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Presentation on theme: "ELEMENTS OF LITERATURE PART THREE: CHARACTERS"— Presentation transcript:

English I Honors Mr. Popovich

2 Characters are fictional people in a story.
Main characters are the focus of the reader’s attention The protagonist is the most important character Is involved in the main conflict May or may not be the “good guy” The antagonist is what opposes the protagonist A character, group, force, or an emotion May or may not be the “bad guy” Minor characters contribute to the reader’s attention They help develop the main characters They help develop the plot of the story Incidental characters fill-out the rest of the story

3 from “Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving
Characterization Characterization is the way in which an author reveals the personality traits of a character. In direct characterization the author describes the personality of a character directly to the reader. . . . he was a simple, good-natured man; he was moreover a kind neighbor and an obedient, henpecked husband. from “Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving

4 Characterization In indirect characterization the author reveals the personality of characters indirectly through their… physical appearance words/dialogue thoughts/feelings actions/behavior effects on others

5 Characterization The way in which an author describes a character’s appearance— physical features, clothing, and general demeanor—provides an insight into the personality of that character. (After his twenty-year nap) The appearance of Rip, with his long grizzled beard, his rusty fowling piece, his uncouth dress, soon attracted the attention of the tavern politicians. from “Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving

6 Characterization The dialogue can also reveal a lot about a character. Pay attention not only to what a character says but also to how he says it. (Entering the village after his twenty-year nap) “God knows,” exclaimed [Rip] . . ., “I’m not myself.—I’m somebody else—that’s me yonder—no—that’s somebody else got into my shoes—I was myself last night; but I fell asleep on the mountain—and they’ve changed my gun—and everything’s changed—and I’m changed—and I can’t tell what’s my name, or who I am!” from “Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving

7 Characterization Similarly a character’s private thoughts can reveal what he thinks, feels, wants, or fears. (Rip learns that friends have since passed away) Rip’s heart died away, at hearing of these sad changes in his home and his friends, and finding himself thus alone in the world he had no courage to ask after any more friends, but cried out in despair, “Does nobody here know Rip Van Winkle?” from “Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving

8 Characterization A character’s actions—what he does and how he does it—also tell a great deal about his personality. He assisted at their sports, made their playthings, taught them to fly kites and shoot marbles, and told them long stories from “Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving

9 Characterization The effect a character has on other characters also helps readers understand his personality. The children of the village would shout with joy whenever he approached Whenever he went dodging about the village he was surrounded by a troop of them and not a dog would bark at him throughout the neighborhood. from “Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving

10 Round Characters Most main characters are called round because their characterization reveals that they… are well-rounded, just like most real people are complex personalities, just like most real people have more than one personality trait

11 Flat Characters Most minor characters are called flat because their characterization reveals that they… are NOT well-rounded can be described easily are simple characters with very few personality traits

12 Stock characters are so flat they are stereotypes.
They fit readers’ preconceived ideas about “types,” such as a mad scientist or a nagging wife They seriously lack the complexity of a real person [Rip’s] wife kept continually dinning in his ears about his idleness, his carelessness, and the ruin he was bringing on the family. Morning, noon, and night, her tongue was incessantly going from “Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving

13 Dynamic Characters Reading Tip
Dynamic characters change or grow as a result of the development of the story’s action. Most dynamic characters are main characters. They can gain a new understanding, make an important decision, or take a crucial action. Reading Tip The change a dynamic character makes is usually a clue to the overall theme of the work!

14 Static Characters Static characters are usually exactly the same as the story ends as they were when it began. They DO NOT change or grow as a result of the development of the plot of the story. Nonetheless, they support the plot without distracting the reader from the main action involving the protagonist’s change/growth. They are almost always minor or incidental.

15 Motivation Writers can make characters believable by revealing what motivates them to act as they do. A character’s motivation… is based on his or her needs or conflicts explains why he or she acts, feels, and/or thinks must usually be inferred from the clues of the story

16 Review Questions 1. Explain the relationship between the protagonist and antagonist. The protagonist is the main character. The antagonist is the force opposing the protagonist. The conflict is the struggle between them. 2. Explain the difference between direct and indirect characterization. Direct characterization is when the author explicitly describes the character. Indirect characterization is when the reader must infer. 3. List five ways an author can reveal character indirectly. Appearance, Dialogue, Thoughts, Actions, Effects 4. Explain the difference between round and flat characters. Round characters are main characters who are well-rounded and have complex personalities. Flat characters are minor and simple characters. 5. Explain the difference between dynamic and static characters. Dynamic characters change or grow; Static characters do not.

17 The End


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