Discussion: Character Stereotypes (part two) – Male Characters


From genre to genre, each book tends to highlight specific stereotypes regarding its characters.  For example, there may be a nerd or a jock or a fearless leader.  Regardless of that character’s individual attributes that make him/her unique, most of these characters can be categorized into general or broad descriptions which are applicable to literature as a whole.

A few months ago, I created a post that highlighted several female character stereotypes (click here to read part one).  I’ve decided to write a similar post in order to focus on some of their stereotypical male counterparts.  This isn’t meant to single out any one character, book, or author, I’m simply detailing the recurring personality types that I’ve experienced in my own reading.

The Invincible Hero

What would we do without the handsome jock swooping in to save the day at the most opportune of times?  Whether it’s lifting a five ton truck, breaking through a concrete wall, or scaling the side of the Empire State Building, this character has it covered.  He’s highly independent and willing to do anything for the damsel in distress (who will undoubtedly fall in love with his muscular physique and good looks).  While he’s off the charts with respect to physical feats, he may struggle when confronted with long-term commitments and the emotions of others.

The Daredevil (aka the “bad boy” your father will never approve of)

When he’s not sneaking in through a girl’s bedroom window, racing around on his motorcycle, or playing with fire (literally), he’s likely to be challenging someone to a crazy dare.  He’s done quite a few reckless things throughout the years, and he has the scars and injuries to prove it – but that certainly doesn’t stop him from pulling off a few more impressive stunts to impress the ladies or appease the haters (I’m sorry, I had to).  He doesn’t care what anyone else thinks and is willing to go off and do his own thing.  Once again, he may not be the best individual to vent to because an extreme expression of emotions may make him very uncomfortable.

The Narcissistic Asshole

The obnoxious bastard who can’t seem to get enough of himself and constantly aims to attract attention from the opposite gender has become increasingly popular in young adult fiction in recent years.  He is always calm and collected, always managing to concoct sassy comebacks, regardless of the situation at hand.  And you can be guaranteed that he’s broken his fair share of hearts along the way.  While he can be overwhelmingly charming when he wants to, he could certainly benefit from being put back in his place a few times.

The Geek/Nerd

The incredibly knowledgeable and often technically savvy character often lacks refined social skills, preferring solitude to large crowds.  Whether he’s an avid reader, holds several patents, or has completely redefined mathematics, he certainly makes up for his poor social interactions in the form of intelligence.  He can unintentionally come across as a bit of a know-it-all at times, though, constantly forcing information down the throats of others.  These characters are often shy or reserved, coming out of their shells for a select few individuals.

The Successful Eligible Bachelor

Everyone dreams of falling in love with this billionaire, regardless of whether he was born into a prestigious family, started his own business, or has been promoted to CEO of a mega-corporation.  He’s got the looks, the lifestyle, and the cash – what more does a girl need?  Everything seems perfect, perhaps a bit too perfect.  Is he truly happy, or is he constantly searching for something more, something that money can’t buy?

The Sinister, Deranged Villain

Commonly serving as the antagonists in literature, these characters are often defined by their depressing backstories, which ultimately influence them to take pleasure from others pain.  Whether its concocting an evil plot, seeking revenge for some previous wrongdoing, or obtaining world domination, these characters are sure to be behind it.

Have you come across any of these characters?  What are some additional stereotypes that I’ve missed?
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I am a senior in high school and an avid reader/reviewer, horseback rider, and graphic designer.  Since a young age, I have fostered a love of reading, beginning with my forays into the Nancy Drew series.  I’ve branched out significantly in my reading tastes since then, and my favorite genres include young adult, romance, mystery, and thriller.  I’m constantly trying to expand my horizons, however, so I do dabble in other genres.  While I’m not reading, I volunteer at a hippotherapy center and a veterinary clinic, practice agility with my dogs, play piano, and sketch.
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