Breakdown of Three

I hope you enjoyed Three’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 Threes.


The music 

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I originally meant to have the song in chapter one be the opening song of Hamilton, but for reasons I don’t remember, I forgot to do that. The reason I was going to go with that was because Alexander Hamilton(at least Lin-Manuel Miranda’s version) was a classic type Three. His astronomical level of talent, his breaknecking productivity, and his relentless drive to succeed at all costs, are all very typical of many Threes. Although he is, of course, a picture of a very unhealthy Three. So if you want to see what happens when a Three is left to their own devices and goes crazy, go watch Hamilton(or listen to the soundtrack if you’re a regular person and don’t have Broadway money).

That being said, here are the reasons I chose the other songs for each chapter. Lose Yourself is a classic inspirational, get up and go after your dream song and that’s what Threes are about. I chose When I Grow Up for chapter two because in that song NF is telling all his haters all the great things he’s gonna do when he grows up. This was a nod to the fact that Threes are often kids in grown up bodies trying to prove themselves to everyone around them. This song comes in chapter two because this is when Three’s insecurities start to surface, but he presses on because he has to prove himself.

Lastly, I thought Lose You to Love Me was a perfect song to encapsulate what healing looks like for a type Three. Selena Gomez originally wrote this as a breakup song, supposedly about Justin Bieber, and it’s her way of saying that she had to essentially learn to hate him before she could start loving herself again. I chose this song because that’s basically what Three’s need to learn to sing to the community that they’ve been trying to conform to. The song begins with the words:

You promised the world and I fell for it
I put you first and you adored it
Set fires to my forest
And you let it burn

Threes are promised the world as children: “do this…become this…and everyone will love you.” and they fall for it and do whatever that thing is and become whatever that thing is, burning down whatever dreams they actually had in the hope of getting that promise. But a 4.0, two Masters, and three Grammys later, they discover that it was nothing but empty promises.

The chorus says:

We’d always go into it blindly
I needed to lose you to find me
This dance, it was killing me softly
I needed to hate you to love me, yeah

Ultimately, when a Three realizes that they’ve become what everyone else wanted them to be, they’ll have to “lose” the approval of those people in order to find themselves again because that dance of performance is killing them from the inside out.


The Tower

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Three has to make his way up a 60-story building to break into the penthouse at the top. Everyone inside is dressed in three-piece suits and lost in feverish activity. This was supposed to be a blatant nod to Corporate America because Threes often are very successful in those types of environments. Threes can also be very competitive and this is why there are competition sub themes in the story: the floors are color coded with bronze, silver, and gold, and the final acceptance bullet is in a trophy case.


The empty magazine

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This one may have been self-explanatory, but I’ll write a little about it anyway. Three finally finds the success magazine in the penthouse, but it’s empty. This was a picture of the fact that no matter how successful a Three can become–no matter how many cars they have, houses they buy, or money they make–there will always be an emptiness at the end of it all. Because to paraphrase Will Smith(another type Three), “You can’t achieve your way into healing.”


The disguises

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Three uses a different identity to climb his way up the Tower. First he uses someone’s keycard, then he mimics another man’s voice, then he uses a face-altering device to get into Tiberius’ penthouse. This was a nod to the fact that Threes can be social chameleons and become whatever anyone needs them to be. If their friends need them to be extraverted, they’ll be the life of the party. If their co-workers need them to be subdued and somber, they’ll keep to themselves. Whatever is asked of them, they’ll not only meet the expectations, but often exceed them and ultimately become whoever they are needed to be.


The drive

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I included a car chase for two reasons: one, Three’s Ferrari was a nod to the picture of success. Not all Threes drive flashy cars, but flashy cars are usually associated with success so I put it in. But secondly, the car chase was a visual picture of the relentless drive that Threes have. Three is also the only character so far who doesn’t stop once they meet the Gunsmith. Even after being shot twice and flying off a bridge into a river, he just gets back up and keeps trying to find the magazine. This is because of all the types, Threes are probably the most driven. They are the least likely to give up on anything and will keep pushing no matter the odds. This is also why many Threes end up becoming motivational speakers. Who else would you want to inspire you than someone who absolutely refuses to give up? This is the strength of the Three, but it can also be a weakness and that leads us to the next piece…


The rest

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The Gunsmith can’t get Three to stop so he shoots him to take him down. Three initially thinks he’s been shot with pain, but the Gunsmith reveals that he’s been shot with rest. Three confuses rest with pain because the moment he stops moving he’s able to feel all the emotions he’s been able to ignore while on the move.(Notice that despite all the rejection and humiliation Three experiences in chapter two, he never actually feels it until he’s forced to rest in chapter three.) Threes can often be so caught up in their activity that they push down their emotions in order to get things done. This can cause them to be inhumanly productive, but can eventually have disastrous effects emotionally. Threes often need to be reminded that they need to rest and that rest doesn’t slow them down, it actually allows them to be even more productive. But most of all, it allows them to heal and face the negative emotions they’ve been able to ignore while working.


The acceptance

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The Gunsmith gives Three a magazine of acceptance because at the end of the day, this is what Threes want. They can often be stereotyped as just wanting to be successful, but this isn’t fully accurate. At the end of the day, Threes just want to be accepted and they’re told that if they’re successful, they’ll be accepted. If being a failure was acceptable, in theory, Threes would probably embrace failure, but that’s not the case. When a Three can learn that they are accepted for who they are and not for what they do, they can then begin to be fully themselves without having to perform.



The story loop

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If you’ve been reading all the stories so far from the beginning, you’ve probably noticed that every type ends up attacking some other type at some point. Types Three, Six, and Nine are all connected to each other and Three’s story is the final link that brings them together. In Nine’s story, he’s attacked by assassins and ends up accidentally attacking Six, who runs away and accidentally attacks Three, who ultimately discovers that his actions sent the assassins after Nine in the first place. This was my attempt at making a sort of Penrose staircase story that feeds into itself.


The texting

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Three ignores his sister’s texts throughout the story because he’s focused on the mission. I’ve heard that some Threes(not necessarily all) can be notorious for not answering texts. My take on this is that they are often so focused on the task at hand that they can easily forget to respond to conversations they deem as out of the way. At best this can look like not responding to funny gifs and at worst this can look like cutting off friends in order to get more work done.


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 Three song by Sleeping At Last, check it out…



Original artwork by Alyssa Pfingst

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