MBTI Type: INTP
Alan thinks differently from most people; while his colleagues are attempting to solve enigma and find out the codes through the traditional methods, he dares to imagine a machine that can sort through a million different codes all at once and solve the problem for them. He sees humans almost as machines, and compares his computer to a human brain, only without the emotions. When questioned by a policeman who wants to know more about what he’s hiding, Alan tells him the story of what they did at Bletchley Park and then asks him to be the judge, which will show whether he is a “machine or human” (because only humans can make emotional judgments). He does what is logical even when it alienates his peers—and even after they solve enigma, refuses to use it to save a convoy full of people, because he argues that would expose them as having cracked the uncrackable code; the Germans would revise enigma and they’d have to start all over again. He balances out the future weight of winning the war in two years, and creates a system by which he and his friends calculate impersonally which strategies to employ without causing the Germans to get suspicious. He likens his machine to “comparable to the human brain, a digital brain.” Even when his best friend dies, Alan is seeking understanding; all he can do is repeat over and over, “I don’t understand.” When Joan refuses to leave Bletchley Park, Alan tries to convince her with logic it’s not safe for her to be around him, and when that fails, he employs crude lower Fe tactics by insulting her, and telling her he never liked her; he just needed her to help him crack enigma. It fails and leaves him without a friend. Alan’s lack of people skills is a problem throughout the film; he goes over the commander’s head to Winston Churchill and gets put in charge of the department, then fires two people on the spot for being “poor” code breakers, which makes the others dislike him; he refuses to eat with them and doesn’t see why it matters, and is shocked when Joan gets them all to like her, since he doesn’t understand that he needs to be liked to get them to work with him. He makes awkward attempts in that direction, but eventually learns how to eat out with them, talk to them, and give them apples. Under stress, when he thinks he needs to marry Joan to keep her in his department and appease her parents, he confesses being gay to one of his colleagues and asks what he should do and whether he should tell her or not. In terms of his middle functions, he is firmly convinced that his machine is going to solve enigma, and is right. It takes months of work and a hundred thousand dollars, but he’s become so focused on making it work, he neglects to think about what parameters it needs to stop computing—it needs recognizable phrases as its setting. He and the others don’t even think about it being “Hail Hitler” until it dawns on him in a conversation with one of the Bletchley girls about how she can recognize the German sending the messages because he always uses the same five letter opening code. He’s considered the best mathematician in the world, and wrote a great many theoretical papers on what later became his invention of the computer.
Enneagram: 5w4 sp/so
Alan is considered “insufferable” and “arrogant” by Commander Denniston, and at first, he shows no interest in befriending any of his colleagues, working with them, or even paying any attention to them. In school as a young man, he thinks the reason people beat up on him is because he’s way smarter they are, and he covers up his note-passing with a fellow student by insisting the class is too basic and simple, and they are much more advanced, so they solve complex problems above the level of the other students. This not only shows the 5’s tendency to trust their own thinking above anyone else’s, but also highlights their withdrawn stance. Withdrawn numbers do not assume they need help from anyone and it doesn’t occur to them to ask for it, which is why he is so surprised that Joan makes up with her colleagues—as an attachment number and a 6, she meets them halfway and has to teach Alan that “none of them will help you unless they like you.” Alan tends to stand on the sidelines of life, even admitting that he doesn’t like sandwiches and refusing to eat lunch with his colleagues. It takes a long time for them to warm up to him. He also compartmentalizes his thinking—he’s delighted to solve the enigma machine finally, but then won’t save a convoy full of people from German attack, because it would mean the Germans finding out they cracked enigma and wasting two years of work. He insists on feeding the admiralty data based on statistics about what they can share and what they can’t, so that the Germans do not get suspicions. His 4 wing shows up in how elitist he can be; everyone else is less intelligent than he is, and he’s shocked that Joan solves a puzzle in five minutes that takes him eight. He lacks any desire to be liked, while also feeling the burden of being different and hanging onto memories of his past that underscore the tragedy of losing his first love, Christopher, as if he assumes he can never recapture that happiness or ease his own frustrations with the world being as it is.