Using the Enneagram to Create Authentic Fictional Characters

The Enneagram’s Nine Personalities in Literature: Part 2

← Part One
Part Three →

ONE, aka The Reformer. “I’m right, can fix it.”The principled, idealistic type, Ones are conscientious and ethical, with a strong sense of right and wrong. They are teachers, crusaders, and advocates for change: always striving to improve things but afraid of making mistakes. Well-organized and fastidious, they maintain high standards but can slip into criticism and perfectionism. They typically have problems with resentment and impatience. At their best, they can be morally heroic—wise, discerning, realistic, and noble.

  • Basic Fear: Of being corrupt, defective
  • Basic Desire: To be good, to have integrity, to be balanced
  • One with a Nine-Wing: “The Idealist”
  • One with a Two-Wing: “The Advocate”
  • Key Motivations: To strive higher and improve everything, to be consistent with their ideals, to justify themselves, to be beyond criticism so as not to be condemned by anyone.

Ones use reaction formation to avoid anger (i.e. direct anger) and to maintain a self-image of being beyond reproach. (Reaction formation is feeling one thing and then doing the opposite, such as feeling resentful but acting nice.)  “Stress causes Ones to feel that everyone needs shaping up. They are impatient and angry with others who seem too casual about doing what’s right.

One’s can be…

  • Overly aware of their every thought, action, and move.
  • Stressed about having things ‘just so’. They can be sensitive to criticism, as it may indicate their deeds fell short of perfection. Tend to be ‘goody-two-shoes’.
  • Overly responsible.
  • So stuck doing ‘right’ that they deny themselves pleasure.
  • Too rigid and self-composed, giving the appearance of being stoic or a ‘stick-in-the-mud’.

Historical Examples: Confucius, Plato, Joan of Arc, Sir Thomas More, Mahatma Gandhi, Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela, Margaret Thatcher, Prince Charles, Jimmy Carter, Michelle Obama, Hilary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Osama bin Laden, George Bernard Shaw, Thoreau, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, Martha Stewart, Chef Thomas Keller, George Harrison, Joan Baez, Celine Dion, Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky, Bill Moyers, William F. Buckley, Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Maher, Tina Fey, Katherine Hepburn, Maggie Smith, Emma Thompson, Julie Andrews, Jane Fonda, Meryl Streep.


There is a wide range of average Ones in literature: Evan Connell’s Mr. Bridge, Miss Kenton in Kazuo Ishiguro’sThe Remains of the Day, Sergeant Milton Warden in James Jones’s From Here to Eternity, the title character in P.L. Travers’s Mary Poppins, Isabella in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, Dr. Stockman in Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, Felix in Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple, Kyra in David Hare’s Skylight, Elizabeth Proctor in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Alceste in Moliere’s The Misanthrope, Adolphus Cusins in George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara, and Vivian Bearing in Margaret Edson’s play Wit.

Healthy Ones like Clarice Starling tend to be conscious of their underlying resentment and less rigid in their judgments of themselves and others. They forgive mistakes and often have a sense of humor about themselves. While a sense of humor about personal characteristics and limitations is a sign of health in all Enneagram styles, it is an especially welcome antidote to the One’s perfectionistic self-serious tendencies.

Examples of healthy Ones include: Elinor Dashwood in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Katherine in Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient, Dorothea Brooke in George Eliot’s Middlemarch, Constantine Levin in Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Portia in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, and Thomas More in Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons.

Unhealthy Ones see the world in terms of good and evil, with no moral gray areas and can be self-righteous and cruel in their attempts to punish the guilty. Any deviation from their rigid code merits harsh punishment. Puritanical, devoid of compassion for themselves and others, unhealthy Ones are grim and unhappy. Unhealthy examples in literature include: Javert in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, Stevens in Kazuo Ishiguro’sThe Remains of the Day, Beth in Judith Guest’s Ordinary People, Angelo in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, Nurse Ratched in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Allie Fox in Paul Theroux’s The Mosquito Coast.

The emotional compass of The Reformer is wide, ranging from the stress point at Four (“The Individualist”) to the security point at Seven (“The Enthusiast”). At the Four stress point, Ones tend to be preoccupied with the past, loss, and melancholy, while at Seven they embrace possibilities with optimism. Determined to stay grounded and functional in the face of the opposing lures of Four nostalgia and Seven pie in the sky, Ones tend to focus on the present.

Another way of seeing the One emotional arc is in the classic polarities of “soul”—the dark side, the pole of suffering and deprivation (at Four) and the light side, the pole of ecstasy and abundance (at Seven).

In an interior monologue of Sergeant Milton Warden from James Jones’s From Here to Eternity:

Oh, Milton, Warden thought, what a son of a bitch you are, what a fine lyin son of a bitch. You’d sell your own mother to Lucky Luciano if it would secure the hatches on this outfit. You’ll lie and cajole poor old Niccolo into staying, just to make your supply efficient. You’ve lied so much now, he told himself, you don’t know what’s true and what aint. And all because you want to make your company Superior. You mean Holmes’s company, he thought… It’s his company, not yours. Why don’t you let him do it? Why don’t you let him sacrifice his soul upon the altar of efficiency? Yes, he thought, why don’t you? Why don’t you get out of it? When are you going to get out of it and save your self-respect? Never, he told himself. Because it’s been so long now you’re afraid to find out if you’ve still got the self-respect to save. Have you got it? he asked himself. No, Milton, no, I don’t think you have.

Warden’s mental process indicates that he’s a One—self-critical, obsessed with perfection, continually flogging himself to be a better person.

When Warden feels secure and outside the constraints of his normal work environment, he sees the world quite differently, as in this instance when he’s on the verge of making love to his commanding officer’s wife.

Warden set his glass down carefully. He moved toward her on the chair, seeing the nipples wrinkled tightly like flowers closed for night, seeing the feminine grossness that he loved, that was always there, that he always knew was there, hidden maybe behind perfume, unmentioned, unacknowledged, even denied, but still always there, existing, the beautiful lovely grossness of the lioness and the honest bitch dog, that no matter how much, shrinking, they tried to say it wasn’t so, in the end always had to be admitted.

This passage sounds more like a Seven than a One. Sevens are strongly connected to the physical world and often indulge their sensual appetites. Ones experience a consistent pattern of tension between the extremes of Four and Seven. Thus the poles of Four and Seven define the One’s emotional compass, which can swing from depression to euphoria.

Self-preservation Ones, the most tightly wound of the One subtypes, are preoccupied with anxiety about making mistakes. Task-oriented and driving themselves to greater productivity, they see their needs as self-indulgent. Literary examples of self-preservation Ones include Mr. Bridge, Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons, Constantine Levin in Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Isabella in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, the title character in Ordinary People.

Literary examples of Social Ones include Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs, Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird, Leah in Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, P. L. Travers’s Mary Poppins, Dr. Sloper in Henry James’s Washington Square, Molly in Alice Adams’s Medicine Men, Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Sir Thomas More in A Man for All Seasons, Allie Fox in Paul Theroux’s The Mosquito Coast, Kyra in David Hare’s Skylight, Dr. Stockman in Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, Elizabeth Proctor in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Vivian Bearing in Margaret Edson’s Wit, and Javert in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.

But all Ones suffer to some degree from The Reformeral voice in their heads. Even healthy examples like Clarice Starling, Elinor Dashwood, and Dorothea Brooke are self-accusative. Unlike Fours, Ones conceal their suffering from others, yet their feelings are deep and intense. At their worst Ones are pitiless and punitive. At their best they’re literature’s moral heroes.

TWO, aka The Helper. “I’m helpful, can intuit your needs.”The caring, interpersonal type, Twos are empathetic, sincere, generous, and self-sacrificing. They can also be sentimental, flattering, and people-pleasing. Well-meaning and driven to be close to others, they can slip into doing things for others to win esteem. They typically have problems with possessiveness and with acknowledging their needs. At their best, they’re unselfish, altruistic, and love unconditionally.

  • Basic Fear: Of being unwanted, unworthy of being loved
  • Basic Desire: To feel loved
  • Two with a One-Wing: “Servant”
  • Two with a Three-Wing: “The Host/ Hostess”
  • Key Motivations: Want to be loved, to express their feelings for others, to be needed and appreciated, to get others to respond to them, to vindicate their claims about themselves.

Twos use repression of personal needs and feelings to avoid being needy and to maintain a self-image based on compassion. (Repression is putting one’s “unacceptable” feelings out of awareness and converting them into a more acceptable kind of emotional energy.)  Feeling stressed, Twos can become bossy and manipulative, though they don’t allow themselves to see this tendency. They can resort to making others feel guilty.

Two’s can be…

  • Preoccupied with tending to others.
  • Restricted to feeling self-worth through acts of sacrificing, donating, or care-taking.
  • Prone to feelings of being taken for granted or exploited.
  • Neglectful of their needs or unable to vocalize them. They may feel that their needs are inferior to others.
  • Coercive, governing, artful, or calculating.
  • Eager to change for the benefit of others.
  • Very accepting and forgiving.

Historical Examples: Pope John XXIII, Guru Ammaji (“The Hugging Saint”), Byron Katie, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Eleanor Roosevelt, Nancy Reagan, Monica Lewinsky, Ann Landers, Mary Kay Ash (Mary Kay Cosmetics), Leo Buscaglia, Richard Simmons, Luciano Pavarotti, John Denver, Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, Barry Manilow, Dolly Parton, Josh Groban, Bobby McFerrin, Kenny G, Paula Abdul, Priscilla Presley, Elizabeth Taylor, Danny Thomas, Martin Sheen, Danny Glover, Juliette Binoche, Arsenio Hall.


In literature we see a wide range of average Twos: Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in the Rye, Garp in The World According to Garp, the title character in Jane Austen’s Emma, Molly Bloom in James Joyce’s Ulysses, Dora in Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield, Amanda in Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie, Shakespeare’s King Lear and Cleopatra, Will Ladislaw in George Eliot’s Middlemarch, Emile Zola’s Nana, Sophie in William Styron’s Sophie’s Choice, the second Mrs. De Winter in Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, Tereza in Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Hana in Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient, Molina in Manuel Puig’s The Kiss of the Spider Woman, Norman in Ronald Harwood’s The Dresser, and the title character in Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

When Twos are healthy, they’re altruistic—loving and nurturing without strings. They are humble people whose satisfaction is in seeing others’ suffering reduced. Unlike average Twos, they’re in touch with their needs and are able to nurture themselves as well as others.

Healthy Twos in literature include Sidney Carton in Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, Esther in Dickens’s Bleak House, Flora Poste in Stella Gibbons’s Cold Comfort Farm, Hester Prynne in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, the title characters in George Bernard Shaw’s Major Barbara and Candida, Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen’sPride and Prejudice, Mrs. Ramsay in Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, Kate Gulden in Anna Quindlen’s One True Thing, and the black minister in Alan Paton’s Cry, the Beloved Country.

Unhealthy Twos can become aggressive and manipulative, demanding from others the love that they feel they have earned through their selfless devotion. If this demand is not met, Twos can become bitter at others’ “ingratitude” and use their own—often psychosomatic—illnesses as evidence of their self-sacrifice. When Twos deteriorate to this degree, they become so unlovable they actually drive away the love they crave. In extreme pathology, they can become stalkers.

Examples of unhealthy Twos in literature are Gregors Werle in Henrik Ibsen’s The Wild Duck, the Captain in August Strindberg’s The Father, Annie in Stephen King’s Misery, Paula in Roddy Doyle’s The Woman Who Walked into Doors, Dave in Alice Adams’s Medicine Men, and Baby Kochamma in Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things.

All Twos focus on gaining the love and gratitude of others, though their strategies for doing this vary with their subtype.

Twos with the self-preservation subtype, which Oscar Ichazo characterizes as “me-first,” feel entitled to special treatment because of all they have done for others. There is a childish, tender quality to this subtype, especially in the average levels. These are the classic caretaker Twos, who project their own needs onto others and then feel resentful if they do not receive special privileges in return. The “giving to get” motivation is particularly evident in this variant.

Examples of this subtype in literature include Aroon in Molly Keane’s Good Behavior, Little Dora in David Copperfield, Baby Kochamma in The God of Small Things and Shakespeare’s King Lear.

The Social Two, which Ichazo associates with ambition, is familiar in literature. Typical Social Twos seek to enhance their social position through connecting with others, matchmaking, and hosting social events. Popularity is a sign that they are loved, and they bask in being a key figure in their social network. Adept at social climbing, they maneuver to become indispensable. In unhealthy versions, they can become classic co-dependents.

Social Two examples include Mrs. Ramsay in To the Lighthouse, Garp, Holden Caulfield, Flora Poste in Cold Comfort Farm, Barbara in Major Barbara, Esther in Bleak House, Will Ladislaw in Middlemarch, Amanda in The Glass Menagerie and Emma in Jane Austen’s Emma.

THREE, aka The Achiever. “I’m successful, make things happen.” The adaptable, success-oriented type, Threes are self-assured, attractive, and charming. Ambitious, competent, and energetic, they can also be status-conscious and driven for advancement. They are diplomatic and poised but can be overly concerned with their image and what others think of them. They typically have problems with workaholism and competitiveness. At their best, they’re self-accepting, authentic—everything they seem to be—and role models who inspire others.

  • Basic Fear: Of being worthless
  • Basic Desire: To feel valuable and worthwhile
  • Enneagram Three with a Two-Wing: “The Charmer”
  • Enneagram Three with a Four-Wing: “The Professional”
  • Key Motivations: Want to be affirmed, to distinguish themselves from others, to have attention, to be admired, and to impress others.

Threes use identification to avoid failure and maintain a self-image rooted in success. (Identification is a kind of pervasive role playing and losing oneself in image.)  “Under stress, Threes compete harder, even with friends and family. They can also do little things to make others look less successful.”)

Three’s can…

  • Be narcissistic
  • Strive for adulation, admiration, attention, and adoration based on their need for approval.
  • Be overly aware of the image they project to others.
  • Feel the need to outdo and outperform, to outshine those they see themselves in competition with
  • Be prone to dismiss or diminish their emotions.
  • Appear to be self-confident but are more likely to be self-conscious.

Historical Examples: Augustus Caesar, Emperor Constantine, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Prince William, Condoleeza Rice, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Lewis, Muhammed Ali, John Edwards, Mitt Romney, Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Bernie Madoff, Bryant Gumbel, Michael Jordan, O.J. Simpson, Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong, Elvis Presley, Paul McCartney, Madonna, Sting, Whitney Houston, Jon Bon Jovi, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Brooke Shields, Cindy Crawford, Tom Cruise, Barbra Streisand, Ben Kingsley, Jamie Foxx, Richard Gere, Ken Watanake, Will Smith, Courteney Cox, Demi Moore, Kevin Spacey, Reese Witherspoon, Anne Hathaway, Dick Clark.


Literary examples of average Threes include Scarlett O’Hara, Becky Sharp in William Makepeace Thackeray’sVanity Fair, Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, the title character in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Julian Sorel in Stendhal’s The Red and the Black, the title character in Sinclair Lewis’s Elmer Gantry, Marc McGranville in John O’Hara’s story “How Can I Tell You?”, the narrator of John Cheever’s story “The Autobiography of a Drummer,” Rachel in Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, and R. J. Bowman in Eudora Welty’s story “Death of a Traveling Salesman.”

Sigmund Freud once defined a healthy individual as someone able to love and work, and when Threes are healthy they find and maintain a balance between work and priorities. In touch with their feelings and able to empathize with others, healthy Threes have genuinely intimate relationships. They also bring a quality of heart to their work that makes their leadership inspirational. The Horatio Alger novels feature healthy Three protagonists. While Scarlett O’Hara begins Gone with the Wind as an average Three, by the story’s end she demonstrates growth.

Unhealthy Threes become entrenched in a heartless, ruthless, competitive stance. They can show great hostility toward anyone who stands in the way. They generally have inflated opinions of their abilities and are capable of tremendous deceptiveness. If someone threatens to expose the fraudulence of their image, they are capable of cruelty, violence, and even murder. Literary examples of unhealthy Threes include Tom Ripley, Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth, Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, Dr. Raleigh Sanderson in Alice Adams’s Medicine Men, and Richie Arias in Richard North Patterson’s novels Eyes of a Child and Degree of Guilt.

Self-preservation Threes, whom Oscar Ichazo associates with “security,” are the most dedicated to work as a means of survival. More than other subtypes, they can be driven by the need for money and possessions. Willy Loman has this subtype, as does Bowman in eudora Welty’s story “Death of a Traveling Salesman”.

A shoe salesman traveling through rural Mississippi, Bowman has a car accident and approaches an isolated farmhouse. Exhausted, sick, and discouraged, he is met at the door by a suspicious old woman who invites him in:

“I have a nice line of women’s low priced shoes . . . ” he said. But the woman answered, “Sonny’ll be here. He’s strong. Sonny’ll move your car.”

   “Where is he now?”

   “Farms for Mr. Redmond.”

    Mr. Redmond. Mr. Redmond. That was someone he would never have to encounter, and he was glad. Somehow the name did not appeal to him … In a flare of touchiness and anxiety, Bowman wished to avoid even mention of unknown men and their unknown farms.

   “Do you live here alone?” He was surprised to hear his old voice chatty, confidential, inflected for selling shoes, asking a question like that—a thing he did not even want to know.

   “Yes. We are alone.”

Bowman is a Three (The Achiever), a man who pays little attention to his feelings and automatically shapes his behavior according to what will bring him success. Even on the verge of death, Bowman is driven to present an attractive and successful image.

Other literary examples include Marc McGranville in John O’Hara’s story “How Can I Tell You?” the narrator of John Cheever’s story “The Autobiography of a Drummer,” and Levene in David Mamet’s play Glengarry Glen Ross.

Social Threes, whom Ichazo associates with “prestige,” seek social status and the trappings of success. Charming and at ease with others, Threes with this subtype look for external acknowledgment that they are moving up in the world and are accepted in the social circles they aspire to join. Literary exemplars of this subtype include Tom Ripley, Jay Gatsby, Lavinia in T. S. Eliot’s The Cocktail Party, Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth and Julian Sorel in Stendhal’s The Red and the Black.

FOUR, aka The Individualist. “I’m unique and appreciate ascetics.”The introspective, romantic type, Fours are self-aware, sensitive, and reserved. They are emotionally honest, creative, and personal but can be moody and self-conscious. Feeling vulnerable and defective, they often withhold themselves from others while feeling exempt from ordinary ways of living. They struggle with melancholy, self-indulgence, and self-pity but at their best are inspired and creative, able to both renew themselves and transform their experiences.

  • Basic Fear: That they have no identity or personal significance
  • Basic Desire: To find themselves and their significance (to create an identity)
  • Enneagram Four with a Three-Wing: “The Aristocrat”
  • Enneagram Four with a Five-Wing: “The Bohemian”
  • Key Motivations: To express themselves and their individuality, to create and surround themselves with beauty, to maintain certain moods and feelings, to withdraw to protect their self-image, to take care of emotional needs before attending to anything else, to attract a “rescuer.”

Fours use introjection to avoid ordinariness and maintain a self-image of authenticity. (Introjection is both an attempt to overcome deficiency by bringing in value from outside oneself and the habit of internalizing blame for what goes wrong). Fours begin to feel no one understands or appreciates them when stress, and as their discomfort mounts, they demand the right to do what they want to do when they want to do it.”)

Four’s can…

  • Feel like they are missing out
  • Tend to see ordinary as substandard and seek to possess the ultimate in commonplace things
  • Often feel rejected or unworthy
  • Revel in martyrdom
  • Identify with the specialness of their possessions

Historical Examples: Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Edgar Allen Poe, Yukio Mishima, Virginia Woolf, Anne Frank , Anaîs Nin, Tennessee Williams, J.D. Salinger, Anne Rice, Frida Kahlo, Diane Arbus, Martha Graham, Rudolf Nureyev, Hank Williams, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Maria Callas, Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen, Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), Stevie Nicks, Annie Lennox, Prince, Sarah McLachlan, Alanis Morrisette, Amy Winehouse, Ingmar Bergman, Marlon Brando, Jeremy Irons, Angelina Jolie, Winona Ryder, Kate Winslet, Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp.


Literature offers us many examples of average Fours. Among them are: Anna Karenina, Swann in Proust’s Swarm’s Way, Heathcliff in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, the title character in Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Marianne in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, Werther in Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther, Quentin in William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, Orsino and Olivia in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Shakespeare’s Richard II, Laura in Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie, Mrs. Penniman in Henry James’s Washington Square, Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, the title character in John Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman and Adam Dalgleish in Devices and Desires, Gustave Aschenbach in Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, and the title character in Anton Chekov’s Ivanov.

Healthy Fours, like Proust’s narrator in Swarm’s Way, use their sensitivity and imagination to express themselves in art. They often transmute their suffering into gifts that they offer the world. Other healthy Fours apply their self-awareness to exploring their inner workings and expressing their individuality; they live authentic, emotionally honest lives and have a distinctive style. Although their focus is internal and they enjoy solitude, health Fours are compassionate and respectful toward others.

Healthy Fours include Thea Kronborg in Willa Lather’s The Song of the Lark, Alexandre Dumas’s Camille, David Hare’s Esme in Amy’s View, Antonio in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Adam Dalgleish in P.D. James’Devices and Desires, and the title character in Edmund Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac.

Unhealthy Fours can be depressed, overwhelmed with shame, and angry with themselves and others. Unable to function, they are alienated from society, wracked with despair, and preoccupied with death. They may turn to drugs to mask their self-hatred and are prone to suicide.

In Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire, Blanche DuBois—with her sensitivity, ostentatious refinement, and abhorrence of her sister’s husband—embodies the traits of an unhealthy Four.

“Thousands and thousands of years have passed him right by, and there he is—Stanley Kowalski—survivor of the stone age! … God! Maybe we are a long way from being made in God’s image, but Stella my sister—there has been some progress since then! Such things as art—as poetry and music—such kinds of new light have come into the world since then! In some kinds of people some tenderer feelings have had some little beginning! That we have got to make grow! and cling to, and hold as our flag! In this dark march toward whatever it is we’re approaching…. Don’t—don’t hang back with the brutes!”

Unhealthy Fours in literature also include O in Pauline Reage’s The Story of O, Shakespeare’s Richard III, Esther Greenwood in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar, Lestat in Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, Edwin Arlington Robinson’s “Miniver Cheevy,” and Robert Browning’s vengeful monk in “Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister.”

In Four subtypes, the contrast between the Three wing and the Five wing is marked, since Three is an aggressive style and Five is withdrawn.

Average Fours with a Three wing tend towards more dramatic expression. They are also more concerned with projecting a vivid image. Fours with this wing can be competitive, elitist, preoccupied with questions of taste and elegance.

Anna Karenina’s Three wing is visible in her vivacity and charm as well as her strong drive to be part of the social elite. Her aggressiveness toward her lover when his interest in her seems to be diminishing is also characteristic of the Three wing.

Fours with a Five wing tend towards greater self-containment and are rational and analytic. Gentle but passionate, they are less concerned with projecting a dramatic image and more observant of their environment. Though intense, Fours with this wing can suffer greater insecurity. Proust’s narrator is an example: a shy, sensitive loner who is brilliantly insightful about the world around him but also insecure about his gifts as a writer. His labyrinthine writing style seems designed to please himself rather than please an audience. Like most Fours he’s preoccupied with suffering, but his creative achievements reflect a healthy mindset.

Laura, the reclusive, sensitive sister in Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie, is a less healthy Four with a Five wing. So shy she can’t hold a job and without creative outlets for her sensibilities, she focuses her longing and imagination on her collection of miniature glass animals, which seem to symbolize her own beauty and fragility.

Fours generally focus on what’s missing in their lives. Self-preservation Fours, compared to the other subtypes, are less conscious of the envy at the root of their emotions. Many have a strong drive to acquire possessions and create an elegant lifestyle. To this end they can be financially reckless but, needing to feel strong emotion, they find dangerous situations stimulating.

Literary examples of this subtype include Chekov’s Ivanov, Esme in David Hare’s play Amy’s View, the narrator of Isak Dineson’s memoir Out of Africa, and Emma Bovary in Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.

Self-preservation Fours often demonstrate a quality of sensuality, which is apparent even in Emma’s childhood. When her father sends her to be schooled in a convent at age thirteen, her reaction to her religious surroundings is more aesthetic than spiritual. After several years Emma grows impatient with the spiritual discipline. Searching for a rescuer, she marries Charles, a provincial doctor who is a Nine. But her idealized picture of marriage soon crumbles. To compensate, she begins to long for settings, environments and possessions that are missing from her life. Preoccupied with her own unhappiness, Emma focuses on luxury and envies others.

Emma Bovary’s belief that she can shore up her negative self-image by surrounding herself with luxury is common to unhealthy self-preservation Fours with a Three wing. But no amount of material comfort can fill the emptiness.

Social Fours are driven by a strong sense of inner defect and the expectation that others will see their flaws and reject them. They are powerfully aware of what is missing in their lives, intensely envious of those who have it, and may even be ashamed of their own envy. Unhealthy Social Fours fear that their defects make them unable to function in society, and they might have trouble holding down jobs.

FIVE, aka The Investigator. “I’m percept, seek knowledge.” The perceptive, cerebral type, Fives are alert, insightful, and curious. They are able to concentrate and develop complex ideas and skills. Independent, innovative, and inventive, they can also become preoccupied with their thoughts and imaginary constructs. Prone to eccentricity and nihilism, they can become detached, though highly strung and intense. At their best, they’re visionaries.

  • Basic Fear: Being useless, helpless, or incapable
  • Basic Desire: To be capable and competent
  • Enneagram Five with a Four-Wing: “The Iconoclast”
  • Enneagram Five with a Six-Wing: “The Problem Solver”
  • Key Motivations: To possess knowledge, to understand the environment, to have everything figured out as a way of defending the self from threats.

Fives use isolation to avoid emptiness and maintain a self-image of possessing knowledge. (Isolation can be physical and geographical, but it also means being cut off from one’s emotions.)  When stressed, Fives slow down, procrastinating what needs to be done until they feel prepared to tackle it. The more they delay, the more critical their situation becomes, which makes them prickly and high-strung.

Five’s can…

  • Relish their ‘me-time’ and bemoan intrusions into their ‘personal space’
  • Prefer to remain private and come off as aloof, standoffish
  • Prefer not to share information or revelations about themselves but are insightful and intuitive with others
  • Tend to deny their emotions and be unresponsive
  • Have a thirst for knowledge as a mechanism of self-preservation.

Historical Examples: Siddartha Gautama Buddha, Albert Einstein, John Nash (A Beautiful Mind), Stephen Hawking, Vincent van Gogh, Edvard Munch, Georgia O’Keefe, Salvador Dali, Alberto Giacometti, Emily Dickinson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Agatha Christie, James Joyce, Jean-Paul Sartre, Susan Sontag, Stephen King, Ursula K. LeGuin, Clive Barker, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jane Goodall, Eckhart Tolle, Glenn Gould, Kurt Cobain, Alfred Hitchcock, Marlene Dietrich, Stanley Kubrick, David Cronenberg, Werner Herzog, Tim Burton, David Lynch, Jodie Foster, Annie Liebovitz, Bobby Fischer.


In literature we see a range of average Fives: Mersault in The Stranger, Smilla in Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Neara in Russell Hoban’s Turtle Diary, Thersites in Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida, Feste in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, the Fool in Shakespeare’s King Lear, Stephen Dedalus in James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Manand Ulysses, Joseph K. in Franz Kafka’s The Trial, Adah in Barabara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, Anna Wulf in Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus, Peggy in Elizabeth McCracken’s The Giant’s House: A Romance, Almasy in Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient, David Lurie in J.M. Coetzee’sDisgrace, Christopher Banks in Kazuo Ishiguro’s When We Were Orphans, and George in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Healthy Fives are extraordinarily alert and inventive, capable of insights into the patterns of nature and human life. They master subjects and can become world-class experts in their fields.

Literary examples include Beth in Louisa Mae Alcott’s Little Women, Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, C. S. Lewis in William Nicholson’s play Shadowlands, Joseph Knecht in Hermann Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi), and Catherine in David Auburn’s play Proof.

Unhealthy Fives can become out of touch with reality, obsessed with negative thoughts, bizarre ideas, and subject to phobias. When extremely unhealthy, their quest for respite from the torments of their mind may lead them to suicide or psychosis.

Examples of unhealthy Fives in literature include Samuel Beckett’s Molloy, Scrooge in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, Casaubon in George Eliot’s Middlemarch, Frederick Clegg in John Fowles’s The Collector, Janet Frame in her autobiography An Angel at My Table, Hannibal Lecter in Thomas Harris’s The Silence of the Lambs, William in Russell Hoban’s Turtle Diary, Gustave Aschenbach in Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice, and Herman Melville’s Bartleby.

All Fives focus on finding ways of preserving their safety and autonomy in the world, but their strategies vary according to their subtype.

Self-preservation Fives tend to be the most fragile, shy and withdrawn. Their strategy is to minimize needs and social contacts. Intent on creating a safe place to which they can retreat from a dangerous world, they become exhausted by others and need solitude to recoup their energies.

Examples of this subtype in literature include Mersault in The Stranger, both William and Neara in Turtle Diary, Joseph K. in Franz Kafka’s The Trial, Adah Price in Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, Janet Frame in her autobiography An Angel at My Table, Catherine in David Auburn’s play Proof. and Scrooge in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.

As a Self-preservation Fives, Scrooge hoards his resources and uses confrontation to keep himself emotionally distance others, and Barbara Kingsolver’s Adah Price, most comfortable in solitude, finds it easy to cut off intimate relationships.

Fives with a Social subtype seek to become part of society’s intellectual elite through mastery of special knowledge. Social Fives are often scientists and academics who enjoy analyzing social trends and exchanging complex ideas with their peers. They find safety and satisfaction in the social status that accompanies their affiliations.

Social Fives in literature include Sherlock Holmes, Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus, Stephen Dedalus in James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses, George in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, Anna Wulf in Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, C.S. Lewis in William Nicholson’s Shadowlands, Casaubon in George Eliot’s Middlemarch, Christopher Banks in Kazuo Ishiguro’s When We Were Orphans, and Joseph Knecht in Hermann Hesse’s The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi).

SIX, aka The Loyalist. “I’m loyal, the glue.”The committed, security-oriented type, Sixes are reliable, hard-working, responsible, and trustworthy. Excellent “troubleshooters,” they foresee problems and foster cooperation but can also become defensive, evasive, and anxious—running on stress while complaining about it. They can be cautious and indecisive but also reactive, defiant and rebellious. They typically have problems with self-doubt and suspicion. At their best, they’re stable and self-reliant, championing themselves and others.

  • Basic Fear: Of being without support and guidance
  • Basic Desire: To have security and support
  • Six with a Five-Wing: “The Defender”
  • Six with a Seven-Wing: “The Buddy”
  • Key Motivations: To have security, to feel supported by others, to have certitude and reassurance, to test the attitudes of others toward them, to fight against anxiety and insecurity.

Sixes use projection to avoid rejection and maintain a self-image of loyalty. (Projection is a way of attributing to others what one can’t accept in oneself, both positive and negative.)  Under stress, Sixes vacillate between caving in and taking a tough stand. They may first try to make everyone happy, then suddenly turn on the forces that they feel are trying to tear them apart.

Six’s can be…

  • The ultimate worrywart focused on minor, everyday dangers around them
  • Non-trusting and question everything
  • Overly skeptical
  • Affectionate and protective partners and parents
  • Procrastinators who postpone the completion of certain projects for fear of a negative outcome

Historical Examples: Johannes Brahms, Mark Twain, Sigmund Freud, J. Edgar Hoover, Richard Nixon, Robert F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, George H.W. Bush, Diana, Princess of Wales, Prince Harry, J.R.R. Tolkien, John Grisham, Mike Tyson, Bruce Springsteen, U2’s Bono, Melissa Etheridge, Eminem, Oliver Stone, Michael Moore, Spike Lee, Marilyn Monroe, Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Mark Wahlberg, Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Mel Gibson, Sally Field, Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Ellen Page, Paul Rudd, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ben Affleck, Hugh Laurie, Katie Holmes, David Letterman, Jay Leno, Ellen Degeneres, Andy Rooney, Katie Couric, Newt Gingrich, Alex Jones (Infowars), Rush Limbaugh, Chris Rock.


Literary examples include Katharina in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, Shylock in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Wormold in Graham Green’s Our Man in Havana, Leamas in John le Carre’s The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Isabel Moore in Mary Gordon’s Final Payments, Maeve in Alice McDermott’s Charming Billy, Mitchell Stephens, Esq. in Russell Banks’s The Sweet Hereafter, Bernard Sampson in Len Deighton’s Hope, and Rudy Baylor in John Grisham’s The Rainmaker.

Healthy Sixes are courageous, make strong reciprocal bonds, are affectionate and reliable in their relationships, and responsible in their service to the community. Notable for their persistence and hard work, they have a gift for cooperative problem solving and leadership. Celia Coplestone in T. S. Eliot’s The Cocktail Party and Viola in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night are good examples.

Unhealthy Sixes, fundamentally irrational in their actions, may be masochistic or violent. Fictional stories about them often end in psychosis, suicide, or violence. Examples of unhealthy Sixes on a downward spiral include Ahab in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, Satan in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Captain Queeg in Herman Wouk’s The Caine Mutiny, Lilly Dillon in Jim Thompson’s The Grifters, and Will in Alice Adams’s Medicine Men.

Under stress Sixes move to Three (The Achiever) and generally take on the negative qualities of Threes. Some become workaholics while others—like Hamlet, Raskolnikov, and Isabel Moore—act impulsively and irresponsibly, making the situations worse. Taking blind action is a kind of safety valve for the pressure created by their anxiety. As their tension builds they find release in doing something. A Six at Three may also become devious and deceitful.

Hamlet is readily identifiable as a Six (The Loyalist), preoccupied with worst-case scenarios, mistrustful, continually testing the loyalties of friends and family, often immobilized by fear and conflicted about action.

When Sixes feel secure, they often adopt the positive qualities of Nine (The Peacemaker). Their fear dissolves, and they become philosophical, trusting, and optimistic. As their perspective broadens, they grow mellow and relaxed and may admit a spiritual dimension to their lives—something we see in Hamlet, Raskolnikov, and Isabel. Secure within themselves, they can then act with true courage.

The worldviews of Five and Seven, the wings of Six, are in many ways opposed. While Fives are concerned with social self—protectiveness, preventing others from encroaching on their world and maintaining their boundaries with vast stores of knowledge, Sevens are preoccupied with pleasure, new ideas, and expanding their options.

A Six with a strong Five wing is likely to be more intellectual, more intense, more careful about making connections with people. Five is a withdrawn style, and a Six’s desire for approval from and connection with others is diminished by a strong Five wing. They may be wary of affiliations. Both Hamlet and Raskolnikov are Sixes with a Five wing, as are Ahab in Moby Dick and Milton’s Satan in Paradise Lost.

Sixes with a Seven wing are more open to connection with people, more inclined to deflect their anxiety with humor, casual sexual encounters, and alcohol or drug use. They may also be more energetic—even a bit manic—as well as voluble. Not surprisingly, this group includes many stand-up comedians. Sevens aggressively pursue fun and adventure as a way of denying their inner terror. Sixes with a Seven wing do the same thing.

Another Six with a Five wing is Alec Leamas, the title character of John le Cane’s classic thriller The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. Spy stories are frequently a Six genre, in their preoccupation with “us versus them” themes and their undercurrent of anxiety about who is to be trusted. In this story, Leamas leads a hermetic existence, detached from the ordinary world of human affection and relationship.

In Clarissa Dalloway we see how an average Six’s disordered thinking can lead her to choose not what she wants but what she fears least. Faced with two men who wanted to marry her, Clarissa rejected Peter whom she continues to think about thirty years later, and chose Richard, a Nine and a safe choice. Woolf implies that Clarissa’s marital choice was inevitable, even wise, given the depth of her existential terror.

Clarissa’ s Seven wing is evident in her see-sawing between fear and ecstasy. The terror for her is always present, just beneath the surface, and it drives her to seek diversions through giving parties. She is also reassured by the affectionate but not too passionate relationship with her husband. If need be, she can distract herself with keeping the chairs straightened. But the urge to stay in motion is more commonly seen in the Seven wing.


In Sixes, the subtypes are especially distinct. The Self-preservation variant, which Oscar Ichazo associates with “warmth,” is more phobic. People with this subtype seek security through winning the support of stronger people or groups. The most obviously dependent of the Six subtypes, they fear taking risks and resist moving beyond familiar patterns. Clarissa in Mrs. Dalloway, Wormold in Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana, The Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, and Maeve in Alice McDermott’s Charming Billy are examples.

In the Social Six subtype, which Ichazo associates with “duty”, we find people who are anxious about the social order and who might be activists. Social Sixes are sensitive to group norms, conscious of authority issues, and fearful of making mistakes. Sixes with this subtype display a mixture of phobic and counterphobic behavior, and we see that combination in such contrasting characters as Hamlet, Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote, Shylock in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, Celia Coplestone in T. Eliot’s The Cocktail Party, and Mitchell Stephens in Russell Banks’s The Sweet Hereafter.

SEVEN, aka The Enthusiast. “I’m fun, see the bright side.” The busy, productive type, Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their talents, becoming over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness. At their best, they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.

  • Basic Fear: Of being deprived and in pain
  • Basic Desire: To be satisfied and content—to have their needs fulfilled
  • Seven with a Six-Wing: “The Entertainer”
  • Seven with an Eight-Wing: “The Realist”
  • Key Motivations: Want to maintain their freedom and happiness, to avoid missing out on experiences, to keep themselves excited and occupied, to avoid pain.

Sevens use rationalization to divert suffering and maintain a self-image based on feeling ‘okay’. (Rationalization, explaining and justifying, is a defense to allay pain and evade responsibility.)  Sevens try to outrun their anxiety. In an effort to keep themselves ‘pumped up,’ and they are prone to excesses of all kinds.

Seven’s can…

  • Be noncommittal. This group has a tendency to have commitment-phobia, as they don’t like to set limitations or boundaries on their adventure.
  • Be risk takers. Life is meant to be a thrill, and they don’t always recognize the repercussions of their spontaneity.
  • Live happily in the moment
  • Have a positive outlook. These enjoyment seekers are never ‘downers.
  • Be energized. Boundless energy and limitless enthusiasm are their core objectives

Historical Examples: The 14th Dalai Lama, Galileo Galilei, W.A. Mozart, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Amelia Earhart, Richard Feynman, Wassily Kandinsky, Ram Dass, Timothy Leary, Noel Coward, John F. Kennedy, Joe Biden, Sarah Palin, Silvio Berlusconi, Malcolm Forbes, Richard Branson, Ted Turner, Suze Orman, Leonard Bernstein, Chuck Berry, Elton John, Mick Jagger, Fergie, Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Russell Brand, Sacha Baron Cohen, Federico Fellini, Steven Spielberg, Fred Astaire, Cary Grant, John Belushi, Joan Rivers, Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Mike Meyers, Bruce Willis, Robert Downey, Jr., James Franco, Leonardo DiCaprio, Charlie Sheen, Cameron Diaz, Paris Hilton, David Duchovny, Larry King, Howard Stern, Simon Cowell.


In literature we see a wide range of average Sevens: Peter Pan, Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Mercutio in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Gulley Jimson in Joyce Cary’s The Horse’s Mouth, Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders, Patrick Dennis’s Auntie Mame, Bridget Jones in Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones ‘s Diary, Rodolphe in Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Dickie Greenleaf in Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley, Isadora Wing in Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying, the title character in Jong’s Fanny, Leopold Bloom in James Joyce’s Ulysses, Sabina in Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Odysseus in Homer’s Odyssey, Sissy Hankshaw in Tom Robbins’s Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Gulliver in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Vronsky in Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, Voltaire’s Candide, Mozart in Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, John Proctor in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, and Maxine in Tennessee Williams’s The Night of the Iguana.

Healthy Sevens display immense vitality, passionately enjoy life, and are able to sustain commitments to projects and people. Often multi-talented, they are productive and fulfilled in their lives. They are especially adept at brainstorming ideas. Not only do they display original thinking, but their enthusiasm inspires others to creative problem solving that, in their company, becomes fun.

Healthy Sevens in literature include Tertius Lydgate in George Eliot’s Middlemarch, Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones, Monica Szabo in Mary Gordon’s Spending, and Prince Hal in Shakespeare’s Henry IV parts 1 and 2.

Unhealthy Sevens are demanding, materialistic, excessive, and self-indulgent. They are prone to rages when their desires are not fulfilled and tend to escape into drugs, sexual activity, overeating, whatever will offer them temporary relief from their anxiety. Unhealthy Sevens can be manic and subject to panic attacks when they exhaust their resources and have to confront their underlying terror.

Literary examples include Morris in Henry James’s Washington Square, McMurphy in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Francie Brady in Patrick McCabe’s The Butcher Boy, Julian English in John O’Hara’s Appointment in Samarra, Aunt Sylvie in Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping, Phillip Dean in James Salter’s A Sport and a Pastime, and Shannon in Tennessee Williams’s The Night of the Iguana.

Although Sevens are found in all professions, they are especially prominent in the entertainment field as actors, comedians, singers, dancers, circus performers, rock musicians, talk show hosts, and TV news reporters. Behind the scenes they may function as producers and directors. Natural extroverts, they enjoy work that puts them in contact with people and they often find success in public relations, advertising, marketing, and sales.

Their ability to synthesize ideas often makes Sevens innovative scientists, inventors, and computer experts as well as creative designers in a variety of professions. Their love of adventure may lead them to careers as pilots, race car drivers, or travel writers. Sevens are also visible as doctors, psychologists, sex therapists, chefs, venture capital specialists, telemarketers, and Internet entrepreneurs. At an unhealthy extreme, Sevens can become drug dealers, pimps, and scam artists.

Seven’s Stress and Security Points

Seven has links to One (in the gut/will triad) and Five (in the head/thinking triad). It is interesting to note that Seven is the only Enneagram number that has no link to the heart/feeling triad, which seems to reflect this style’s tendency to avoid emotions. Out-of-touch Sevens use thinking to spur themselves to action, and the activity may reassure them that all is well. In a way, a Seven’s pursuit of novelty and adventure is a way to substitute adrenaline for emotion.

Sevens often move to One under stress, where they exhibit the irritability, rigidity, and intolerance characteristic of unhealthy Ones. Sevens at the One stress point can be self-critical and compulsive, but unlike Ones they may feel a need to defend their goodness and rightness, which necessitates blaming others. When Sevens fail to get the nourishment they crave, they may express their frustration in tantrum—like explosions of temper.

When Sevens feel safe and in control of their lives they often move to their security point, Five. Sevens at Five are able to concentrate and apply their imagination to completing tasks. In this frame of mind they are able to tolerate the solitude and lack of external stimulation that otherwise distract them. They learn to confront the shadow side of themselves and focus on depth of understanding and accomplishment rather than seeking continual distractions.


There is a marked contrast between Sevens with a Six wing and those with an Eight wing. While Six is a compliant/dependent style—giving the Seven more ability to connect with others, Eight is an aggressive style that reinforces the Seven’s own tendency to dominate others.

Average Sevens with a Six wing are more able to relate to others as equals Sixes have a gift for choosing allies and avoiding conflicts when possible. The Six wing’s tendency is to avoid conflict and establish alliances, which softens the Seven’s impulsiveness. Sevens with a Six wing have a natural exuberance and humor that makes them likeable. Professional comedians often display this wing.

In Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Holly’s Six wing reveals itself in her natural charm, her vulnerability, and her occasional ability to confront her fears. Unlike a Six, however, Holly has a generally upbeat quality and a short attention span. Sevens with a Six wing seem especially prone to Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD).

All Sevens feel that the world is a dangerous place; the issue is whether to flee, at Six, or confront, at Eight. Eights can be bulldozers who defuse potential threats by direct and immediate confrontation, and average Sevens with an Eight wing are usually more aggressive. They care less about being liked than Sevens with a Six wing, but they remain oriented toward enjoyable activities, unlike Eights, who are more centrally power-driven. Sevens with this wing tend to be more materialistically oriented.

Peter Pan’s Eight wing is evident in the way he resists committing to anyone for fear of limiting his freedom. He seems more comfortable fighting with Captain Hook than sitting by the fire with Wendy. He also takes more pleasure in playing his pipes than in talking, and finds it difficult to remember even people who have been close to him.

Isadora Wing, narrator and protagonist of Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying, is a good example of a Seven with a Six wing. Throughout the novel, we see Isadora’s preoccupation with loyalty to her husband—influenced by her Six wing—on a collision course with her Seven desire for freedom.

Isadora is also conflicted over her Sevenish need for many lovers and her need to be alone and write—at her Five security point. Her vision of the “zipless f*ck” is a classic Seven fantasy.

Energetic and optimistic, Sevens of all subtypes evade their underlying anxiety by chasing life’s pleasures, staying in motion and seeking new options.

Self-preservation Sevens, whom Oscar Ichazo calls “defenders,” highly social, unlike the self-preservation subtypes of other Enneagram styles. Sevens of this subtype seek out like-minded people to share fun, information, and stimulation. They see their circle of friendships and family as a barricade against boredom, stagnation, and pain. Enthusiastic about acquiring possessions as well as having new experiences, self-preservation Sevens are often more materialistic than the other subtypes of Seven.

Examples include Peter Pan, Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, Sissy Hankshaw in Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, Voltaire’s Candide, the title character in Daniel Defoe’s Molly Flanders, Morris in Henry James’s Washington Square, Leopold Bloom in James Joyce’s Ulysses, the title character in Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, the title character in Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary, and the title character in Patrick Dennis’ Auntie Mame.

A strong example of a self-preservation Seven is Phillip Dean in James Salter’s novel A Sport and a Pastime. The character’s materialism and narcissism are especially common in less healthy individuals with this subtype. Driving through France in an elegant vintage car he has borrowed Dean, a young American, hopes to use as his base a house that belongs to friends in Paris. Dean’s love of speed and desire to impress a man who is staying in the house are quickly evident.

Sevens with a Sexual subtype, whom Ichazo associates with “suggestibility,” are enthusiastic about new experiences, continually seeking partners and enjoying new ideas. They often have powerful imaginations. Fascinated by their own flights of fancy as well as their fantasies about other people, Sexual Sevens can easily grow bored and often find it difficult to sustain commitments in love or work.

Literary examples of this subtype include Mercutio in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Fevvers in Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus, the title character in Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones, Rodolphe in Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Isadora Wing in Fear of Flying, McMurphy in Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Odysseus in Homer’s The Odyssey, Gulley Jimson in Joyce Cary’s The Horse’s Mouth, Julian English in Appointment in Samarra, Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing, Maxine in Tennessee Williams’s The Night of the Iguana, and Monica Szabo in Mary Gordon’s Spending.

EIGHT, aka The Challenger. “I’m powerful, responsible.”The powerful, aggressive type, Eights are self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive but can also be ego-centric and domineering. Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating. Eights typically have problems with their tempers and with allowing themselves to be vulnerable. At their best, self-mastering, they use their strength to improve others’ lives, becoming heroic, magnanimous, and inspiring.

  • Basic Fear: Of being harmed or controlled by others
  • Basic Desire: To protect themselves (to be in control of their destiny)
  • Eight with a Seven-Wing: “The Maverick”
  • Eight with a Nine-Wing: “The Bear”
  • Key Motivations: To be self-reliant, to prove their strength and resist weakness, to be important in their world, to dominate the environment, and to stay in control of their situation.

Eights use denial to avoid vulnerability and to maintain a self-image rooted in strength. (Denial is a kind of forceful re-directing of attention and feeling based on willfulness and control).  When stressed, Eights can be domineering. Because they won’t compromise, they become increasingly difficult to be around.

Eight’s can be…

  • Impulsive and with the tendency to aggravate circumstances for personal stimulation
  • Advocates for the underdog, willing to defend those who are weaker. They make excellent and resourceful problem solvers.
  • Short-tempered and bold. They will face any opposition.
  • Overpowering. They may be bullying, confrontational, controlling or assertive. Rarely will they back down.
  • Non-accepting of their vulnerabilities. They do not see themselves as weak or acknowledge their own susceptibility. Like a protective shield or dome, they feel if they are aggressive ‘outwardly’, then nobody will be able to penetrate them ’inwardly’.

Historical Examples: Winston Churchill, Oskar Schindler, Fidel Castro, Martin Luther King, Jr., Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, G.I. Gurdjieff, Pablo Picasso, Richard Wagner, Sean Connery, Susan Sarandon, Glenn Close, John Wayne, Charlton Heston, Norman Mailer, Mike Wallace, Toni Morrison, Lee Iococca, Donald Trump, Frank Sinatra, Bette Davis, Roseanne Barr, James Brown, Leona Helmsley, Sigourney Weaver, Saddham Hussein, Aretha Franklin, Keith Richards, Queen Latifah, Jack Black, Chrissie Hynde, Pink, John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Bette Davis, Mae West, Sean Connery, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Jack Nicholson, Susan Sarandon, Russell Crowe, Sean Penn, Harvey Keitel, Matt Damon, Alec Baldwin, Roseanne Barr, Barbara Walters, Rosie O’Donnell.


In the movies, male Eights are often the heroes of westerns, war stories and action—adventure films. John Wayne, Charles Bronson, and Clint Eastwood have often played Eight characters. There are also many colorful Eight film villains, such as Marlon Brando in The Godfather and Lee J. Cobb in On the 6Vaterfront. Whether inspiring or terrifying, Eights can seem like a force of e—impressive in their energy and physical power. Female Eights are not as visible in films as their male counterparts. The physical power and combativeness of Eight is at odds with many cultural ideals of femininity, and aggressive Eight women can be viewed as oddities if not aberrations. Some female Eight comediennes play on this and use comedy to defuse the threat of their power. Roseanne, who often plays Eight roles and prefers to be called “killer bitch” rather than “feminist,” puts it this way:

“It’s like this: I gave birth to ya, and I can take ya out, too. I think that’s what makes me a bit different from other women. Because I’ll beat the shit out of them, and not just verbally. I’m not opposed to violence. In fact, I think it’s great. I think women should be more violent, kill more of their husbands. I like the fight. If people are comin’ at you, you don’t just sit there and lay down and go, `Oh, bless you.’ That’s not in the human arsenal. To say that women should do that is to say women aren’t human.”

Average Eights take a pragmatic attitude toward life and seek to dominate the world they live in. Since they see society as filled with ruthless competitors, they often respond by being confrontational, intimidating, and excessive, as represented by such characters as Stanley Kowalski in Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire, Jimmy Porter in John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger, Michael Henchard in Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge, Antony in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, Petruchio in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, the Wife of Bath in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, Lady Bracknell in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Tom in David Hare’s Skylight, and the Red Queen in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland.

Healthy Eights are archetypal leaders—magnanimous, protective of the weak, passionate, effective. They often have a vision of a better world and courageously use their extraordinary energies to make it a reality. In addition to V. I. Warshawski and Andrew Undershaft, we see examples in George Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joan, Jean Valjean in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, Mary Russell in Laurie R. King’s The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, and Kinsey Milhone in Sue Grafton’s detective series (A Is for Alibi, etc.).

For unhealthy Eights, confrontation and intimidation have become a way of life. Often violent, abusive, ruthless and vengeful, they are visible in such books as Mario Puzo’s The Godfather and The Last Don and Roddy Doyle’s The Woman Who Walked into Doors.

Self-preservation Eights are preoccupied, in Oscar Ichazo’s words, with “satisfactory survival.” Average individuals with this subtype are materialistic. They tend to be competitive and driven to amass money and power for themselves and their families. Since Self-preservation Eights’ sense of personal security comes from controlling their material resources—as well as the people in their life—the threat of losing their wealth can throw them into a panic.

Literary examples of the self-preservation subtype include the Wife of Bath in Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and Charlie Croker in Tom Wolfe’s A Man in Full.

Eights with a Social subtype, which Ichazo associates with “friendship,” focus on being part of a group, usually as its leader. They are often devoted to social causes and play the role of protector of a chosen group, especially against other groups. Social Eights also have a complicit quality, of being willing to let their hair down among trusted friends. Because they feel more accountable to others, the anti—social tendencies of the Eight style are generally less evident in this subtype.

Examples of Social Eights include: Michael Henchard in The Mayor Casterbridge, V. I. Warshawski in Blood Shot, Andrew Undershaft in Of Barbara, Jean Valjean in VictorHugo’sLesMiserables, Antony in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, Don Vito Corleone in Mario Puzo’s The Godfather and Major Don Domenico Clericuzio in Puzo’s The Last Don, and Merci Rayborn in T. Jefferson Parker’s The Blue Hour.

NINE, aka The Peacemaker. “I’m easy going, get along.” The easy-going, self-effacing type, Nines are accepting, trusting, and stable. They are usually creative, optimistic, and supportive but can be too willing to go along with others to keep the peace. They want everything to go smoothly and can be complacent, simplifying problems and minimizing anything upsetting. They typically have problems with inertia and stubbornness. At their best, indomitable and all-embracing, they are able to bring people together and heal conflicts.

  • Basic Fear: Of loss and separation
  • Basic Desire: To have inner stability “peace of mind”
  • Nine with an Eight-Wing: “The Referee”
  • Nine with a One-Wing: “The Dreamer”
  • Key Motivations: To create harmony in their environment, to avoid conflicts and tension, to preserve things as they are, to resist whatever would upset or disturb them.

Nines use narcotization to avoid conflict and to maintain a self-image of being comfortable or harmonious. (Narcotization is using food and drink, entertainment, or simply repetitive patterns of thinking and doing to “put oneself to sleep.”)  Any disruption in the peaceful flow offends them, and they withdraw.

Nine’s can be…

  • Too agreeable. Displaying many dependent personality traits, they find it difficult to tell someone ‘no’ or turn down requests of favors.
  • Prone to complacency to keep things peaceful. They tend to make excellent mediators. Upset causes them stress.
  • Willing to deny their needs to make those around them happy and ensure that all have the advantage of fairness
  • Accepting and trusting, sometimes to a fault.

Historic Examples: Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Grace of Monaco, Claude Monet, Norman Rockwell, Abraham Lincoln, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, John F. Kennedy, Jr., General Colin Powell, Walter Cronkite, Carl Jung, Carl Rogers, Joseph Campbell, Walt Disney, Jim Henson (Muppets), Garrison Keillor, Walter Cronkite, Gloria Steinem, Tony Bennett, Ringo Starr, Carlos Santana, James Taylor, Janet Jackson, Jack Johnson, George Lucas, Ron Howard, Gary Cooper, Jimmy Stewart, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Kevin Costner, Annette Bening, Jeff Bridges, Morgan Freeman, John Goodman, Matthew Broderick, Whoopie Goldberg, Woody Harrelson, Geena Davis, Lisa Kudrow, Toby McGuire, Zooey Deschanel.


Such diverse characters as Bob Slocum in Joseph Heller’s Something Happened, Walter Mitty in James Thurber’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” Billy pilgrim in Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, Sancho Panza in Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote de la Mancha, Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom in John Updike’s four Rabbit novels, Yossarian in Joseph Heller’s Catch—22, the narrator of Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City, Dorothy in L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, Pollyanna in Eleanor H. Porter’s novel, Catherine Sloper in Henry James’s Washington Square, Sinclair Lewis’s Babbitt, Mr. Micawber in Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield, Celie in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Cal in Judith Guest’s Ordinary People, and Margaret Nathan in Cathleen Schine’s Rameau ‘s Niece.

When Nines are healthy, they transcend the style’s passivity to act in decisive and positive ways but retain their peaceful, unselfconscious, comforting qualities. Healthy Nines in literature include Mrs. Moore in E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India, the title character in Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, Nick Carraway in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Bob Hampton in Carolyn See’s The Handyman, Mr. Jarndyce in Charles Dickens’s Bleak House, and Aliosha in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.

Unhealthy Nines can be blind to the reality of their lives, enslaved by addictions or numb, disoriented and delusional. The rich fantasy life of an average Nine degenerates into an inability to distinguish reality from fantasy. Pathological Nines includes characters like Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Chauncey Gardener in Jerzy Koszinski’s Being There, Mary Tyrone in Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night, Elwood P. Dowd in Mary Chase’s play Harvey, Humbert Humbert in Lolita, and the child molesters in both Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to Drive and Miguel Pinero’s Short Eyes.

Though Nines are found in many jobs and professions, their nonthreatening persona and acceptance of others make them natural therapists, teachers, ministers and helping professionals. Nines can also be successful in areas of the law such as mediation, estate planning, and negotiation of contracts. In business, they often do well in areas related to human resources. They are frequently attracted to work in civil service.

Their peacemaking skills make them excellent diplomats. Personable and trust-inspiring, they often succeed in politics. Their love of research and learning—as well as their appreciation of a settled, tenured position—makes them comfortable in academia, where they are often polymaths.

Professional sports teams have a high proportion of Nines among their players, partly because the Nine’s ability to merge with a team effort. Many musicians are Nines, especially drummers, backup musicians, and members of orchestras.

Self-preservation Nines, whom Oscar Ichazo associates with “appetite,” are creatures of habit, absorbed with food, television, reading, gardening and other simple pleasures. Although individuals of this subtype may be highly talented, they are rarely ambitious, preferring the reassurance of routine and physical comfort over significant challenges. Self-preservation Nines also tend to be the most socially conventional of Nines.

Self-preservation Nines in literature include Falstaff in Shakespeare’s Henry IV parts 1 and 2, Sancho Panza in Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote de la Mancha, Catherine Sloper in Henry James’s Washington Square, Dorothy in L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, Celie in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Chauncey Gardener in Jerzy Koszinski’s Being There, and the title character in Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.

The self-preservation Nine preoccupation with physical survival drives Hemingway’s protagonist in The Old Man and the Sea. The story is simple: an old fisherman who has failed to catch anything for eighty—four days puts to sea and hooks an immense fish. He fights the fish for several days, finally succeeds in killing it, and lashes it to the side of his little boat. On the trip home sharks attack and, despite the old man’s fierce attempts to fight them off, they devour the fish carcass, leaving only the bones.

Self-preservation Nines think about what is necessary to survive. Once he has hooked the big fish, the old man sees his task clearly.

Social Nines, whom Ichazo associates with “participation,” want to be liked by others and avoid conflict. They often become involved in groups but may resist taking large amounts of responsibility. Social Nines have a strong desire to “fit in,” and avoid deviating too far from group norms.

Examples include Nick Carraway in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Ruth Puttermesser in Cynthia Ozick’s The Puttermesser Papers, Mr. Jarndyce in Dickens’s Bleak House, Walter Mitty in James Thurber’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” the narrator of Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City, the title character in Eleanor H. Porter’s Pollyanna, Aliosha in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, Babbitt in Sinclair Lewis’s novel, Elwood P. Dowd in Mary Chase’s play Harvey, and Mrs. Moore in E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India.

And now that we looked at the nine personality types, alas, it’s time to put them together to build our casts of characters. Part Three →

← Part One


The Enneagram Institute.

Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson. The Wisdom of the Enneagram (1999).

Judith Searle. The Literary Enneagram: Characters from the Inside Out (2001).

Written by The UnNovelist
The Unnovelist