess View Post
    Oh, I definitely agree; I think the reason it's not as strong with characters in movies, is because you have much less time to be able to get in their heads as you do with a book, or even a TV series. It's the difference between imagining something and seeing it for yourself; at least on TV, you've been following the character for enough time to make a deeper connection with them.
    You have a point here. When I read, I do tend to reread (sometimes several times) passages involving these characters, and then reflect upon it between sittings, something not possible with a movie.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Guess View Post
    Definitely relate to that. Most of the characters (and historical figures, as well!) that I've related to the most tended to be the same personality type as me. Same way of looking at the world, and all of that, plus it made lots of sense when they would act the way they did, even when it didn't make logical sense.
    Yes, I noticed that the characters I relate most to tend to be my type, inasmuch as we can assign a type to a fictional character. I didn't start off with that observation, though, because I didn't want this to turn into yet another "what type is that character" thread. I am more interested in the general phenomenon of relating to or seeing some aspect of yourself in a fictional character, and the kinds of impressions that makes on people. How they experience it, and what they do with the information/insight.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  8. #28
    this is my winter song EJCC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrangeAppled View Post
    Yes, that is likely because male characters are more likely to be TJs than female ones.
    Tell me about it. If it weren't for Hermione, and for Mulan (who at the very least was a Fi/Te heroine, if not a T heroine), I would have been hard-pressed to find a female fictional character I really related to as a child. I wish I had grown up with "The Princess and the Frog", because I really identify with Tiana (ISTJ), and she's such a great role model. Although on second thought, considering how much I looked up to action heroes/heroines even from an early age (at age 7 I wanted to be a cat burglar when I grew up), I doubt that Tiana would have been enough of a warrior to hold my sustained interest/admiration. Now, of course, I relate to her a lot more -- but then again we're about the same age, and both concerned with growing up, entering the workforce, making your dreams a reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    You have a point here. When I read, I do tend to reread (sometimes several times) passages involving these characters, and then reflect upon it between sittings, something not possible with a movie.
    I do this all the time. Especially scenes when a character has a very strong moment of catharsis; e.g. when an amnesiac character regains his memory, or when a previously stoic character suddenly explodes with emotion. There is no doubt in my mind that it's because of my Enneagram type. And it explains my deep connections with characters of types different from mine: e.g. Wolverine (ISTP), House (ENTP), Jason Bourne and Dexter Morgan (both IxTJ, varying depending on the movie/scene).
    ~ g e t f e s t i v e ! ~


    EJCC: "The Big Questions in my life right now: 1) What am I willing to live with? 2) What do I have to live with? 3) What can I change for the better?"
    Coriolis: "Is that the ESTJ Serenity Prayer?"



    ESTJ - LSE - ESTj (mbti/socionics)
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    want to ask me something? go for it!

  9. #29
    & Badger, Ratty and Toad Mole's Avatar
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    It's called the suspension of disbelief, and a movie or a book stands or falls on whether it succeeds in suspending our disbelief.

    And identifying with the protagonist is a sign that our disbelief has been suspended.

    I am hypnoidal so always identify with the protagonist, and for about fifteen minutes after a movie, I remain in character.

    So when I invite someone to see a movie with me I explain I am hypnoidal and that for fifteen minutes after the movie, they should humour me and indulge me, and treat me as a small imaginative child.

    I find it quite disconcerting to be expected to wake up immediately after a movie. And of course I love someone who will indulge me for fifteen minutes after a movie.

  10. #30
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    So you never identify with characters other than the protagonist, or with multiple characters? I almost never identify with the main protagonist; usually instead with a sidekick or antihero, or occasionally a villain. I understand the "staying in character" mindset, though I get it more after reading books. I can read for hours, and it is hard to come back to my own reality sometimes.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

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