The Wonder Years Character analysis
The Wonder Years Setting Southern California suburb Late 1960s to mid 1970s Very turbulent time in America; changing values, generational clashes, war protests, Civil Rights era, pop culture
The Wonder Years Characters The Arnold family Kevin: protagonist; youngest son; most stories involve him; grows from age 10 to 18 throughout series. Jack: father; ex-Marine; works at production plant as a middle manager; conservative Norma” stay-at-home mom; supportive; the peacekeeper
The Wonder Years Wayne: middle son; mischievous; not very bright Karen: oldest child; only daughter; a rebellious “child of the 1960s” whose values clash with Jack’s old-fashioned ways Winnie Cooper: Kevin’s childhood sweetheart; mature; responsible Paul Pfeiffer: Kevin’s best friend; nerdish; smart; loyal
The Wonder Years Themes/motifs Coming-of-age Family relationships Changing social times Young love Parent/child dynamics Adolescent struggles
The Wonder Years Structure Kevin narrates the series as an adult looking back on his childhood. This flashback technique allows him to look at the key moments of his childhood through an adult lens.
The Wonder Years Our purpose Through eight episodes, examine the relationship between Kevin and Jack (his dad); and Jack and Karen (the daughter) From this, we’ll craft a character analysis of Jack Arnold
Literary elements: Flashback • A flashback is an account of a conversation, episode, or event that happened before the beginning of a story. • It often interrupts the chronological flow of a story to give information that can help readers understand a character’s present situation. • Kevin, as an adult, tells us about his childhood through flashback throughout the series.
Literary element: Characterization • Characters: The people (or animals) who take part in the action of a story. • Characterization: The ways a writer develops the characters; means of demonstrating who the character is.
Literary element: characterization • In order to have a full understanding of the characters in a story, we may need a variety of information: • Physical descriptions • Past history or experiences • Interactions with other people • Personality traits
Literary element: characterization • This information can be provided in two ways: 1. Directly: The author tells what the character is like, usually through description and simple statements.
Literary element: characterization • 2. Indirectly: The author shows what the character is like; implies facts about the character through showing the character in his or her surroundings, allowing the character to demonstrate his or her characteristics. • In the indirect method, some devices include: • Other characters’ comments and reactions to the main character • The main character’s actions • Dialogue with other characters • Interaction with other characters • The main character’s reaction to events and surroundings • Often, a combination of direct and indirect methods is used.
Literary element: characterization Characters that change Generally, one or more of a story’s characters change as a result of the events of the story. • A character who grows emotionally, learns a lesson, or alters his or her behavior is called a dynamic character. This fully developed character is a “round” character: Jerry from “Through The Tunnel.” • A character who is simple, who remains unchanged throughout a story, is known as a static character, or “flat” character: Lennie from Of Mice and Men.