Starting this new series on analyzing character archetypes, I thought beginning with a character that is near and dear to all of us booknerds would be a good kick off. The recluse is a character that us, reading worms, have an easy time resonating with. An unexplainable need to be alone, a deep connection with the fictional and fantastic, and a longing for the next book or project to occupy our minds are all underline themes in the booknerds life. Probably the easiest character for the reader to recognize and connect with.
Usually found in the depths of a library, or in some inclusive hideout, distracted by nothing else but the book pasted to their face. The recluse prefers the solitude and the comfort of their private sanctorum. There is no need for an abundant amount of friends and acquaintances as these introverts tend to be rich with an inner spirit. Philosophical and analytical, spending many hours, days, weeks, reading books or working on their personal hobbies and projects. With highly intelligent and creative minds, they constantly ponder the mysteries of life in their search to have knowledge and understanding of the world around them.
Not without their flaws, the recluse is often misunderstood by others. With a preference to be left alone they will be described as unexpressive or pessimistic. The fact is, the recluse finds no comfort in the company of others, especially in large groups. They are not to be crossed as a grudge will not be let go. A disorderly, fragmented lifestyle earns these characters the label of insane. As many of their mannerisms or choices are seen as alien to most. Giving other archetypes a hard time connecting, seeing the recluse as lacking personality. They don’t operate like everyone else, doing whatever necessary to avoid such dramas.
Not to say these introverts cannot play well with others. In fact, they can be very loyal companions, but, they keep it tight with small families or the closest of friends. Their sanctuary is most valued, and those that are near must respect the need to be alone for extended periods of time. Having a desire to control everything and with their minds always lingering elsewhere, puts them at risk for losing touch with reality.
With many timeless examples of the introverted character, there is an underline theme of making actions with no care to how they may affect others like Victor Frankenstein, or Hannibal Lecter. Characters that long for one close companion to share their small lives with, like, The Phantom of the Opera, Quasimodo, or the Beast from Beauty and the Beast. Than, there are the recluses who study hard in the pursuit of something bigger, or to help the world, such as, Dr. Strange and Fox Mulder of the X-Files.
Often misinturpretted, the recluse is a character that can be much adored by fans, or highly disliked, no room in-between. Working great as a main character, in a supporting cast or as the antagonist, yet too often underutilized. The enigmatic archetype is one that earns the respect of readers who can sympathize with not being understood. As many introverted bookworms dream and idolize the libraries and hideouts of their own favorite recluse, they connect with a struggle for sanctuary in an extroverted world.
Thanks booknerds, I’m going to hide in my room now.