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English 1 Literary Terms Chapter 2
Character Character (n): the fictional representation of a person.
Characterization The way writers create characters in a story. Direct CharacterizationIndirect Characterization Writers tell us directly what a character is like. Example: “The patient boy and quiet girl were both well mannered and did not disobey their mother.” Explanation: The author is directly telling the audience the personality of these two children. The boy is “patient” and the girl is “quiet.” Shows things that reveal the personality of a character. There are five different methods of indirect characterization: Speech: What does the character say? How does the character speak? Thoughts: What is revealed through the character’s private thoughts and feelings? Effect: on others toward the character. What is revealed through the character’s effect on other people? How do other characters feel or behave in reaction to the character. Actions: What does the character do? How does the character behave? Looks:What does the character look like? How does the character dress?
Character Types Certain types of characters appear in many stories. protagonist The protagonist is the central character (person, animal, or personified object) in the plot's conflict. The antagonist is the force in conflict with the protagonist. The antagonist is the force in conflict with the protagonist. This force may be society, nature, or fate, as well as another person. It can also be the protagonist's own self, if he or she has an internal conflict. Subordinate characters are minor characters in the story.
Flat vs. Round characters A f ff flat character is not fully developed; readers know only one side of the character. Flat character is almost never the main character. A r rr round character is f ff fully-developed, with many traits--bad and good--shown in the story. Readers may feel they know the character so well that he/she has become a real person.
Flat vs. Round cont’d flat round Character development Character development is a continuum with perfectly flat characters at one end and very round ones at the other. Every character lies somewhere on this continuum. Round characters Round characters are usually considered an indication of literary quality. However, characters in folktales are almost always flat, and flatness is appropriate for minor characters in modern literature for children. character foil is often flat A character foil is often flat, even if the protagonist is round.
Static vs. Dynamic Characters The amount of change in a character over the course of the story affects its quality: static character A static character is one who does not change during the course of the story. dynamic character A dynamic character is one who changes significantly through the events of the story. This change is internal and may be sudden, but the events of the plot should make it seem inevitable.
Static vs. Dynamic Characters cont’d very static very dynamic There is also a continuum of character change in a story, with very static characters at one end, and very dynamic ones at the other. Every character lies somewhere on this continuum. Dynamism in the protagonist Dynamism in the protagonist is usually considered an indication of quality, but many characters, especially in stories for younger children, have only the mild amount of change which can be expected from growing and maturing from day to day. A character may thus be round and dynamic round and static flat and static A flat character cannot usually be dynamic A flat character cannot usually be dynamic, because readers do not know enough about the flat character to notice a change.
Character FoilStock Character Character Foil / Stock Character character foil A character foil traits are opposite...is a character whose traits are opposite of those of the principal character. foil therefore highlights the traits of the protagonist. The foil therefore highlights the traits of the protagonist. The foil is usually a minor character, although if there are two protagonists, they may be foils of each other. stereotype/stock character A stereotype/stock character...is a character who possesses expected traits of a group rather than being an individual. They are easily predictable.
Motivations The reasons behind a character’s actions or feelings.
Dialogue The conversation between two or more characters. First-person narration A story told by an “I” narrator. An “I” narrator is a character in the story.
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