Character - A person or animal in a story • Parts of a Story
Characters: • Protagonist – the main character • Antagonist – the main character who makes problems for the protagonist • Major character – a person important to the story • Secondary character – a person who is only sometimes involved with the story
Aspects of a Character to Analyze • Physical appearance • Personality • Background/personal history • Motivation • Relationships • Conflict • Does the character change?
There are two ways for a writer to characterize (show what the character is like) • Direct Characterization – author writes what the character is like • “Menolly worked hard and was very clever with her fingers.” -Dragonsong • Indirect Characterization – author writes what the character does and says, and he writes how other characters react • “The old man bowed to all of us in the room. Then he removed his hat and gloves, slowly and carefully.” –Gentleman of Rio en Medio”
Indirect characterization of Lennie, from Of Mice and Men Speech - “ ‘I didn’t wanta,’ Lennie cried, ‘I didn’t wanta hurt him’.” Thoughts – “Lennie… was too frightened to defend himself.” Effect on others – “The little man… scowled over at Lennie. “So you forgot that awready did you? I gotta tell you again, do I?” Actions – “Lennie was looking helplessly at George for instruction.” Looks – “Behind [George] walked… a huge man… with wide, sloping shoulders… and he walked heavily, dragging his feet a little.”
Characterization from The Thin Executioner • “She was the same height as him, slim and curvy, with long legs, even longer hair, dazzling brown eyes, each so white they might have been carved from shards of the moon. Her skin was a delicious dark brown color. She always wore a long dress, usually with a slit down the left to show off her legs. Her blouses were normally cropped and close-fitting, revealing much of her smooth stomach.”
Direct Characterization Advantages Disadvantages Gives the reader a clear picture as they read Easy way to present information Interrupts the story Long descriptions can bore the reader
Indirect Characterization Advantages Disadvantages Flows with the story Creates a rich, believable story May give too little information May allow the reader to overlook pertinent information
Setting - Time and place where a story occurs Setting can include: 1. Time: date (January 27, 1984), time in history (World War 1), time of day (morning, 3:30 pm) 2. Place: country, city, room or area 3. Surroundings: weather, feelings, mood of the place or people • Parts of a Story
Possible Setting Details: • Furniture • Buildings • Scenery • Transportation • Clothing • Language
How Setting Helps a Story: “It was a dark and stormy night” - Paul Clifford “When the sun rose they were driving on across the prairie. There was no road now… Before noon, Pa said, ‘Whoa!’ The wagon stopped.” -Little House on the Prairie “The classroom had gone deathly silent. Everyone was staring at Matt and the two strangers. It was like a moment on TV, but there were no cameras. The men in their dark suits exuded an authority that made rumpled, familiar Mr. Weinberg in his corduroy jacket and slacks look ineffectual.” –Big Mouth and Ugly Girl • It creates a mood • It shows a different way of life • It makes the story seem more real • It shows the reason for problems
Molly crept out the door onto the front porch. Early morning. A fresh new day. Their old farmhouse sat comfortably on an acre of grass and gardens, surrounded by trees. Distant traffic sounds filtered through trees: muted background music. Molly sat on the steps and took a deep contented breath. Dawn's ragged swirls of mist lingered among the maple and fir trees. Two robins pecked in the grass looking for worms. Mom's bed of daffodils glowed yellow in the morning light. Molly hugged herself, while a nippy breeze poked through her thin cotton nightie. And then she saw them. They stepped out of the mist-laden gloom between the trees, one dainty step after the other, across the grass in front of her. There were three of them: a deer and her two young fawns. Molly held her breath. Awesome!