Characterization Definition: The process, involving several methods, through which an author makes a character real and believable.
1. SPEECH (what the character says) –The words a character says aloud. –These may or may not agree with character’s inner thoughts and feelings, revealing more about him/her. –Readers recognize this method in dialogue (conversation between one or more characters) or monologue (speech presented when only that character is present). Methods of Characterization
2.THOUGHTS reveal motivation –The reader gets to see and hear the character’s thoughts and feelings in reaction to different situations. –In a first person narrative, this is revealed by the main character him/herself. –In a third person narrative, the narrator describes inner thoughts and feelings. –Generally the reader only gets this method of characterization for a major character. –Tells us why a character behaves a certain way or says a certain thing. Methods of Characterization
3. EFFECTS on other characters (their REACTIONS to the main character) –Other characters’ responses may reveal the character traits of a separate character. –This may be as clear as how other characters talk about this character, or as subtle as their facial expressions when that character walks into the room. Methods of Characterization
4. ACTIONS –What a character does. –Reveals the character’s willingness or unwillingness to participate in the events of the story. –Generally considered to be actions of the arms, legs, hands, feet, and head. Methods of Characterization
5. LOOKS or physical appearance –The character’s physical traits are described by the narrator, by other characters, or in the character’s own words. –Physical traits include: hair color/length, eye color, facial description, body type, clothing, etc.
Protagonist –Usually considered the hero(es) of the story. –They may not be perfect, but the reader naturally “cheers” for this character to overcome the story’s conflict(s). –Usually the “good guys.” Antagonist –These characters always oppose the protagonist. –Sometimes they are truly evil (as in a fantasy), but they might just be town rivals or bullies. –Usually the “bad guys” Types of Characters
Dynamic –A dynamic character changes somehow in the course of the story. –The change undergone is usually as a result of solving the story’s conflict. –Usually one of or the only main character in a story. Static –A static character does not undergo a readable change in the story. –Usually the minor characters, or possibly the story’s antagonist(s). Types of Characters