Eleven is a fan-favorite character in the popular Netflix series Stranger Things. From her very first appearance and her search for Will with the “Party,” fans were intrigued by her. Every season has peeled back some of the layers to her character and backstory, allowing her to grow, and for fans to get to know her better.
Eleven displays many admirable qualities, like courage, protectiveness, loyalty, and care for the people around her. However, her traumatic upbringing has left her with some permanent scars. She struggles to open up to people and feels guilty easily. She wasn’t really raised by anyone until she was a teenager – unless Dr. Brenner counts, but he appears to only care about her as a science experiment. Her own strengths and weaknesses make for a compelling character.
Updated on August 2nd, 2022 by Amanda Bruce: Season 4 of Stranger Things delved deeper into Eleven’s backstory than any of the others so far. It allows fans to really understand how powerful Eleven could be, but it also allows fans to understand even more of her vulnerabilities. The season also marked the first time Eleven was allowed to live out in the world as Jane Hopper, which gives fans another look at how she interacts with the world, demonstrating both the good and the bad of her character traits even more clearly.
Eleven’s Best Traits
Eleven Never Gives Up
If there’s one thing Eleven is, it’s determined. No matter what life (or Dr. Brenner) throws at her, she keeps going. Even after being pursued by Vecna, Eleven works to get to her friends in any way she can. It might only be in a mind space instead of being physically there for them, but she finds way.
That kind of determination is what inspires faith and loyalty amongst the Party, despite only knowing Eleven for a short time. It’s not just her super powers.
Eleven Is Protective
Eleven has a dangerous gift with her powers of telekinesis. Since nobody has guided her or mentored her beyond what she’s learned in the lab, it’s really up to her how she uses her powers once she’s out in the world. Both Hopper and Joyce try to help her
She decides to use them for good, and it’s usually thanks to her that Eleven’s friends like Will and Max make it out of dangerous situations alive. She loves and cares about her friends deeply. She has no biological family, so the people around her become her own found family.
Eleven Has A Strong Sense Of Loyalty
Eleven’s loyalty is interesting, given how much people have used and betrayed her all her life. She’s quick to trust Mike and the boys, and even after they shun her, she remains loyal to them. (That quick trust doesn’t happen often, but once she does trust someone, she’s all in.)
Similarly, though she’s jealous of Max at first, she forgives Mike instantly when she realizes he still likes her. She also remains loyal to Hopper even when a tantalizing new life is dangled before her eyes. Eleven cannot stand the idea of abandoning those she cares about and doesn’t understand every time someone she does care about betrays her.
Eleven Has An Independent Nature
Sometimes, Eleven’s independence can be admirable. In fact, there are times in the show when she wouldn’t be able to survive without being self-sufficient.
After Season 1, she survives on her own in the woods. She leads her own investigations into her family background and the origin of her powers, and in Season 3, she proves that she doesn’t need Mike to enjoy life.
Eleven Is Courageous
Eleven is afraid often: of Dr. Brenner, of Lucas’s wrath, of being discovered by the authorities, and of herself. However, she doesn’t let this fear stop her from doing what she knows is the right thing.
Eleven digs deep to use her powers to their full capacity, even when it causes her pain. She puts herself in danger knowing that it will be worth it if she saves her friends and stops the creatures of the Upside Down.
Eleven Adapts Quickly
Given her closeted upbringing, Eleven is quick to adapt to her new surroundings. She’s still different, of course, but she picks up on a few things, like social standards of beauty for girls, fashion ideals, and the way everyone worships television.
She quickly accepts the boys as her friends – or at least allies. Later, she adapts to her new life with Hopper, falling into something like a father-daughter relationship, and is also quick to adapt to her new role as a warrior, and as a member of the Byers family.
Eleven’s Worst Traits
Eleven Is Quick To Follow Her Impulses
When Eleven gets an idea in her head, she acts on it. That’s largely because she spent most of her formative years in a cell, not able to make her own decisions or follow her own path.
Her impulse control is only kept in check by people like Mike, Max, and Hopper, who try to teach her more about the world around her. When she doesn’t have them in California in Season 4, Eleven tries her best to learn from the Byers family, but even then, her own impulses lead to her to abandon them in order to save the world on her own instead of relying on her friends.
Eleven Is Easily Jealous
Eleven can be quick to jump to conclusions, which may be because she hasn’t grown up in a social setting surrounded by peers her own age.
When she sees Mike with Max for the first time, she completely misreads the situation. Even though Mike has been calling her on the walkie-talkie every day for almost a year, Eleven becomes jealous. This isn’t the only case of her being jealous, but it’s probably the worst as she lashes out at Max with her powers.
Eleven’s Independence Can Be Her Downfall
Eleven is used to fending for herself, which can be a positive trait, but she’s independent to the point that she doesn’t let anyone in at all. She refuses to speak until she decides that a person can be trusted, that they are not “bad.”
Her independence can put her in situations of danger, especially given that she’s only a child. She shouldn’t have to be so independent, and it’s one of the saddest things about her character. Even as Eleven grows and changes, and comes to rely on others, she’s still more likely to go off on her own than the rest of her friends.
Eleven Is Self-Sacrificing
Eleven’s self-worth isn’t very high because of the way she has been treated in the lab. Therefore, Eleven doesn’t struggle with the idea that she may need to sacrifice herself for the greater good. When Mike calls her a superhero, Eleven initially learns to believe it.
She also knows that she has the power to save her friends – and the world – but she doesn’t realize that she’s not alone anymore; she doesn’t have to do everything on her own. Besides, her newfound family would be heartbroken if they lost her.
Eleven Doesn’t Trust Easily
Though this trait is understandable – and not at all Eleven’s fault – it’s a weakness nonetheless. Failing to trust people leaves her to fend for herself and be constantly on the run.
Even when she gets to know people, she doesn’t trust them; she doesn’t believe Hopper is protecting her for her safety in Season 2, and she doesn’t trust Mike with another girl at first sight. It’s rare for Eleven to immediately trust. While she does trust both Mike and Joyce when first meeting them, she still keeps her guard up.
Eleven Is Deceitful
Perhaps Eleven is deceitful because she’s so used to being on her own and not trusting anyone, but lying is rarely a good thing. She lies about who she is, where she’s come from, and what she can do, and in every case, telling the truth would have helped her. Her lies are often those of omission, not blatant lies, but they are lies all the same.
Deceit also gets her into the habit of theft. Though this character trait is understandable, it’s avoidable. If Eleven could be a little more honest at times, perhaps she wouldn’t be in so much danger. Of course, in her case, she doesn’t know who can be trusted and who should be avoided.
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