“Little Fires Everywhere” is the Hulu show that’s taking the world by storm. This epic drama involves some heart-wrenching personality clashes that reveal the stark differences between how people process information. The show also shines a light on racism, privilege, the pain and joy of motherhood, and more. In this article, we’ll explore the Myers-Briggs® personality types of the main characters in the film.
Keep in mind, many of the characters in this series are unhealthy versions of their type. There is no “good” or “bad” personality type. Don’t feel bad if a character you didn’t like has your personality type! Chances are, they are operating from an unhealthy head space.
The Myers-Briggs® Personality Types of the “Little Fires Everywhere” Characters
Elena – ESFJ (Portrayed by Reese Witherspoon)
ESFJ’s lead with Extraverted Feeling (Fe) as their dominant function with Introverted Sensing (Si) as their right-hand man. Elena is a perfect (albeit toxic) example of this type. When Fe is in the dominant position in someone’s personality stack their main goal and motivator is group harmony, shared values, and well-being. Elena achieves this by using her auxiliary function, Si, which combs through past experiences and uses the best tactics to attain that goal. Now if anyone is reading this just after watching the show they may be disagreeing with this assessment of Elena because Elena is very toxic. Toxic Fe can be much more infatuated with the appearance of harmony than the actual harmony itself. This can be shown in the way she wants her home and life to look picture perfect. The show opens with her waking up early, weighing herself, exercising, and putting together pretty lunches for her four children. She has many conflicts with others throughout the series and her main motivator is always to come out looking like the good one – even when she was the source of the conflict.
Mia – INFP (Portrayed by Kerry Washington)
A stark contrast to Elena is Mia. INFPs lead with Introverted Feeling (Fi) as their dominant function, and Extraverted Intuition (Ne) as their right-hand man. Mia’s lower functions (which we often suppress or de-value) are Introverted Sensing (Si) and Extraverted Thinking (Te). Contrary to Elena’s focus on finding what is the most harmonious to the group, Mia’s mental wiring is focused on finding what is most harmonious to the individual (herself). Mia is introduced initially as an artist who moves a lot with her daughter. She takes on odd jobs to support Pearl and herself and doesn’t fit the stereotypical mother mold as Elena does. While Fi is keeping tabs on her internally for what aligns with her inner code, Ne is exploring all the possibilities in the outer world. This is shown in her atypical lifestyle which is why Elena’s curiosity is piqued when they meet.
Read This Next: 3 Weird and Wonderful Secrets of the INFP Personality Type
Pearl – ISFJ (Mia’s Daughter)
An ISFJ is very similar to an ESFJ in that the two share the same cognitive functions, albeit in a slightly different order. ISFJs enjoy routine, predictability, and stability. So do ESFJs (Elena’s type). Unfortunately for Pearl, she’s not getting these things from her mother – who has undeveloped Si. Her frustration is very clearly demonstrated in the fights she has with her mom regarding moving yet again, and starting another school yet again. In addition to being frustrated with her own mother, meeting Elena feels very soothing and secure for Pearl – because Elena operates from the same headspace. Pearl is also using Fe, which means being part of a harmonious group is crucial to her. This is another reason why she’s attracted to Elena’s family, they “appear” harmonious due to Elena’s efforts.
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Lexie – ESTP (Elena’s Oldest Daughter)
An ESTP can often be called an opportunist. These types lead with Extraverted Sensation (Se) and have Introverted Thinking (Ti) as their right-hand man. They’re often very cunning and very charming and know how to get what they want, even if they must bend a few rules to get just that. When Lexie is applying to Yale and doesn’t have a sob story to write about to demonstrate what’s she had to overcome,e she simply “borrows” Pearl’s experience. Is it ethical? Probably not, but the risk of being caught is low and who is she really hurting? She does want to be the emblem of her mother’s daughter and she does it well. Keep in mind, this is an example of some unhealthy ESTP behavior – not all ESTPs would go to these lengths.
Trip – ISTP (Elena’s Oldest Son)
As the audience, we don’t see Trip very much, but he appears reserved other than being quite the ladies’ man. At one point at a party with his younger brother, Moody, he advises his brother to “ignore the girl he likes so she thinks she did something wrong and pine after him”. This tactical, if somewhat manipulative, prowess stems from his ability to logically deduce the likely outcomes of a situation and take a risk to get the outcome he wants most.
Moody – ISFJ (Elena’s Youngest Son)
Moody, like his mother and Pearl, also uses Introverted Sensation (Si) and Extraverted Feeling (Fe). He likes routine, stability, and harmony. Until Mia and Pearl step into his life Moody seems to be doing just fine. He’s growing up in a house that values the qualities he also cares about. He doesn’t seem to have any issues with school, and other than his older brother picking on him, life seems pretty good to him. That changes after he falls for Pearl and then realizes she prefers his older brother. While the hurt he experiences from that realization can happen to any type, the way in which he lashes out does seem very true to unhealthy ISFJ ways. He becomes passive-aggressive and detaches from everyone.
Izzy – ISFP (Elena’s Youngest Daughter)
Izzy has a similar personality type to Mia. As we said before, INFPs lead with Introverted Feeling. Izzy, as an ISFP, also leads with Introverted Feeling, which can often complement Fe very well, and it can clash with it. In the case of Izzy and her mother, it definitely clashes. She has opinions about what is right and wrong that go against the grain of what beliefs her mother holds. She believes eating meat is wrong and brings it up every time her mother cooks. She believes Bebe should be reunited with her baby, and she doesn’t have a problem standing up to authority when she feels the need to. Her inner compass tells her to disturb routine and stability in the spirit of what is ultimately right. This why she resents her own mother and longs to have a mother like Mia who also follows her heart instead of what society does.
Bill – ISTJ (Portrayed by Joshua Jackson)
Bill is more of a minor character in this story, however, we do know some things about him. He’s reserved, meticulous, and he fulfills his duties to his career and his family. He is also usually straight forward in communication. All those things point to a specific type to me; ISTJ. ISTJs lead with Introverted Sensation (Si) + Extraverted Thinking (Te). Like his wife, he values routine and stability, however, utilizing Te vs Fe makes his decisions more pragmatic and logical vs constantly assessing the emotional wavelengths around one’s self.
What Are Your Thoughts?
Do you agree with this article? Disagree? Let us know your thoughts on the show and the characters in the comments!
Find out more about your personality type in our eBooks, Discovering You: Unlocking the Power of Personality Type, The INFJ – Understanding the Mystic, and The INFP – Understanding the Dreamer. You can also connect with me via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!
About the Author:
Madeline is an MBTI® enthusiast who never tires of studying and learning about human nature and psychology. Follow her on twitter at @MadelinePurvis