James P. Sullivan

James P. Sullivan

    Monsters, Inc.
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living... with his friend from college and co-worker, Mike Wazowski, in an apartment in Monstropolis. The two spend almost all of their time together between work and home and have developed a very strong friendship over the years.

Profession... Scarer at the company Monsters, Inc. Sulley is very dedicated to his work, and not just for his own gain: the energy gathered from the scared childrens’ screams provides power to the entire city of Monstropolis. For a while, he is the top Scarer at the company and receives even further accolades from his boss, who states: “I need Scarers who are confident, tenacious, tough, and intimidating. I need Scarers like.... like.... James P. Sullivan.”

Interests... scaring children. This is the only thing that Sulley consistently thinks about and the reason he gets up in the morning. His father was also an accomplished Scarer at Monsters, Inc., giving Sulley even more incentive to be great at his job.

Relationship Status... single. Sulley is too devoted to his job at Monsters, Inc. to have time for a relationship. He doesn't seem to even really think about it, concerning himself solely with how he can continue to make a difference at the company.

Challenge... concealing Boo, a human child who snuck into his apartment. Humans are believed to be toxic and extremely hazardous, so Sulley is initially very afraid for his health — and his job, if he is caught with her. Unlike other children, Boo isn’t afraid of Sulley, and even calls him “kitty.” As Sulley spends time with her, he begins to develop a fatherly relationship with her. This compromises everything that he has been working for at Monsters, Inc. and brings to light questions about his life's direction that he has not been able to answer. As he reveals to his roommate, “I act scary, Mike...but most of the time.... I’m terrified.”

Personality... humble and caring. Although highly competitive and concerned with his status at Monsters, Inc., Sulley is extremely modest. And in spite of his utmost devotion, his moral standards remain more important to him than anything; he is willing to sacrifice his personal gains for what he feels is right. Sulley is a great friend and a very giving individual in general, as evidenced by his tender and loving relationship with Boo.


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