MBTI Type: ISTJ
Karen is quite sensible—she first approaches her husband with the idea of getting married by proposing to him that she needs a husband so she can get out of her house, and suggests that he could just marry her for her money. Once she arrives in Africa (all of her possessions in tow), she is angry to find out that he has changed his mind about the life they are going to lead, and decided to grow coffee beans in the unstable region instead of run cattle, but she buckles down and becomes a hard-working part of the farm, overseeing its needs and attending to the business while he runs around chasing his dreams. Even after she contracts syphilis from him and returns home for treatment, she comes back because “someone has to run the farm.” She wonders about factual things, such as how they are going to earn enough money to live on for five years while the business takes off. She also likes to make her new home “like home” in that she fills it with her beloved possessions and even has the servants wear white gloves when they serve tea (she later admits this was a “bad idea”). She wants a traditional life, pushing for marriage from Denys and looking down on his need and desire to be free of any responsibilities, including those to her own feelings. She organizes a school for the native children, and argues with the leaders about not allowing children over a certain age to attend, and pushes for “progress” in her environment. She is eager to read books and wonders if Denys will loan his out (he will not). She often fights for her own way in things and goes off on her own, but is also competent under pressure, using a bull whip to fight off the lions attempting to attack the cattle in the supply train, and determinedly leading the operation even though other people warn her that it’s no place for a woman. She tells her husband that the next idea he changes his mind and wants to do something foolish, he can “use his own money.” She says she needs to “think about” this, and know what to think about it. Her emotions are closeted for awhile; she doesn’t easily share her feelings, but she does form kindred spirits with like-minded souls (teasing her husband that when he dies, she intends to marry someone else she just met). She admits she didn’t expect to like her husband as much as she did, but also kicks him out of the house once she has recovered from her illness. She wants children, but never talks about the fact that him giving her an STD means she can never have them. Karen has deep feelings for Denys, but does not elaborate on them at length, so much as she wants to create a sense of permanence with him through marriage. She loves to come up with detailed stories when given prompts by her guests, but has never seriously considered writing them down until Denys suggests it. She is open and eager to see new places and experience new things, such as flying in airplanes, and likes her time spent with Denys because “we lived disconnected and apart from things.” She can be somewhat reckless and unaware of the danger at times, until she shows over-caution in encountering situations out of her control (she wants to shoot the lion rather than risk it charging her).
Enneagram: 1w2 sp/so
Karen is reliable, honest, and hard-working. She returns to her marriage out of a sense of duty, she stays on at the farm because work needs done, and she tries to fill her days with a sense of purpose. She also establishes firm boundaries, as she outlines what she will allow and what she won’t tolerate, when others cross her or disappoint her, or show her who they truly are (she gives Denys a chance to want a normal life inside a proper marriage, and then when he shows his disinterest, she asks him to pack up his stuff and leave). She focuses on how rational things are, and whether it is smart to take financial risks, but once she puts her mind to something, she continues doing it. She has a proactive 2 wing; she wants to improve the lives of the people around her, building a school for their betterment, offering locals a job in her home, and even offering to help a child tend his injured leg (and cautioning him against waiting too long to do so, in case it worsens). Denys asks her at one point if she asked the children if they wanted to learn to read, or if she just assumed they did, and she argues that she wants to leave a better world behind when she lives it than when she arrived. She also mends Denys’ shirts without being asked, and looks for other ways to show him her love through physical actions.