Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Answering questions (including one about my name)

Originally published on 19/5. 
I want more, but okay... Thank you, Caroline and Anna, for your questions

What's your MBTI? 
I don't know. In recent years I generally avoid labelling myself, mostly because of my self-contradictions and inconsistency, though perhaps you could say it applies to everyone else too- human beings are too complex for that. 
This is an interesting article:
For example, between introversion and extroversion, I'm more like an introvert. But living in small country of very quiet, introverted people has made me realised that I'm not as introverted as I thought- I still prefer cities to towns, being surrounded by people to being alone in a cabin in the mountain, talking to people to staring at my phone all the time... I like hanging out and talking to people and discussing things, and can talk continuously for hours. Sometimes I even feel that maybe by nature I should be more like an extrovert but experience has made me more introverted, more withdrawn, because back then in elementary school I was in some ways a leader, was also a storyteller, liked being the centre of attention, had no fear of public speaking... 
(About the last point, there was a time when I became terrified of public speaking, but I've more or less overcome that). 
Between sensing and intuition, it's hard to say. Depends, perhaps. Probably intuition, because I love literature, cinema, photography and music more than the sciences. 
Between thinking and feeling, generally speaking I'm rational, though I try not to be rigid, inflexible, extreme. I do have my principles and can till recognise good traits or talent of people I personally dislike and foibles and weaknesses of people I like. But the word "level-headed" can't be used for me because I can be short-tempered or irrational, sometimes even ridiculous, impulsive, melodramatic. If you think of Jane Austen's heroines for instance, I share Fanny's attitude about men and relationships (and many other things) but often tell people that I see myself in Marianne rather than Elinor. 
Between judging and perceiving, again it's not possible to say. Generally I respect deadlines and, if having to write an essay for instance, prepare carefully outlines and such things. But I like spontaneity too, changes, surprises (dislike repetitiveness, homogeneity and monotonousness) and am not exactly a planner. 

What Hogwarts House do you identify with? 
Don't know. So I cheated. I've taken 3 random quizzes on the internet and 2 of them sort me into Gryffindor, the other into the boring Hufflepuff (maybe it isn't boring, what I mean is that I remember nothing, absolutely nothing about it). 
Update on 20/5: According to this quiz, my result is 79% Ravenclaw: 
"You have been sorted into Ravenclaw, the house of intelligence, curiosity, individualism, and wit. You are amongst other Ravenclaws, such as: Cho Chang, and Luna Lovegood." 

How is it you live in Norway but don't like Ibsen? 
I've read only 1 play by Ibsen, A Doll's House (Et dukkehjem). That was in my 1st year in Norway, and at the time it didn't make an impression on me, except that I remember not liking the way Nora leaves her children. But I'll come back to Ibsen sometime. 

Favorite line from Wuthering Heights?
How can I choose? 1 example: "It was not the thorn bending to the honeysuckles, but the honeysuckles embracing the thorn." 
Or this wondrous line: "I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths fluttering among the heath and harebells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth." 
Or this line: "My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff - he's always, always in my mind - not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself - but as my own being; so, don't talk of our separation again - it is impracticable." 
Wuthering Heights of course is not a love story, not a beautiful one anyway. It's about obsession, dominance, hatred, revenge, it's also about class, gender, childhood trauma, abuse, animal cruelty, etc. But the image of foliage and "the eternal rocks" is just so beautiful. 

Is your name pronounced with a long E, like indeed, or a long I, like Diana? 
My name Di is pronounced more or less as /jɪ/. Like the English "yi" or the Norwegian "gi". 
The consonant D is /j/ as in "yes" /jɛs/ or "Yiddish" /ˈjɪdɪʃ/. 
The vowel is slightly longer than the short /ɪ/ and shorter than the long /iː/. 
People often pronounce it as the English "die" /dʌɪ/ or the German "die" /dɪ/ and both are inaccurate, though I do allow people to call me /dɪ/ (I can't go on correcting people every time, you see). 

Do you read biographies? If so what are your favourites? 
I rarely read biographies. But I do read autobiographies, memoirs and diaries, though not as much as novels. What comes to my mind right now is that back then as a kid I loved a book about the lives of Hollywood film stars like Vivien Leigh, Katharine Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, etc. 

Are you good at reading people's characters from photographs? 
Can't say because I haven't tried that. Probably not, photographs are stills and I prefer to guess nothing until seeing facial expressions, gestures, manners... Besides, several incidents that have occurred over the past few weeks have made me realise that I have to get rid of the habit of overthinking, interpreting things in too many ways and getting carried away in my analysing and assuming to the point of almost ruining relationships. 

What fictional characters do you identify with (other than the ones you've already mentioned)? 
Objectively speaking, I don't see identification with characters as a criterion of literary merit. But I can see some of myself in Zooey and Franny Glass, Holden Caulfield, Erika Kohut, Sula Peace, Okonkwo, Esther Greenwood, Emma Woodhouse, Caroline Helstone, Anna Karenina, Emma Bovary, Gwendolen Harleth, Frédéric Moreau, Joe Trace, Ursa Corregidora, Pechorin, the underground man, Natasha Rostova... (Yes I do notice that some of these characters are horrendous- I don't like them either. I also know that they're very different from each other, but, as written there, there's a bit of myself in each of them and I'm a bundle of contradictions). 
There's 1 person that I used to strongly identify with, not a literary character, and that was Anne Frank. 

What are your favorite movies? 
Here is 1 list:
Here is another list:
However, the 2nd list needs to be amended- I need to find room for Witness for the Prosecution
Because both lists lack films from the 2010s, my favourite films from the period are The Artist, Silver Linings Playbook, Birdman, The Imitation Game, The SessionsDe rouille et d'os, The King's Speech, Black Swan, Les MisérablesIntouchables, etc. I think very highly of Nymphomaniac, though I personally don't like it. 

What do you think would have happened if Catherine had managed to bring Heathcliff back after the "I am Heathcliff" scene? 
I have to think more about it. 
What can be said now is that Catherine and Heathcliff can't be completely happy together. Their kind of love is the can't-be-without-you-can't-be-with-you kind of love. There is love and passion and understanding, but also obsession, control, torment... 

Have you ever felt like you were 'drift compatible' with someone? (as in the movie Pacific Rim
I don't know what that means. 

What are your feelings on feminism? 
I am a feminist. We still need feminism because gender inequality still exists; because prejudices against women still exist; because around the world lots of women are being raped, beaten, abused, discriminated against, deprived of education and employment, punished in the name of honour...; because I come from a country where 1 of the 2 words for "woman" is considered 1 of the worst insults; because even in Western democracies women still suffer from double standards, slut-shaming, victim-blaming, discrimination, condescension, doubt, lower wages... 
At the same time, feminism should be about equality, not sameness, and definitely not misandry. Men and women are different, that the differences come from upbringing, culture, society... doesn't necessarily mean they should be dismissed altogether and I don't see the point in making men and women completely the same. Then there are women who see men as "the other", as enemies, misogynists, animals, potential rapists... and I don't agree with that. That kind of thinking is extreme, narrow, restrictive. 
I don't like the way some people do, or advocate, stupid things in the name of feminism either. 

Do you have a favorite era? 
In literature, I love the 19th century: Jane Austen, the 3 Bronte sisters, Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Gogol, Lermontov, Chekhov, Flaubert... 
In films, I like the 40s- 60s, though I like films produced in that period more than films about that period. 
In music, my interests are all over the place and unsystematic, but generally speaking I'm not very fond of contemporary pop music. 

Do you ever read fanfiction?
I used to read fanfic, because a friend of mine wrote Harry Potter fanfic. But not much. I do enjoy parodies, however. 


I do realise that some of my answers are vague and probably unsatisfactory, but hopefully they can lead to some interesting discussions. 


  1. For Hogwarts houses, this is probably the best possible quiz (and it gives you breakdowns). But Gryffindor is a noble house.

    Most of Ibsen's plays -except for maybe The Lady from the Sea- have unhappy endings. I found The Master Builder pretty upsetting (which has grown on me since) as well as The Wild Duck (which has not). When you eventually come back to Ibsen I'll be excited to see which you choose to read :-)

    Those are all excellent Wuthering Heights quotes :-D

    1. Thanks for the link.
      I've taken it and posted the result above.
      I know another person outside Norway that also admires Ibsen very much, so yeah I do feel bad about my ignorance. Will let you know when I decide to come back to Ibsen.

    2. Ravenclaw! Excellent.

    3. I remember feeling rather attracted to Ravenclaw, because it's supposed to be the house of intelligence and intellectuality and such things, but then... how to put it, most of the time I felt like Harry Potter was all about Gryffindor and Slytherin and there was too little- hardly anything- about the other houses.

    4. I got that impression too. JK Rowling was rather biased, so I wonder whether she was more feeling than thinking in this aspect. The famous intellectual achievements mentioned are from Gryffindors, rather than Ravenclaw which is supposedly more intellectual. Also I found that while her male characters are more varied, the female characters have to be intelligent, determined, tough and popular in order to qualify as admirable by JK Rowling. (Except Luna). The rest are bimboes, bitches or not worth talking about. The guys are not as perfect, and that's why I feel that Rowling was rather unfair to women (even with the super-achieving female characters).

    5. Reminds me of this post:
      In some movie, a character portrayed by Hugh Grant says:
      "You know what would be inventive? A movie without a kickass girl. Or better yet, a movie where a woman gets her ass kicked".
      I haven't seen that one, and don't know the context to know whether or not the screenwriter/filmmaker agrees, but I do. I want variety!
      Also, I've been rereading parts of The Moonstone. Wilkie Collins is so damn good at writing women. I also intended to write another post about that wonderful novel, but got stuck.
      Came across this yesterday:

  2. More questions-- pick and choose at will:

    What fictional characters do you identify with (other than the ones you've already mentioned?

    What are your favorite movies?

    What do you think would have happened if Catherine had managed to bring Heathcliff back after the "I am Heathcliff" scene?

    Have you ever felt like you were 'drift compatible' with someone? (as in the movie Pacific Rim)

    What are your feelings on feminism?

    Do you have a favorite era?

    Do you ever read fanfiction?

  3. I know what you mean about feeling oppressed in a quiet place. Although I'm very introverted I've lived in the city all my life. Though I enjoy quiet scenic spots, a quiet spot has to be scenic for me to enjoy it. I was waxing lyrical about peace and quiet out of the city, and then I found out that I'm actually not such a small-town fan after all when I went to Stratford-upon-Avon. It was slow, quiet and I was thoroughly bored (except for the play, which was the highlight of the trip). But I suspect introverts brought up in busy cities are more likely to prefer noise than introverts brought up in quiet places.

    Also, Di: when you do read fanfic, do you prefer serious fanfic or crackfics?

    1. "Waxing lyrical", hahaha.
      Seriously though, I'm too used to cities. I grew up in Saigon, the largest city in Vietnam and then spent a few years in Kristiansand, Norway and before I could get used to a quiet town I had moved to Oslo already. And I like Oslo a lot more than Kristiansand. And, as you know already, Paris is my favourite city, which I've visited 5 times.
      I've never read crackfics. In fact, when you asked, I had to google the term, and after reading the definition, without having any example, couldn't say if I would like them.
      And I don't read fanfic any more. Time is limited, haha.

  4. I remember reading that Knut Hamsun once attended a lecture given by Ibsen and told him quite what he thought of his writing (not a fan). I'll have to look out the quote somewhere - it was in an introduction to Hunger (one of my favourite novels) and did make me laugh. Perhaps you should stop at one if Knut is to be trusted ;)

    1. Hahhahahaa. Oh well... what can I say. I stopped reading Hunger after some chapters.