When we look at main characters from all genres, there seems to be a running theme of the protagonist exhibiting extroverted traits. They don’t have trouble jumping into potentially dangerous situations and are charismatic with just about everyone. But for those who enjoy the quieter things in life, finding introverts that you can relate with is just as important.
If you’ve been looking for a main character that aligns with your own personality, keep reading! We’ve got seven iconic introverts in fiction that even the shyest person would want to befriend.
1. Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings
While Mr. Baggins has gone on his fair share of adventures as a hobbit, at heart, Bilbo is a true introvert. Rather than converse with his neighbors, he’d much rather be sitting in his home enjoying a delicious meal by himself. The simplicity of the Shire allows Bilbo to be reflective and continue the rest of his life in relative peace, that is until there’s a knock on his door. After his many journeys with elves, men, and dwarves, Bilbo wishes to write out his life’s work and live the rest of his days without worries or trouble. I think many introverts will be able to relate to Bilbo’s lifestyle.
2. Victor Frankenstein, Frankenstein
Talk about a recluse! Victor Frankenstein may not be the first character you think of when it comes to introverts in literature, but this scientist deserves to be on the list. Even though Victor has a lively family at the beginning of the novel, he tends to find solace in his work. Away from the judgment of others, Victor thrives in solitude and finds communicating with others a bit of a chore. Amongst scientific research and his experiments, he finds purpose. It’s only when the Creature comes to life that Victor has to deal with the consequences of his confinement.
3. Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre
Being introverted doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t stand up for the things you believe in. If there’s one character to amplify these traits, it’s Jane Eyre from Charlotte Brontë’s critically acclaimed novel. At her core, Jane prefers to stay away from parties and enjoys the company of a few close friends rather than a large group. Jane’s introversion allows her to observe the discrepancies in the treatment of women and pushes her to call for change. Introverts may seem quiet at first glance, but our moral compass is stronger than ever. And when push comes to shove, Jane speaks up for herself and others.
4. Cath Avery, Fangirl
Modern-day introverts are a different breed. They can stay in their room for days and be completely content (I am guilty of this as well). But for Cath Avery in Rainbow Rowell’s novel, Fangirl, staying in is her way of going out. While her twin sister, Wren, is partying it up in college, Cath spends her weekends writing fanfiction of her favorite book series. She has a small group of friends and hates being the center of attention. Laying in bed and writing for Cath constitutes a fun weekend, and we couldn’t agree more!
5. Silas Marner, Silas Marner
If you’re looking for a classic introvert from literature, you’ll find it in the character of Silas Marner. This older man has been through his fair share of challenges in life. After being exiled from his town for a misunderstanding, Silas moves to the town of Raveloe. However, he struggles to befriend anyone. Focused on his work as a weaver, Silas rarely leaves his home. It isn’t until an orphan girl makes her way into his house one night that Silas begins to come out of his shell. While still an introvert at heart, Silas now embraces the little family that has made his life feel a bit less lonely and a little more complete.
6. Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice
What do you get when you combine a hopeless romantic and an introvert? You end up with the wonderful character, Mr. Darcy. From hating balls and straying away from unpleasant conversations with strangers, Fitzwilliam Darcy is your basic Victorian introvert. It’s no surprise that Mr. Darcy is infatuated with another introvert, Elizabeth. Amongst the chaos of the Bennet family, Darcy and Elizabeth find solace in each other’s kind and quiet nature. At first glance, Mr. Darcy seems cold, calculated, and a bit rude. But deep down, he’s simply trying to figure out the right things to say. We feel you there, Mr. Darcy!
7. Charlie Kelmeckis, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
We couldn’t end this list without including one of the most well-known introverts in literature, Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower. As the title suggests, Charlie is anything but your normal high schooler. As the initial epitome of a wallflower, he finds trouble fitting in and doesn’t enjoy your stereotypical teenage high school events. The one thing he does cherish is his small friend group of Sam and Patrick. Finally around people he can relate to, Charlie feels comfortable opening up about his dreams and struggles. Between his social awkwardness to his love of reading and writing, I think we can all find a part of ourselves in Charlie’s character.
Where would literature be without introverts? Sure, it’s fun to jump into the mind of an extroverted character, but it’s nice to slow the tempo down and see the insights that an introverted character can bring to readers. The next time you may struggle to find introverted characters in fiction, crack open one of the books above. You may realize that you’re an introvert too!
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