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Characterisation Essay

Main character: The character that plays the biggest role in the plot of the story. Major character: Characters that play a big role in the story. Minor character: Characters that play a minor role in the story.

Round characters: Round characters are like real people. They have complex, multi-dimensional personalities. They are capable of growing and changing. They are often, but not always, major characters.

Flat characters: They have one-dimensional personalities. They represent or portray one particular characteristic. They are a type, e.g. the jealous lover, the fool or the grumpy, old man. They are often, but not always, minor characters.

Dynamic characters: They change as a result of their experiences.

Static characters: They do not learn from their experiences, and, thus, remain unchanged.

How does the author convey character? 1. Telling: The narrator tells how the character is, feels, thinks, etc. 2. Showing: The character reveals his or her personality through what the character says and does. 3. Setting: The author might use the setting (time and place) to say something about the character, e.g. about the character’s emotions or feelings. 4. Comparison to other characters: It might be useful to analyse how the character relate to the other characters in the story, e.g. if there are characters that are in opposition to, or different from, the character in question. 5. Appearance: The character’s clothes, looks and general appearance can often tell us something about the character’s personality.

Questions to ask when analysing characters: 1. Is the character a main, major or minor character? 2. Is it a round or a flat character? 3. Is it a dynamic or a static character? 4. Does the author reveal the character through showing or telling, or both? 5. What does the way the character speaks reveal about his character? 6. What does his behaviour reveal about his character? 7. Is she similar or different from other characters in the story? How does she relate to the other characters? 8. Has the setting shaped the character’s personality? 9. Does the setting reflect the character’s mood or emotional state?


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