Guest post by Andrew, ENTJ
The Outsiders, S. E. Hinton
Introverted Intuition (Ni): Johnny needs a realistic vision of a better life for himself for his life to have purpose. Unfortunately for him, at the beginning of the book, he lives in poverty with abusive parents; there is no exit strategy, no glimmer of hope for a brighter future. It is only after breaking his back, lying in a hospital bed facing his own death, that Johnny’s will to lives starts to show. Even after bowing to the inevitable, Johnny makes a last-ditch effort to make things better: for his best friend, Ponyboy, and for his hero, Dally. Johnny can infer the best course of action from pieces of information he has; when wanted for a murder, he only decides to confess at the most advantageous time. After the big fight between the greasers and Socs, he has no joy at the greasers’ victory – because in the long run, it would change nothing between the two groups. Johnny has trouble digesting a lot of information at once; he prefers instead to contemplate one piece of information at a time.
Extroverted Thinking (Te): Though it is disguised by his constant victimhood, his small stature, and his young age, Johnny is very direct in his speech. When Dally gives Cherry a hard time in the movie theater where they meet, Johnny comes to her defense, ordering him to leave. When his mother pays him an unwanted visit in the hospital, he makes it crystal-clear that he doesn’t want her there. Likewise, Johnny is also decisive in his actions. He carries a switchblade after being attacked by a group of Socs, swearing that he’d kill the next Soc who’d attack him – and he proves that this is no empty threat.
Introverted Feeling (Fi): For his whole life, Johnny has beaten, and every time, he has taken his beatings without showing fear or pain. It is only when Johnny is beaten and cut by a group of Socs that he reaches his breaking point – and when he does, his main response is through actions (carrying a knife, taking the life of one of his attackers) than through words or other direct expressions (Fi-Te). His hero is Dally Winston, who would be considered a poor role model by almost everyone (long criminal record, almost devoid of love, could make all of the other greasers afraid), but who provided a glimpse of how he could cope with his situation (the absence of family love).
Extroverted Sensing (Se): Johnny resorts to sports such as football to blow off steam when his life gets to be too much for him. Under stress, he is quick to take action; he kills a Soc who is drowning Ponyboy, and he jumps into a burning church to save a group of children who are trapped inside. When acting in this way, his decisions have big consequences that he doesn’t realize until later; he is on the run from the law after saving Ponyboy, and he breaks his back, ensuring that he will never walk again (and sure enough, will never leave the hospital where he is taken) in saving the group of kids. While living with his parents, he is upset that he is never noticed, not even if he doesn’t come home all night.
Note: Johnny is an extremely difficult character to type. I’ve seen him typed as ESFJ and ISFJ, but the functions don’t match up at all. His role model is socially unacceptable (showing an absence of Fe), and he was held back is school because he couldn’t handle the large amounts of information he was expected to know (this would be no problem for an Si user, especially a high Si user). At the beginning of the book, Johnny is in the grip of his lower functions, stewing in inexpressible emotions (Fi) and lamenting the lack of attention he gets (Se). His personality becomes healthier as the book progresses.