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Characterization

Page history last edited by Jayson Yeagley 10 years ago

The Basics:

 

Direct Characterization: The author tells the reader information about the character directly. For example, "She [Mrs. Mallard] was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength."

Indirect Characterization:
The reader infers aspects of a character's personality by what that character does and says. For example, the reader knows Nora is deceitful because she lies to Helmer about the macaroons.

Round Character: This type of character is fully developed with many personality traits and nuances.

Flat Character: This type of character is usually positioned for plot points or as a foil to another character. The flat character only has one or two personality traits revealed to the audience/reader.

Static Character: The static character doesn't change. He/she stays the same through the story. Regardless of the changes in his/her environment or circumstances, his/her personality remains unchanged.

Dynamic Character: The dynamic character changes dramatically, either through the growth process or in response to learning from events or his/her environment.

 

 

How Authors Disclose Character in Literature

 

1. Actions by characters reveal their natures

2. The author's descriptions, both personal and environmental, tell use about characters.

3. What characters say--dramatic statements and thoughts--reveals what they are like

4. We learn about characters from what others say about them.

5. The author, speaking as a storyteller or an observer, may tell us about characters.

 

 

 

 

Writing about Character:

 

Usually your topic will be a major character in a story, drama, although you might also study one or more minor characters.  List as many of the traits as you can.  Determine how the author presents detail about the character through actions, appearance, speeches, comments by others, or authorial explanations.  If you discover unusual traits, determine what they show.  The following suggestions and questions will help you get started:

 

Raise Questions to Discover Ideas:

 

1. Who is the main character?  What do you learn about this character from his or her own actions and speeches?  From the speeches and actions of other characters?  How else do you learn about the character?

 

2. Who important is the character to the work's principal action?  Which characters oppose the major character?  How do the major characters and the opposing characters interact?  What effects do these interactions create?

 

3. What actions bring out important traits of the main character?  To what degree is the character creating or just responding to events?

 

4. Characterize the main character's actions:  Are they good or bad, intelligent or stupid, deliberate or spontaneous? How do they help you understand the protagonist?

 

5. What descriptions (if any) of the character's appearance do you discover in the story?  What does the appearance demonstrate about the character?

 

6. In what ways is the character's major trait a strength or a weakness?  As the story progresses, to what degree does the trait become more (or less) prominent?

 

7. Is the character a stereotype?  Does the character remain in this role or does he or she rise above it?

 

8. Is the character lifelike or unreal?  Consistent or inconsistent?  Believable or not believable?

 

 

 

 

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