As Phill and I discussed a fictional situation in the novel I'm writing, he brought up a subject of a personal image. Specifically, he was saying that my character would see himself as a Captain Jack Sparrow. I nixed that. We agreed that the character's mental image of himself would be more along the lines of Stephen Maturin of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series.
In the midst of our lunchtime conversation, he said casually, "You have a mental image of yourself."
"And what is that?"
"A basketball playing . . ."
"No. No. That won't work. You are talking about a person's archetype, not what they were at one time. What is my archetype?"
Clearly, Phill could not answer the question, so I moved the conversation to its origins, discussing what my character would do in a certain situation. Would he shake off the fact that he wasn't chosen as the Viking warlord for his girlfriend's novel agreeing that it didn't fit his personal image? Or would he sulk because he secretly would like to be the hulking man who no one can ignore?
I couldn't tell you my archetype. I do not know what it would be.
What about you? Do you have a mental image of who you are? Is that why so many people take those quizzes to see which Harry Potter character fits them or which Middle Earth race they are? Shouldn't we already know?