I hope you enjoyed Five’s story. I’ve decided to break down some of the “Easter eggs” in the story to help you understand a little bit more about Fives.
The sniper rifle
I had Five be a sniper because this would give him a unique vantage point of all the action happening below him. He perches on rooftops and is literally above all the feelings being shot beneath him. This was to show that Fives usually have a bird’s eye view of their emotions and this is why they don’t usually get caught up in them. Five’s mantra that feelings are unreliable, but distance brings clarity was another nod to this. Having an aerial vantage point gives Fives a clarity that doesn’t come as easily to other types.
Distance is a recurring theme in Five’s story. He uses distance bullets, he keeps a steady distance while following Seven’s kidnappers, and he maintains distant interactions with all the characters in the story–he doesn’t have a face-to-face conversation with anyone until the end of chapter two. This is because Fives like to maintain a level of distance in most aspects of their lives. So they’ll often keep their thoughts and opinions to themselves, they’ll refrain from small talk about subjects they don’t care about, and they’ll retreat from friends so they can be alone. It’s not that they don’t like people, it’s that distance is the oxygen they breathe–it’s the water that refreshes them. It takes energy to be up close and personal with people. A Five at a social gathering feels like a sniper in a wrestling ring.
Five is the first type in this short story series that introduces us to the third kind of bullet in this universe: the distance bullet. He has a distance bullet in him and when he shoots one into someone else, the distance bullet in that person is repelled by the one in him, sending that person flying away into the distance. This was another depiction of a Five’s relationship to their emotions. It’s not that they don’t have emotions(note that Five tells the reader in the first chapter that he has a magazine of feelings, he just prefers not to use it) it’s that they’re more detached from them. They’re not detached in a heartless way, there’s simply more distance between the head and the heart for them. Because of this, it can be more difficult for Fives to intentionally process their emotions than for other types. They may know exactly what they’re feeling, but not always know how to fully express it.
I can’t stress how important distance is to Fives. If you know someone who is a Five and it feels like they’re always distant, it’s not because they don’t care or don’t have feelings–they need distance to process and understand both themselves and you. Give them their space and eventually they’ll come out–and when they do, they’ll usually have very profound things to share.
I tried to insert as much trivial information as possible in this story as I could, from the background info on Lewis Carrol’s riddle to ironic process theory. Five is also the only story so far with footnotes. All of this was a nod to the fact that Fives love information. They crave knowledge and gathering as much information as possible because it makes them feel competent. This is ultimately why the man in the hood gives Five an unanswerable riddle–because one of the worst things for a Five to experience is being exposed for not knowing enough about something.
The sensory deprivation chamber
For most of the story, Five has been relying on his senses. The first chapter opens up with “I watched” and we see everything that Five sees. The next chapter opens up with “I heard” and we hear everything that he hears. But chapter three opens with “I feel” and we find Five in a void where he can’t hear or see anything. It’s here, where he can no longer gather information and can’t even think, that he’s able to grow. Like all the other types, Five’s greatest strength is also his greatest weakness. In this case, it’s his thinking. When he’s able to settle his mind and literally sink into his emotions, he’s able to use his feelings to escape from the sensory deprivation chamber. G.K. Chesteron once said that people go mad when all they have left is their reason–because they will trap themselves in their own thinking. When all you rely on is your reasoning powers, it can become like a malfunctioning rudder that sends you sailing in circles. This scene was a reverse of that picture–that sometimes people can be freed when all they have left is their feelings. So when the boat of reason is gone, simply floating on the current of emotions may eventually bring you to shore. Of course that comes with a caveat and is why we have what happens next in that scene…
The shot in the dark
The Gunsmith tells Five to shoot at a lightswitch that will get him out of the chamber. But Five can’t see or hear anything so he has no way of knowing where to shoot. But the Gunsmith tells him that he has all he needs and a magazine of feelings starts vibrating in Five’s backpack. He’s able to use this magazine and follow its vibrations around the room until he’s able to locate the switch and shoot it. He literally takes a shot in the dark and makes it out.
This was a redemptive moment for Five for not taking the shot in the beginning of the story. Sometimes Fives have to learn to take shots even before they feel that they have enough information. It’s in these moments that feelings can be essential.
Lastly, the Gunsmith shoots Five with a magazine of competence because at the end of the day, this is what Five’s long to feel. What they don’t always realize, however, is what the Gunsmith says to Five–that they already have everything they need so they already are as competent as they hope to be.
I hope you enjoyed the story. If you haven’t taken the Enneagram test and would like to find out your type, you can take this free test here.
Lastly, if you haven’t listened to the Five song by Sleeping At Last, check it out…
Original artwork by Andrea Ng