Hey SE Readers. Joan with you today. This is the fourth in a series of posts about character types. Most are from my personal observations or public knowledge of well-known people. The other posts are The Attention Seeker, The “I Can Top That” Person, and The Know it All.
My mom used to say, “Be careful of the silent type.” At the time, I was seeing a boy who was somewhat introverted and soft-spoken. Coupled with my extreme shyness at the time, you can imagine how that went. But that’s another story.
I’m an introvert. I think that is a characteristic of many writers. I need alone time, but I don’t want total isolation. At the start of last year’s pandemic, I worked from home for five weeks. I hated it. Getting back to the office and my coworkers was a huge boost to my morale.
There have been many famous introverts throughout history. Among them are Albert Einstein, Rosa Parks, Steven Spielberg, Eleanor Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Hillary Clinton, J K Rowling, Meryl Streep, and Michael Jordan. You can’t argue that each of these people achieved success in their respective fields.
Some people were once in the public eye, then chose to live a more reclusive life. Actress Greta Garbo, chess grandmaster Bobby Fischer, and author J D Salinger are a few who come to mind.
But there are others who I refer to as extreme introverts. Billionaire Howard Hughes was considered eccentric and suffered from extreme obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Huguette Clark, heiress, painter, and philanthropist, lived in a hospital for the last ten years of her life while her various mansions remained unoccupied. She hadn’t seen or spoken with some relatives since 1957. She died in 2011.
Ted Kaczynski lived a reclusive life in the Montana mountains. Known as the Unabomber, between 1978 and 1995 he mailed or hand-delivered a series of sophisticated bombs until his capture. During his crime spree, three people were killed, and twenty-three others were injured.
I envision the extreme extrovert as an antagonist. While Huguette Clark or Howard Hughes weren’t evil people, there’s no doubt Kaczynski was. Another possibility is to write about a character as a loner. They could be a protagonist or you could give them a minor or supportive role.
Would you write about an extreme introvert? How would you use this type of character in a novel?