Effie Gray: John Ruskin [INFP 4w5]

Function Order: Fi-Ne-Si-Te

“What is the purpose of art? To idealize? To sentimentalize? No, of course not. The purpose of art is to reveal the truth. The purpose of art is to reveal God.”

John Ruskin, Effie Gray

Immature INFPs prioritize their own feelings and needs above those of everyone around them, become increasingly self-absorbed in their pursuit of literary careers and lofty ideals, and make themselves oblivious to the pain of others. This, unfortunately, is the case with John Ruskin.

He makes no effort unless he cares about something, which means he spends all of his time delving into his myriad of different interests, hobbies, and tastes, ranging from poetry and music to painting and giving lectures on various topics, or writing in an effort to change the world, and neglecting his wife in the process. He has no consideration for her needs or feelings and no interest in her affairs, because she does not share his intellectual interests. Rather than go out and experience the world by her side to make her happy, John avoids all social contact and parties, preferring to stay shut up in his office and scribble away at his essays all day long. John is oblivious to her concerns and dismissive of her pain over her mother’s recent miscarriages because it does not interest him (he bluntly states that her mother has lost so many children, he cannot be bothered to keep count of them, and likens her to ‘farmyard breeding stock’). He blames Effie for her own unhappiness and nastily says it’s up to a wife to ‘entertain themselves, rather than wanting constant affirmation and attention.’ John has attained an ‘infant-like status,’ in that he has never become independent, never left home, and still relies heavily on his mother to provide for all of his needs, to such an extent that he keeps not even his private legal affairs from his parents.

Enneagram: 4w5 sp/so

When the critics of his friends’ artwork complain about how ugly it is, John argues that there is beauty in all life, even the hideous, and that it is an expression of deepest humanity and thus, shows the face of God just as much as a beautiful scene. He can be a tad pretentious and arrogant in his superior taste, and is admittedly completely self-absorbed. He’s often so caught up in his own feelings of disgust, revulsion for his wife’s body (and all sex), and his interests, that he has no time or consideration for how she is feeling, or the depth of her pain. He dismisses her depressive state as nonsense, a hysterical overreaction to a perfectly decent life. He is almost a recluse, a hermit who doesn’t want to go out and meet people (they give him headaches), who looks down on his wife for her need to socialize (parties, ugh), and who has no interest in experiencing anything of life, including sex. It is far more interesting to him in an abstract ideal than as a cold reality. Indeed, he fell in love with his wife in a fairy tale way, seeing her as an ‘ideal’ woman, rather than as a person.