8 Introverted Characters According to Myers-Briggs

According to the Myers-Briggs method, there are eight introverted personality types. As we read through our favorite novels and series, we discover fictional characters with their own personalities. So here are eight introverted characters according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

Hermione Granger, Harry Potter

ISTJ (Introversion + Sensing + Thinking + Judging)
The Logistician Personality

Hermione Granger, from the Harry Potter series, is known for her integrity, practical logic and tireless dedication to duty. Just like a Logistician (ISTJ) in the Myers-Briggs scale. She likes responsibilities—a little too much—and takes pride in the work she does. A bookworm from the very beginning, Hermione used logic in everything she did, including in her adventures with Harry and Ron.

ISTJs analyze, check their facts and come to practical conclusions, with adequate courses of action. Moreover, they expect others to grasp the situations at the same time, and can’t stand those who don’t take action. This seems to be the reason why Hermione and Ron were always butting heads with each other.

However, this personality trait on pure logic made her seem unfriendly and inflexible. Harry and Ron’s first impression of her was bad, actually—she was the common know-it-all we all have in our classes. It was only when she stepped in to take the blame for Harry and Ron after the episode with the troll that the three became friends. One of many examples that show us her integrity and loyalty.

Samwise Gamgee, The Lord of the Rings

ISFJ (Introversion + Sensing + Feeling + Judging)
The Defender Personality

We all know and love Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings. He’s Frodo’s loyal companion and best friend. Throughout their journey together, Sam saved Frodo’s life more than once and accompanied him all the way to Mount Doom to destroy the Ring. After all, Defenders have the deepest desire to do good and are the most loyal of friends. They have well-developed people skills and robust social relationships, which totally makes sense when it comes to Sam and Frodo’s friendship. Sam never abandons Frodo and he takes his mission seriously until the very end.

Sam is kind, altruist, and never saw his job in accompanying and protecting Frodo as something purely mandatory. He faced the mission with generosity and humility, also a characteristic of the ISFJ personality. Defenders have this ability to connect with others on an intimate level like no other among introverts. So, of course, Sam and Frodo’s relationship evolves into a strong bond of love and trust. Sam is actually the friend we all would like to have.

Jon Snow, Game of Thrones

INFJ (Introversion + Intuition + Feeling + Judging)
The Advocate Personality

Advocates are part of the Diplomat Role group within the Myers-Briggs scale. They have a strong sense of idealism and morality, very much like Jon Snow, from Game of Thrones. One example is his refusal of lying in bed with prostitutes or random girls, because he didn’t want to father a child out of wedlock. Also, living and being raised with the Stark family has given him a clear moral compass and a strong sense of honor.

Jon Snow sees his commitment to the Night’s Watch as an honorable thing, a duty he must fulfill forever. When he realizes Westeros must unite with the Wildlings in order to survive against the White Walkers, he sees the bigger picture and he tries—and dies, literally—to save the world. That’s the thing about Advocates: although soft-spoken, their opinions are very strong and they will fight tirelessly for an idea they believe in.

Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games

INTJ (Introversion + Intuition + Thinking + Judging)
The Architect Personality

The Architect Personality is one of the rarest and most strategically capable personality types. But can we say Katniss Everdeen is strategic to the point of assessing tactics and outmaneuvering the people around her to maintain control? I guess we can say that. From the obstacles thrown her way and her difficult past in District 12, Katniss became a strong and independent young woman, with sharp survivalist instincts. When she volunteered for The Hunger Games, she showed being a fiercely determined and resourceful fighter who, though being against the Games, was capable of everything to survive.

Throughout the whole process before The Hunger Games, we soon discovered Katniss hadn’t the ability to socialize or act in front of the cameras. And INTJs tend to see many social conventions as stupid. Also, rules, limitations, and traditions are foreign for Architects—something we can all see in Katniss. She questions everything about her society and is always in constant disagreement with authority figures.

As a resourceful person, Katniss is endowed with insightful observations, original ideas, and formidable logic, things that make her the face of the revolution. All these defining characteristics enable her to push change through her willpower and thus galvanizing crowds against a common enemy. INTJ through and through.

Lisbeth Salander - ISTP

Lisbeth Salander, Millennium series

ISTP (Introversion + Sensing + Thinking + Perceiving)
The Virtuoso Personality

Since Virtuoso women are statistically rare, the gender roles projected by society are a poor fit to them—and the first thing that comes to mind about Lisbeth Salander is the tomboyishness associated with ISTP women. What defines ISTPs is their unpredictability and their curiosity. They are natural makers, which means they’re constantly moving from project to project, getting their hands dirty. This fits perfectly into Lisbeth Salander’s nature. She wasn’t able to fit in a common, regular workplace, and she made her living through freelance jobs. She is a skilled hacker, and she learns from her environment as she goes.

Although very anti-social (perhaps due to her seemingly Asperger’s), she trusts Mikael Blomkvist and helps him solve the mystery surrounding Harriet Vanger’s disappearance. She doesn’t even mind Mikael getting into her space, as long as he doesn’t interfere with her principles and freedom.

Overall, Lisbeth Salander is unpredictable and spontaneous, calm and very private. She’s actually quite enigmatic—like many Virtuosos out there.

the color purple alice walker love quotes from books

Celie, The Color Purple

ISFP (Introversion + Sensing + Feeling + Perceiving)
The Adventurer Personality

Celie is mostly a victim. Her years of enduring abuse made her passive and lonely—she thinks it’s better to stay silent in order to survive than fight back and risking not surviving. Despite all this, we see Celie transform herself. She nurses Shug back to health and a bond of love between the two appears. It is then that Celie begins to realize her self-worth, and becomes an independent, strong woman. All qualities from an Adventurer personality.

Also, Celie shows to be willing to stand up for the people she loves. When she sacrifices herself to save her sister Nettie from their father’s abuse; when she spits on the water belonging to Mr. __’s father (just because he criticized Shug). Whenever people mistreat her loved ones, Celie gets angry. Indeed, ISFP’s are passionate and very sensitive to others’ emotions.

Adventurers also use creativity and insight to craft bold new ideas. Celie takes sewing into a profitable business, using it in a form of self-expression and creativity.

Lara Jean, To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

INFP (Introversion + Intuition + Feeling + Perceiving)
The Mediator Personality

Lara Jean falls in love easily. She’s a true dreamer and idealist, just like INFPs. She romanticizes the idea of love, despite never having had a boyfriend. And instead of pursuing her happiness, acting on who she loves, she writes letters to her loved interests, keeping the letters and never intending them to read her words. Talking about an introverted, shy person!

She also keeps all her emotions to herself, so much so that her sister Margot doesn’t even have a clue she’s crushing hard on Josh (Margot’s boyfriend). Lara is also searching for ways to make things better and looks up to her older siste


Redux: Miles of Mostly Vacant Lots

Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter.

Toni Morrison, ca. 2008. Photograph by Angela Radulescu.

This week, we’re celebrating Toni Morrison’s birthday with her 1993 Art of Fiction interview, observing Presidents’ Day with Philip Levine’s poem “A Walk with Tom Jefferson,” and delving deep into the archive to retrieve Gisela Elsner’s short story “A Pastoral.”

If you enjoy these free interviews, stories, and poems, why not subscribe to read the entire archive? You’ll also get four new issues of the quarterly delivered straight to your door.


Toni Morrison, The Art of Fiction No. 134
Issue no. 128 (Fall 1993)

I don’t trust my writing that is not written, although I work very hard in subsequent revisions to remove the writerly-ness from it, to give it a combination of lyrical, standard, and colloquial language. To pull all these things together into something that I think is much more alive and representative. But I don’t trust something that occurs to me and then is spoken and transferred immediately to the page.



A Walk with Tom Jefferson
By Philip Levine
Issue no. 104 (Fall 1987)

Between the freeway
and the gray conning towers
of the ballpark, miles
of mostly vacant lots, once
a neighborhood of small
two-storey wooden houses—
dwellings for immigrants
from Ireland, Germany,
Poland, West Virginia,
Mexico, Dodge Main.
A little world with only
three seasons, or so we said—
one to get tired, one to get
old, one to die …



A Pastoral
By Gisela Elsner
Issue no. 34 (Spring–Summer 1965)

“Anyone who looks,” the man called out, quite out of breath, “has only himself to blame! When you get down to it, you have a choice between four points of the compass, and you can always look at the sky if the view everywhere else gets on your nerves!”


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A Star Is Born: Meta-Critique or Repetition of a Tired Cycle?

a star is born best adapted screenplay

Because all good movies basically come from books, Benjamin Rybeck will be looking at this year’s Oscar-nominated adapted screenplays. First up, A Star Is Born, which, ok, was adapted from the original 1937 screenplay (which included Dorothy Parker as a writer!).


Toward the end of Bradley Cooper’s remake of A Star Is Born, a man named Bobby gives a grizzled, poetic speech to a woman named Ally. The narrative purpose of the speech is to push Ally, a recent widow who has given up her art (i.e., “Popular Singing”), back into the limelight; the actual purpose is to eulogize his brother, who also happens to be Ally’s deceased husband (and a musician in the competing artistic camp of “Heartfelt Singing”):

Jack talked about how music is essentially twelve notes between any octave. Twelve notes and the octave repeats. It’s the same story told over and over again, forever. All any artist can offer the world is how they see those twelve notes. That’s it.

As a moment of metatext, this would shame even freshmen creative writing students if it found its way into their stories. Yet it’s also key to the film, a moment designed to undercut the complainers (like me): everybody knows that Cooper’s movie is the fourth iteration of a story that maybe never warranted a first. But it also seems key to the whole damn process of adaptation—of taking other people’s stories and repeating them across media. Put aside notions of incommensurability for a moment: if music uses twelve octaves, then a film may use ten, a play eight, a novel six, a short story four, but across all narrative arts the tune stays somehow the same—in some way, repeats. (Or I dunno—I probably just don’t know enough about music.)

Even writing this, I feel engaged with repetition. Many people have written about the similarities and differences between the four versions of A Star Is Born since the new one came out in October. The same article, told over and over again. Or, to quote another fictional character in a work of narrative art that has suddenly—weirdly—become relevant again as a monument to repetition: “Time is a flat circle.”


I watched all four versions of A Star Is Born with my girlfriend. Each one took us about two nights to watch. Half of this watching took place in Houston (where we lived in 2018), the other half in Brooklyn (where we live now). We ate a variety of foods: Indian, soup, bad bodega falafel, spring rolls, etc. These were all small variations on the same activity—watching A Star Is Born. After finishing the four movies, my girlfriend confessed to feeling abused by them, watching a woman getting emotionally battered by a man over and over again, then watching that man commit suicide. “Why do they keep making these?” she asked.

In A Star Is Born, a drunken, washed-up male star discovers a talented young woman and pushes her toward fame. Along the way, they fall in love, as her career rises and his career falls. Eventually, he becomes resentful of her fame, drinks more than ever, says cruel things to her—but lo, they still love each other, and she decides she needs to give up her career for him (basically so they can move to a quiet place and he can quit drinking). Realizing this, he decides to kill himself and free her—or something. Then, after a period of tidy movie grieving, she honors him by being really talented at the camera for a while.

“Why do they keep making these?”

The story was first told in 1937, starring Fredric March and Janet Gaynor. It’s a glitzy Hollywood story (technicolor!), notable for being the only one of these films to devote substantial time to the female lead’s backstory—her life before the man, as a working class farmgirl. (It’s a cliché, but hey, better than nothing?) Beyond that, it’s sort of remarkable how quickly Hollywood lapsed into self-parody: just a couple decades into its lifespan, there were already enough conventions that satire could brutalize. But the film has not aged well—gender dynamics are fucked, the technicolor looks spotty, the acting smells of ham, the poor people are caricatures, on and on.

By 1954, A Star Is Born became bigger, bolder. James Mason is a world-class drunk, and Judy Garland is Judy Garland, which is its own thing. Singing becomes a factor, because of that voice, but that also leads to racial pantomimes (like Garland doing a riff on her Trinidadian character from “Minnie from Trinidad”) and aesthetically indulgent musical set pieces (a mere three years after An American in Paris, with the most indulgent set piece of all). Mason’s pride is more wounded here: he balks at being asked to take messages for his famous wife (after a scene in which, as an act of sweetness, he makes her a bizarrely large sandwich—romance!) and has too much dignity to take a supporting role in a movie—too much dignity to be a mere character actor (the trend of popular actors disappearing into supporting roles to beg acclaim hadn’t started yet). At the end, like March before him, he commits suicide by throwing himself into the sea. A helluva gesture—stars just ain’t like us, man.

The 1976 version, starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, moves from movies to rock and roll, which means there are motorcycles. (Kristofferson rides a motorcycle on stage during a show!) Both the 1937 and 1954 versions contain a scene where a studio press agent takes glee in the male star’s downfall, telling him what a piece of shit he’s always been; the 1976 version has, instead, lots of ex-hangers-on vaguely grumbling about Kristofferson’s downfall and a scene where he’s caught by wife Barbra Streisand in bed with another woman (she still loves him—duh). It comes after yet another scene in which the male character’s pride bleeds out after having to take a message for his wife (the nerve!). At one point, Streisand mistakes pepperoni for sausage on a pizza that she’s looking right at! (“Who doesn’t know what pepperoni looks like?” my girlfriend exclaimed.) At another point, Kristofferson issues a sick burn to his wife, who’s complaining about whatever wife characters usually complain about: “What do you know? You’ve only been on two planes.” After all this, he kills himself on his motorcycle, driving that sucker too fast down a desert road toward the glory of oblivion (see: rock and roll!).

In all of these movies, the man erases the woman. He behaves like a maniac, and the woman (who’s obviously more talented) has to endure abuse and tragedy for the sake of love. The erasure is ironic: the women are the more famous characters and, arguably, the more famous performers. Alcoholism—and its related depression—underpins this story but is not engaged with (the man’s dickish behavior seems less to do with addiction and more to do with his being, well, a dick). And by the end, the woman needs to go on stage to honor the man after his suicide. The fans want it. For Garland and Streisand, this scene acts as a showcase for uninterrupted singing. It’s good, of course, but undercut by the fact that, in 1976, Streisand sings a song that Kristofferson’s character wrote and, in 1954, Garland begins her performance by declaring, “This is Mrs. Norman Maine,” taking her dead husband’s name.

When Lady Gaga emerges at the end of the 2018 version and introduces herself as “Ally Maine,” it’s a slight improvement—at least she still gets to be Ally, the character’s name as both normal person and pop star. But she still has to sing a song that her dead rock star husband wrote for her—about her. It’s a good song, a real song. Bradley Cooper’s character was all about strong music, emotional music, about feeling things in a manly way. You know, real art. Not that Lady Gaga crap, with all its costumes and sex. When she goes on Saturday Night Live to sing a song with the lyrics “Why do you look so good in those jeans? / Why’d you come around me with an ass like that?”, his shakes his gruff, manly head in a gruff and manly way. How disappointing, this pop music.

That he wets himself too adds pathos to the moment, but how much pathos does one need?

See, there’s something rotten in this entire frame that even infects a good movie. Because Cooper’s A Star Is Born is good in all the ways that most good movies are good, which is to say, the acting is good, the dialogue is good, the cinematography is good. Good, compared to the other ones, which are bad. I mean, very bad. I’m on safe critical ground here, I think, except for the 1954 one, which lots of people consider a beloved classic but which I found interminable. Nevertheless, nobody seems to really watch the 1937 one anymore (except for articles like this), and the 1976 one has zero defenders I can find. That one, in particular, is plainly bad. Again, there’s a moment where she doesn’t know what a pepperoni pizza looks like!

Am I making sense here? Let me try


Book Riot’s Deals of the Day for February 19th, 2019

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How Do You Translate a Book About Translating a Book?

Literary translator Emma Ramadan discusses the challenges of translation, both in fiction and in reality

Emma Ramadan is one of the new generation of translators helping spotlight the most exciting works from around the world. Never one to shy away from a challenge, Ramadan’s first translation was Sphinx by Anne F. Garréta, a love story with no gender, which presents an interesting challenge when moving from French into English. Her translations focus on the writing of women, but her latest work, The Revenge of the Translator by Brice Matthieussent, examines the dynamic between translator and translated. As the idea that Americans do not read works in translation breaks down, the National Book Awards have brought back the award for Translated Literature and Amazon’s publishing wing leans into its imprint dedicated to works in translation. Emma Ramadan sat down with Parrish Turner to discuss the challenges of translation and how it can offer fascinating new perspectives on culture and place.

Parrish Turner: How does Revenge of the Translator fit in with some of the other books you have translated? What was the process of choosing this project?

Emma Ramadan: Up until this year pretty much, I was always pitching things. I heard about it when I was in my Master’s [of Translation] program at the University of Paris. At the end of the course, someone said to me “Oh you should really read this book,” and I loved it.

In terms of how it fits in with everything else, on the plot level, it is very different than the things I usually do. I am drawn to work more focused on women, non-white male authors generally speaking. I’m also very drawn to books that kind of allow translation to be shown in a different way. With Sphinx, the act of translating that book was very different than translating your typical novel. It was the kind of novel that required some finagling on my part to make sure the constraint came through the same way it did in the French. I am very drawn to the kind of project that takes translation to the next level. Although [this book] is very different in terms of content for what I usually translate, it does kind of bring up that same thing of the process of translation and the act of translation being a part of the reading experience. Because it is framed as this book translated from English into French and because of the end it is being translated back into English, I had to put my name at the end. It is an odd thing that pushed translation and the translator’s path into being something more evolved than the average book.

PT: Did the act of translating about translation affect your approach?

ER: Probably on some kind of subconscious level. I think it’s funny in the sense that this book is clearly poking fun at the idea that translators take over books and make these changes and then I had to literally change one of the character’s names in the book to be me. That feels like this kind of ironic turn at the end.


PT: Do French readers get a slightly different ending?

ER: I don’t think in terms of the way I was translating the book. I don’t think I was purposefully trying to stay super close to the French because I was trying to counteract the role of what Trad was doing and all his interventions. Matthieussent himself is a translator and it was important to me that he read the translation and that he was comfortable with it. He was sent the whole translation and shockingly, he intervened far less than other authors I have worked with. He literally just sent back “oh, you have Doris instead of dDeloris and you have this typo here” and that was it. It was like three comments. He didn’t say “oh, maybe this adjective would have been a better fit here than the adjective you chose,” which I have gotten before. He was very hands-off and went through my translation and [said] “cool, I think you got it.” It was really surprising for me, but also not surprising, because he is clearly of the mind that translators know what they are doing, because he is himself a translator and I am sure he doesn’t appreciate when authors try to give him really insane notes on his work. In terms of that, meeting with the author… was really important to me for this book.

PT: Do you usually meet with your authors?

ER: For me, the biggest benefit of being a translator and motivator as a translator is making those connections and new friends. And even if they don’t end up being my friend, having those new encounters with people whose work I really admire is hugely important. Being able to meet an author I admire and working with them on getting their book into English. That back and forth is hugely valuable and I really love that.

Unless there is an author who is not alive, then I always try and reach out and meet with them. Some of the authors I have translated I have become really close to. Anne Garréta was in Providence a few months back for a conference and she made a point of coming to the bookstore that I run, Riff Raff. That really touched me that she really wanted to see the space I was in and hear more about my life and see what my life was like. I think there is a lot of stuff that goes along with translation, but having connections with authors or with my co-translators is a huge pro. Even if they don’t speak English and can’t read my translation or give me feedback, just meeting them that feels really special. There is an immediate warmth to that relationship and it is very special.

PT: I find it interesting that you describe that relationship as warm because I think that part of what the book is talking about is the intimacy. It seems like you are describing a different sort of relationship than the narrator or the translator of this book.

ER: You mean me as opposed to Trad who is antagonistic with his author and David who is extremely antagonistic with his author. I have never had an openly antagonistic relationship with any of the authors I have worked with. I definitely have had little arguments here and there. If there is an author who also speaks English who also feels very strongly that a certain phrase should be translated a certain way I don’t necessarily agree with that. It can get a little heated, but I have never planted a bomb in an author’s home or stolen an author’s girlfriend.

It can get a little heated, but I have never planted a bomb in an author’s home or stolen an author’s girlfriend.

PT: I mean, there is still time…

ER: There is always still time. I imagine there probably exist in the world translators who really don’t get along with the authors they work with. To me, all the magic of the act of translating would go out the window if I didn’t feel a connection or bond or feel just neutral toward the author. I feel like if I really openly was not getting along with the author, it would make translating their work more difficult and it would make me trying to make the beauty of every sentence wouldn’t make this beautiful moment it would be an ugh experience. Maybe that is why Trad is interfering so much in the author’s text, because


When Women Write About War

World War 2 propaganda poster, Treidler, c. 1943

What complicated times we live in: so many thorny issues need to be acknowledged before we can responsibly or sensitively begin a discussion. As Roxana Robinson—a Quaker who opposes war—told her audience in her 2014 address, “The Warrior and the Writer,” at the United States Air Force Academy shortly after the publication of her deeply researched and compassionately imagined novel Sparta, “You might be surprised that I wrote a book about a twenty-six year old Marine: I’m the wrong gender, the wrong generation, and the wrong religious genre.” Although she avoided the term “cultural appropriation,” it’s clear both from this address and from her other essays that she’s seriously grappled with this problem: the potential violence those of us with the resources to have our voices heard can do to those with less access to telling stories. Writer and activist Nikesh Shukla instructs that anyone “writing ‘the other’ ” should both do the research properly and “ask yourself: why am I telling this story?” In this regard, Robinson is a model citizen, but she never wavers in her conviction that it is the job of writers to be curious about and then “render precisely what it means to be alive.” We would not have Anna Karenina, Robinson writes, had Tolstoy not imagined the experience of a jilted young woman; we would not have Shakespeare’s plays had he not put himself in the shoes of kings and servants alike. “Empathy is the opposite of exploitation,” she says—and it’s with this belief that she approaches Sparta’s protagonist, Conrad.

And how prescient Sparta, written at the beginning of this decade and set between 2001 and 2006, is about our complicated times. Even those of us who once shared the views of Conrad’s therapist mother, Lydia — “war as unacceptable, the military as unreliable” — may have been surprised to find ourselves regarding the Generals in Trump’s White House as the trustworthy adults in the room. Early in the novel, Lydia, having grown up “in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, when the military was shadowed with disgrace,” struggles to understand why her good, sweet son, a classics major at Williams College, has decided to become an officer in the Marines. “I want to do something serious, something that will make a difference,” he explains.

The language he used reminded Lydia of ancient myths, Nordic sagas, King Arthur. Courage and loyalty, Conrad said. Commitment, a code of honor. All straight from the ancient world…

Sparta is about the psychological pain of a young man who believes he has failed to uphold that ancient code of honor. In officer training, Conrad is taught the six steps of leadership: “Begin planning. Arrange for Reconnaissance. Make Reconnaissance. Complete the plan. Issue the order. Supervise.” It boils down to being decisive and taking responsibility for those under his command. Conrad returns from Iraq physically sound, while some of his men have returned in body bags, and it all breaks down. The gasp of a truck’s brakes sounds to him like a gunshot. He ducks, “scalded by fear,” and then by humiliation as others look at him askance. He cannot tolerate having his back to a plate glass window, and he risks causing an accident because he’s convinced that the driver in an adjacent car is holding an electronic device to set off an explosive. He cannot sleep, and if he does, it’s only to wake screaming and in a cold sweat. He cannot concentrate. He cannot make love to his girlfriend.

Reading Sparta, I found myself thinking about excerpts from Douglas Brinkley’s Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War, which I’d read many years ago in The Atlantic. Brinkley quotes liberally from the letters Kerry, then also an enlisted officer, sent to his parents and fiancé as he began to question the moral clarity (a term whose political history Frank Guan dissected in a recent essay in The New York Times Magazine) undergirding his actions: the killing of civilians he witnessed and, in some cases, was complicit in, or the deaths of men under his watch. Although Kerry’s current wife, Teresa Heinz, and his sister, Peggy Kerry, have both alluded to his symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder—nightmares, falling out of bed—Kerry has not spoken publicly about what he has apparently endured in the years since his return from Vietnam. Similarly, Robinson’s Conrad is reluctant to speak about how weak and out of control he feels now that he’s back home in a place that no longer feels like home. As in the Kerry letters, Conrad is crippled by shame at his responsibility for the deaths “in-country” of both the men in his platoon and the Iraqi civilians whose lives they were there to protect. Psychologist Joseph Burgo, in his recent book, Shame, outlines the common defense mechanisms against this excruciating emotion, including projection onto other, which finds its expression in contempt. Conrad, talking with his brother, directs his contempt only at himself:

“You have no idea,” Conrad said, his voice dull. “It’s like I’m a secret criminal. No one here knows what I’ve done…

The canon of war fiction written by women has only recently been adequately recognized. As Emily Temple notes, Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway (with the tragic character of Septimus Smith), and Jayne Anne Phillips’ Machine Dreams should rightfully be included in any list of novels about war—as should many of the more recent entries in Soniah Kamal’s “Fifty Novels by Women Writers on Conflict, Displacement and Resilience,” including Helen Benedict’s Sand Queen, Edwidge Danticat’s The Dew Breaker, Masha Hamilton’s What Changes Everything, Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, and Tatjana Soli’s The Lotus Eaters.

In Sparta, the character of Conrad is conveyed in close third person with such texture and depth that readers may be well into its pages before they realize that his creator is a woman. It’s striking to me that the other most powerful novel I’ve read about the psychological impact of war on those who serve, Pat Barker’s Regeneration, was also written by a woman. Both Barker and Robinson illuminate corners of soldiers’ psyches usually kept in the shadows. I wonder if these female writers have been able to depict the shame and symptoms of their male characters because, as women, they are not themselves as much under the sway of warrior myths, and therefore not as susceptible to feeling humiliated by a failure to abide by those ancient ideals. In other words, Barker and Robinson have perhaps inhabited their characters without fully identifying with them and, in so doing, seen them more clearly. It’s a concept that psychoanalysts and therapists understand. The distance between the observing and empathizing functions is key to the therapeutic encounter: an analyst’s identification with a patient can cloud their perception of that which is unique in a person and the darker underbelly we all share—the ubiquitous aggressive impulses, the “secondary gain” from suffering.

In Regeneration, which opens in 1917, we see what were then called “shell-shocked” young officers returned from the French front lines through the eyes of the psychiatrist William Rivers (a fictionalized version of the anthropologist and neurologist Dr. W. H. R. Rivers), who treats them at the Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh. In her acknowledgments for the novel, Barker cites Elaine Showalater’s The Female Malady: Women, Madness and English Cul


Finding Cherokee America: Deciphering My Convoluted Family History


Early in my last semester of college at the University of Kentucky I went to Oklahoma for my granddaddy’s funeral. We held it in the Baptist Church in Ft. Gibson. I was a little outraged by that on my grandfather’s behalf. He despised churches and preachers. Never had a kind word to say about either of them. And until the casket lid was shut, I was half-afraid he’d rise up and sock somebody. Granddaddy didn’t have a lot of self-control.

But granddaddy stayed dead and we buried him in the Citizens Cemetery on a cold, windy hill outside of town. I think that was the first time I’d ever been in that cemetery. But maybe not; I like cemeteries. And with granddaddy in that one I started visiting Citizens a lot. Every time I was in Oklahoma. Which was two or three times a year because, except for my mother, my whole maternal family was out there, and I was worried about my grandmother. She was a widow after a long marriage, and out in the country at the end of a section line, with only a .22 for protection. Granddaddy had had a car, but she couldn’t drive. 

When I visited in the summers I drove out alone. I was in Nashville by then, teaching school, living not far from my father and mother. But I liked the independence of making the drive by myself, and visiting separately from my parents spread our company out for grandma. It also prevented mama and me from getting on each other’s nerves. But it meant that I often visited the cemetery alone. And I quickly discovered that it wasn’t always named Citizens. When the eastern part of Oklahoma was Indian Territory, the northeastern part was the Cherokee Nation. Citizens had originally been the Cherokee National Cemetery. There were old Indian families buried there. After I’d chatted with granddaddy, I took up roaming among their graves.

On one of those jaunts, not long after granddaddy died, I spied in the distance a large black marble stone. It was nicer than the others and looked much more expensive. That pulled me to it. But as soon as I got there, my breath was taken by the woman’s name etched on the surface: “Cherokee America Rogers.” Her husband was next to her, and some of their children were buried around. It was a family plot, encircled by a little fence. But I could barely take my eyes off the stone. I thought, “What a fabulous name!”


That evening, it was hot in the kitchen. The sun was low in the sky, dropping toward the trees, but still burning through the screen. The air wasn’t stirring outside or in. Grandma and I were at the table eating something fried. Probably fish, maybe chicken. We were alone. Her back was to the west wall. I was sitting not exactly in granddaddy’s old place, but close to it. I wanted to ask grandma about the grave, but I had to be careful. I didn’t want to trigger her grief. So I said, “I saw a wonderful name on a stone in the cemetery today. Cherokee America Rogers.”

And grandma laughed. Her eyes squinted with pleasure. She said, “Ya found Aunt Check!”

I said, “You knew her?”

She nodded. Said, “Yeah. She was a good’un.” Then she told me that when her father and uncle had come to Indian Territory from Arkansas, orphaned by the Civil War, Aunt Check had taken them in. She owned a huge potato farm, and she’d given my great grandfather and his brother work and a place to live. They’d been destitute. She’d been good to them. And it was clear to me that my grandmother still had warm feelings toward Aunt Check, though she’d been dead for many a year by then. 

That grandma told me the story at all was unusual. She lived in the present. Didn’t reminisce. I don’t know if that was just her nature, or some sort of old Indian thing, or, maybe, because her past wasn’t all that pleasant. Grandma had had a hard life. She was nearly 60 when she got running water, electricity, and in-door plumbing. Her childhood had been in allotment times, when treaties were broken and Indians were routinely cheated and murdered. She’d been raised skinning catfish and killing snakes. Then, as an adult, she lived through the dust bowl and granddaddy losing her land to the bank. As I grew older, grandma divulged a little more of the past to me; but at the time, that she told as much as she did struck me as remarkable. I decided she was grateful to Aunt Check. I could see she’d admired her.

Aunt Check and her whole world would’ve otherwise stayed buried in that lonely cemetery.

So I started visiting Aunt Check whenever I visited granddaddy. And I assumed she actually was my grandmother’s aunt. Our family’s allotments were clustered together in the Arkansas River bottoms. My grandmother’s siblings lived on adjacent farms. That potato farm had been on our section line. Some of our family were Rogers. It all fit so easily that I didn’t bother to confirm that relationship with Grandma.

I did start reading some Cherokee history, encouraged by my mother’s first cousin, Earl Boyd Pierce, who was the tribe’s head lawyer and a walking history book. I started with James Mooney’s, Myths of the Cherokee and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees because it had recently been reprinted by Charles Elder, who owned a wonderful bookstore in Nashville. I found it in there one day, and paid, on a teacher’s salary, a lot of money for it. Then when I went back to the University of Kentucky for graduate school, I joined th


Romancelandia, Intellectual Property, and Plagiarism: A Round-Up of #CopyPasteCris

There are things so widely known and accepted that it seems like a waste of time to reiterate them. The Earth is round. The sky is blue. Plagiarism is wrong. There are always, however, people willing to dispute these very, very simple facts. Or, in the last case, people who simply don’t care one way or another.

Yesterday evening, bestselling author of historical romance Courtney Milan said on Twitter that she was going to “name-and-shame” someone later. She followed up this announcement with a blog post titled “Cristiane Serruya is a copyright infringer, a plagiarist, and an idiot”, where she compared fragments from her novel The Duchess War with Brazilian author Cristiane Serruya’s Royal Love. Serruya had lifted entire passages from Milan’s book and dropped them into hers.

Look, Milan put it best: if you’re willing to throw all your ethics out the window, then maybe don’t involve a person with a law degree who clerked for the Supreme Court? And who happens to be an expert on intellectual property?

Then again, maybe she can’t be faulted for thinking that lawyers could conceivably be stupid. Apparently, she is a lawyer herself!

A little tip: just because you seem to be terrible at your job, it doesn’t mean that others will be too. And the romance writing community is packed with lawyers, practicing or not. So if ethics and morals aren’t enough for you, then at least do the right thing from a sense of self-preservation?

Other authors and readers, per Milan’s advice, looked into the book to make sure Serruya had not stolen even more writers’ intellectual property. Boy howdy, the results…

But wait, do you think she drew the line at the blatant theft of fiction writing?

Resultado de imagen para sweet summer child gif

Oh, my sweet summer child

She also plagiarized recipes. That’s right. Recipes.

The Internet being what it is, the perfect hashtag was born.

Eventually, of course, Serruya had to acknowledge the evidence. Wouldn’t you know, it’s her mean ghostwriter’s fault!

Let’s put sarcasm aside for a moment: this is still entirely Cristiane Serruya’s fault. Ghostwriter or not, it was still her responsibility to read the book she was passing off as her own. I have a hard time believing that anyone would acquire a book, slap their name onto it, and then release it into the world without doing at least a cursory reading of it. If she read it, she had to know about some of the plagiarism, and she didn’t care. If she didn’t even read it, she should probably return her law degree, because good lord she has learned nothing. Either way, it’s a staggeringly bad look.

But wait, the plot thickens. Not only was this hodgepodge of a book submitted to the RITA contest, but Serruya was also judging some categories.

Let’s recap, shall we?

  1. “Author” Cristiane Serruya published a book, allegedly ghostwritten, full of stolen words and others’ intellectual property.
  2. She submitted this book for consideration to an award that Ms. Milan was previously not allowed to submit.
  3. She played a role in which books won in America’s most prestigious awards in the romance genre.
  4. When called out for it, she lied.
  5. When lies got her nowhere, she attempted to shift the blame.
  6. As of this writing, Serruya has taken down Royal Love. She has not, however, taken down Royal Affair, which apparently also contains stolen intellectual property from romance superstars.

Theft of intellectual property may seem relatively harmless. It is not. All the authors whose work Serruya stole labored over their stories, creating entire worlds out of thin air. They took no shortcuts: time, effort, and tears were poured into their books…only for this p


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