Character Traits: Independent and Proper

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Favorite Character Traits

Independent and Proper

In many cases the success of a story—the story’s ability to provide meaning and interest to the reader, will lie heavily on how the reader relates to the character—how the character colors the story. This is especially true in novel length stories, but it can be true for short stories and picture books.

There are many traits a main character can possess, and I believe any trait can hold significance and add interest to the plot and overall purpose of the story. In this post the trait I want to focus on is the dual character trait of independent and proper.


Independent/independence means being self sufficient. It means being able to take your own initiative on tasks and journeys. It means having a mind of your own and knowing how to manage in your surroundings without the reliance of others. It does not necessarily mean avoiding the help or advice of others, but realizing your own ability to make decisions and actions.

Some negative things about this trait are a character who possesses it can find themselves in a lot of trouble or sticky situations. This is especially true for a character that is too independent and does not desire the counsel or help from others.


Proper means behaving with a set of manners acceptable by society or by a group that is commonly admired. Most likely, the character will be well spoken and well dressed. Often these characters may be of some high financial status or possess a high title (i.e. royalty). Sometimes they may not have these elements but have the desire to be.

Some negative things about this trait are a character who possesses it can become or appear to be self centered and rude. Some may see this character as thinking they are higher than others. This is true especially when the character comes in contact with others they deem are below them.


The reason why I put these two traits together because I saw this in one character, Veronique, from the story, Remembered. Although she was not necessarily of affluence, while in France, she worked for an affluent family. When she came to Colorado, she barely had money, and the money she did have was what the affluent family left for her when she quit her job. She was very used to the high life of France, from behavior to dress. She was also independent, especially when she moved to Colorado, since all she had was herself. On her own, she managed to get a place to stay and acquired  funds to survive. She was also preparing for a mission to find out what happened to her father in a new environment she knew nothing about.

With these 2 traits that I saw Veronique possess, it made her appear stubborn and strong. Though these traits would appear to be negative when combined and make for an unlikeable character, I ended up liking her a lot because I understood why she was that way and I think possessing those traits made the plot more interesting to see how she responded to situations and people who challenged those traits.

2 thoughts on “Character Traits: Independent and Proper

  1. I agree with you Harliqueen–I believe the character’s ability to connect with a reader really adds to the story overall. I too, see “proper” as a positive trait. Thank you!

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