They’re complicated often to the point of being inscrutable, and you can’t always believe what they tell you, but they are the fascinating characters: fallible, unreliable, often lost and never what they seem. They are literature’s anti-heroes—protagonists and antagonists who go against the grain to get the job done, even if they’re not always sure what the job is. These are the people you want on your side…usually.
So which anti-hero is the Batman to your Robin? The yang to your yin? Take this quiz to find out who your kindred anti-hero spirit really is, and start planning your next literary misadventure.
1. You have the afternoon off. How will you spend it?
a) Sitting in a coffee shop wondering how all the other coffee drinkers seem to have it together when you don’t.
b) Sitting in a coffee shop writing scathing letters to all the people who wronged you in high school.
c) Sitting in a coffee shop waiting for the barista to bring you another cup of tea because the first one was too darn cold.
d) Sitting in a coffee shop conjuring ways to increase the caffeine content in your beverage through visualization.
e) Making soap.
2. Finish this sentence: The world would be a better place if everybody…
a) was less phony.
b) thought about the consequences of their actions.
c) respected their elders.
d) finally put me in charge.
e) worked out more.
3. My dream job is:
a) Safety patroller
4. What is the last book you read?
a) Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
b) Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica
c) A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
d) Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Macguire
e) V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
5. Your friends suggest a night out. Where will you go?
a) A museum
b) The hottest night club in town
c) Nowhere because my show is on, thankyouverymuch
d) What friends?
e) The gym
If you answered mostly A:
Your anti-hero alter ego is Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.
Holden may be more of a thinker than a doer, and that’s okay. Sensitive and smart, Holden feels things deeply and observes people keenly. A protector, he may put other people’s needs before his own, which can lead to some resentment when it feels like nobody cares as much as he does. But take heed: the world is actually a beautiful place, and deep down, he knows this well.
If you answered mostly B:
Your anti-hero alter ego is Amy Dunne from Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.
Amy is clever, popular and calculating. She is sometimes underestimated, but also has the propensity to not live up to her potential. She often feels taken for granted and manipulated, but the truth is, she is astute at understanding the games people play and refuses to lose at them. She believes in commitment and believes that other people should live up to their commitments as well.
If you answered mostly C:
Your anti-hero alter ego is Olive Kitteridge from Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.
Olive may seem like an old crank, but she has a lifetime’s worth of experience to shape her values and opinions. She has high expectations of those she loves, and feels that she holds herself to just as high a standard. She may seem strict and unyielding, but once she stops judging people’s actions and starts looking at the motivations for those actions, she understands the complexity and struggles of other people’s lives. Olive is a rock, which is a good thing to anchor yourself to if a storm is brewing.
If you answered mostly D:
Your anti-hero alter ego is Severus Snape from The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling
Professor Severus Snape believes in power and control above all else, which makes him seem dangerous and mean. Since he does very little to change anybody’s mind about him, Snape lives a fairly lonely life, but it is not a life unfulfilled. There are many forces guiding Severus Snape, and he often finds that he is heading down a path he may not have anticipated—for better or for worse. In the end, Snape is guided by loyalty and a sense of duty, as much as his own ambitions.
If you answered mostly E:
Your anti-hero alter ego is Tyler Durden from Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk.
Tyler Durden is a misguided idealist. He yearns for meaning and truth but only understands its pursuit in the most aggressive of forms. While searching for an authentic life, Tyler may put his trust in the wrong people, and he certainly has the habit of getting carried away with an idea, but he is loyal and wants to be loved. Tyler often feels torn between two lives, but understands that people are complex and unpredictable.
Who did you get? Do you think you got the right result? Share with us in the comments below!