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Characterization

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Characterization
- Literary Element -
Characterization
• As stories unfold, the reader learns more and
more about a character.
• Characterization is the process in which an
author reveals the personality of a character.
▫ There are TWO ways in which to do this:
 Directly (Direct Characterization)
 Indirectly (Indirect Characterization)
Direct Characterization
• Direct Characterization – when the author TELLS
the reader about the character’s personality
• For Example:
▫ “The patient boy and the quiet girl were both wellmannered and did not disobey their mother.”
▫ In this example, the author is TELLING the reader
about the children’s personalities. Here we see that
the boy is patient and the girl is quiet.
Indirect Characterization
• Indirect Characterization – when the author
SHOWS the reader the character’s personality
▫ This is where “detective” skills are handy!
• There are five different methods in which a
reader can learn about a character.
▫ Can you think of any ways in which you could
learn about a character without being explicitly
told?
Indirect Characterization
S T E A L
• #1 Speech – What does a character say? How does the character
speak?
• #2 Thoughts – What is revealed through the character’s personal
thoughts and feelings?
• #3 Effects on Others – What is revealed through the character’s
effect on other people? How do other characters feel or behave in
reaction to the character?
• #4 Actions – What does the character do? How does the character
behave?
• #5 Looks – What does the character look like? How does the
character dress?
Indirect Characterization
- Let’s Analyze • SPEECH
▫ Example: Gru says, “Look, Ma..” “Look, Ma..” “Look,
Ma..”
 Explanation: His repetition reveals that Gru is
desperately trying to get his mother to notice him. It
shows that he is searching for approval, love, and support
from his mother.
• THOUGHTS
▫ Example: Gru thinks to himself – “Pause for effect.”
 Explanation: This reveals that Gru believes his ideas are
extraordinarily important and that he is a powerful
individual. It becomes clear that he thinks very highly of
himself.
Indirect Characterization
- Let’s Analyze • EFFECTS ON OTHERS
▫ Example: The girls say to Vector – “That’ll be $52,” and, “Why
are you wearing pajamas?”
 Explanation: The fact that the girls are indifferent towards Vector’s
self-centered attitude reveals that Vector is probably not as supreme
as he believes.
• ACTIONS
▫ Example: Vector leans on the counter and throws his head back.
 Explanation: His body language demonstrates that he believes he is
far better than anyone, and he is beyond compare.
• LOOKS
▫ Example: Elinor is wearing a frown.
 Explanation: Elinor’s facial expression shows that she is upset about
something that is troubling her.
Characters can be…
• Round
• Dynamic
▫ a well-developed, complex
character that shows a range
of emotions
▫ characters that experience an
internal change throughout
the story’s plot
- OR • Flat
▫ a minor character in which
the author usually only
reveals one or two traits
about
- OR • Static
▫ characters that remain the
same throughout the story’s
plot
Auteur
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