Out of all the characters in this A to Z challenge, this is probably the type that I identify with the most. Conjunct collaborative citizens are characters that can fit into at least two separate worlds and as a result fit into no world completely.
They can work as spies, working toward the fall of a regime or as bridges trying to forge mutual understanding. More than any of character type I’ve noticed, juxtaposing a conjunct collaborative citizen hero/heroine and a villain can create dynamism in stories.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for The Departed, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Us.
Collin in The Departed and Billy also in The Departed are two examples of conjunct collaborative citizens. Billy grew up with divorced parents traveling to two different sides of the tracks on the weekends and switching his accent to fit in. Although the majority of his family was involved in crime, he desires to work in the police force. Collin was primed to be a spy from childhood by a mafioso. Collin learns to fit in so well in law enforcement that he gets assigned to a task force to take down a mole.
The dynamics of the tension between the two characters not only gives us access to both worlds as an audience, but also sparks the tension of discovering which character will win.
Juxtaposing Dimensional “Twins”
Adelaide Wilson and Red in Us are characters that meet in a house of mirrors. After the encounter, Red works to bathe a bloody road for her cohorts to world domination. Adelaide defends her family by having had access to Red’s world and understanding how it functions.
Like in The Departed, the juxtaposition not only gives us access to the minds of each world, but also creates a desire to discover which mindset will win out in the end.
Other examples of conjunct collaborative citizens are Starr from The Hate U Give, Haydon from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, the narrator in The Sympathizer and Nakia from Black Panther.
Can you think of other examples of conjunct collaborative citizens?