The Elephant Man: John Merrick [ISFJ]
UNOFFICIAL TYPING BY: chipmunkfanno1love
Introverted Sensing: Most of John Merrick’s life has been one of routine, including following demands like a circus animal and being beaten for not following orders. As a result John went into the routine of playing an invalid as a defence mechanism, hiding his gentle, intelligent mind behind his hideously deformed body. John is a sentimental gentleman, who enjoys the traditional things of society such as tea parties and even simple things like family pictures being arranged on a mantelpiece; something he himself follows once he starts receiving pictures from his many guests who come to visit him. He enjoys quoting old-fashioned texts, such as reciting Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with Mrs. Kendal, and even reveals his intelligence and ability to read by quoting his favourite Bible verse the 23rd Psalm to Dr. Treves and Mr. Carr-Gomm, which amazes Treves as he hadn’t taught Merrick that verse. One of John’s most cherished memories is definitely the small portrait of his beautiful mother, who throughout his life is a comforting memory to him, even as he dies.
Extroverted Feeling: John is very affected by how others perceive and treat him. He’s so used to being treated badly and even others screaming at the mere sight of his appearance, that any mere acts of kindness towards him moves him to tears. He is a very kind and sensitive soul who cannot bear the sight of others in pain. John’s deepest wish is to “…be like normal people.” (Si) as not even the simple comfort of lying down to sleep is given to him as his abnormally large head would suffocate him and break his neck, forcing him to sleep upwards with his head between his knees. Nonetheless, he does try his best to act “normally” around others, even if his appearance continues to disgust them. He even naively tries to sleep normally, an action that ultimately causes his death. The climax of the movie is definitely when he is chased through the train station after he accidentally runs over a girl and has his head-covering removed from his head. Tired of being scared and running from others who see him as nothing more than an animal, the fed-up and cornered Merrick yells out the most famous line of the movie as he finally stands up for himself: “I AM NOT AN ELEPHANT! I AM NOT AN ANIMAL! I AM A HUMAN BEING! I… am … a … man!”
Introverted Thinking: Despite the physical limits caused by his deformities, John is a very intelligent and refined man with a love of reading and writing. He’s very clever artistically, e.g. drawing pictures and is talented with tactile building, shown in the building of his model cathedral out of (what seems to be) old thrown out match boxes. He takes inspiration from the church in the courtyard (Si), but since most of it is blocked by the building in front of him he uses his imagination to figure out what his model will look like (Ne). Merrick often questions why he looks the way he does, as his mother was very beautiful, and wonders why he isn’t beautiful looking himself. He eventually is brave enough to ask Dr. Treves if he can be cured, to which Treves responds with “No. No, we can care for you, but we can’t cure you.” Disappointed but unsurprised by this answer, John replies simply with “No…I thought not.” showing that even without proof he is able to figure out that his condition is incurable.
Extroverted Intuition: As he is so used to being mistreated, John is often frightened in new and unfamiliar situations, and falls into his role of playing dumb and cowering in fear when approached and questioned. This is the reason why it takes him so long to trust Treves, but he eventually opens up to him and eventually sees the doctor as one of his closest friends. Another example of his difficulty to adapt to common courtesy is shown when he bursts into tears when he is introduced to Treves kind and beautiful wife, Ann, stating “It’s just…I’m not used to being treated so well by…a beautiful woman.” John does slowly manage to adapt, and soon becomes very excited by the new experiences society has to offer. The most thrilling and happiest moment for him is when he goes to the theatre and is cheered by the crowd at the encouragement of his beloved actress friend, Mrs Madge Kendal.
Hogwarts House: Ravenclaw
Values: wit, intelligence, creativity, and wisdom.
Despite first appearances, John Merrick is a curious and intelligent man with a creative mind as shown in his interest in reading and his talent for building a model cathedral. He’s fascinated with learning for the sake of it and finds beauty in the simplest of things like photographs, poetry and bible verses. He generally fascinated but also terrified of what the world has to offer him. I also considered Hufflepuff for him.
Note: This character is loosely based on the true story of Joseph “John” Merrick, who is more commonly known as The Elephant Man. I’m not sure what the real man’s typing was, but I am pretty sure this movie is fairly true to the character of the man so tragically trapped inside a seriously deformed body. It’s very possible that the real Joseph Merrick himself was a ISFJ. If anyone disagrees with this typing or notices any mistakes don’t hesitate to point them out to me.