Elliot Hunter is the antagonist of Ungrateful. I won’t give away much about him since I’d rather people follow his dark journey when they read the novel. 😉 However, in two parts, I will give some insight into where I drew inspiration into creating his character, and the psychological features of what makes him a monster, as the title says.
I don’t have a background in psychology besides a couple of undergraduate courses in Psych 101, personal research, and my own mental health journey. So, I will try not to attempt to so-called diagnose Elliot, but I will describe how the Dark Triad Personality type helped me in developing his character.
The Dark Triad Personality type is explained in this video:
People with dark triad traits rate high in their willingness to exploit anyone to get ahead, and they experience little remorse when they cause harm to others. They can also be duplicitous and aggressive.From Health.com
As a middle-school kid, Elliot was deeply fascinated by sadistic, tyrannical leaders such as Adolf Hitler and Caligula.
His teacher had to have a meeting with his parents about a paper he had written on Caligula glorifying the emperor’s murderous acts, psychotic behavior, and incestuous relationship with his sisters that were also prostituted by him (not mentioned in the book). His defense was that he found the emperor’s story exciting, even though his parents and teacher forced him to rewrite the paper. His parents forced him to go to many psychiatrists that intimidated and misdiagnosed him, placing him on drugs that may have negatively altered his brain causing serious issues later in adulthood.
Overall, he was a brilliant and introverted kid who managed to make good grades. This was unusual, being that his home life was often strife with paranoia, negativity, and traumatic events created by his father’s secret involvement in drug trafficking. Then after the death of his parents, his childhood would go on to be even darker and more traumatic when he lives with his uncle at the age of 13.
Elliot’s parents had turned to Christianity as a redemption for their earlier sins of pimping and prostitution. However, his paternal grandfather and/or great-grandfather was a high-degree Prince Hall Freemason (not mentioned in the book), which inspired Elliot’s father to secretly collect many esoteric and occult books that Elliot would get ahold of. This knowledge affected him, which led him down a powerful spiritual path in his adulthood that eventually turned dark and depraved, and satanic and twisted.
Every time I got into the character of Elliot, whether it was through writing his dialogue or describing his actions, I visualized a 13-year-old Black boy, freshly wounded from sexual abuse, with a blank thousand-yard stare and a brain hoarding enough music and artistic ideas to suppress horrific, hellish memories. His damaged inner child is hidden beneath his public persona as a powerful, multimillionaire businessman and the industry- and media-bestowed titles that made him a Faberge egg-version of his shadow self. Elliot has multiple sides, for example, the highly paranoid survivor, the down-to-earth jokester, the ‘big brother’, demon-possessed—just to name a few.
The most important thing about the character Elliot Hunter is that he represents the Black male trauma that continues to be ignored or downplayed in the black community. Childhood sexual abuse among Black males is another contribution to the high rates of child molestation and sexual abuse, crime, imprisonment, domestic violence, and femicide in the Black community. The childhood of former R&B superstar R. Kelly was a famous depiction of this issue. There is an article by Garfield Hylton that discusses this in more depth, from the perspective of a Black man:
“In the 2011 Psychology Today article “Talking About Sexually Abused Boys and the Men They Become,” author and psychologist Richard B. Gartner, Ph.D., lends credence to Ron’s assertion. Gartner cites “masculine gender expectations” that “teach boys they can’t be victims” as one of the main reasons the sexual assault of boys goes unreported. “Boys are supposed to be competitive, resilient, self-reliant, and independent, but certainly not emotionally needy,” he writes. “‘Real’ men initiate sexual activity and want sex whenever it’s offered, especially by women. For many men, these qualities define masculinity.”
He also stated:
“For other Black boys, sexual encounters that happen with women or non-adults are often laughed about or looked thought of as harmless. In 2009, the NPR show Tell Me More broadcast (sic) a segment prompted by Lil Wayne’s anecdote of losing his virginity at the age of 11 to a 14-year-old girl, and the admission that it affected him adversely later. And in 2013, Chris Brown shared a story with Vibe about the time he “lost” his virginity at age eight to a girl of 15. “It’s different in the country,” Brown said. “Like, girls, we weren’t afraid to talk to them; I wasn’t afraid. So at eight, being able to do it, it kind of preps you for the long run, so you can be a beast at it.” The description fits the textbook definition of abuse and yet, to him, it was something he felt prepared him for sexual situations in the future.”
Here is other information, including resources, about this issue:
Facts About Sexual Abuse in the African-American Community: https://www.healthyplace.com/eating-disorders/articles/facts-about-sexual-abuse-in-the-african-american-community
Here is a website dedicated to male sexual abuse survivors: