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The Broken Globe by Henry Kreisel

Characterization is the process by which authors make characters come alive for readers. Authors have many techniques available to portray characters, and they can broadly be divided into indirect and direct presentation. In the short story “The Broken Globe”, author Henry Kreisel brillantly develops the two principle characters, Nick Solchuk and his father, through indirect presentation. Consistency is the key to good characterization. From ? rst person point of view, the reader obtains a full portrait of both Nick and his father indirectly by learning what the narrator sees and hears somewhat objectively.

Nick, the narrator’s friend, is a successful geophysicist studying the curvature of the earth. He demonstrates persistance, passion, and determination in the study of the earth. He asks the narrator “eagerly” with “his face reddening” about his paper to the International Congress. Even under the torture of his father, he still keeps his goal of proving that the earth moves. He even retorts his father by saying “You can beat me and break my globe, but you cannot stop [the earth] from moving.

” This passage shows his determination in his belief.

On the other hand, Nick’s father adopts personas of sophistication during the short visit of the narrator. His father is stubborn that he only believes what he sees is the truth: “[the earth] is ? at, and she stands still. ” He is also imptuous and fractious that he “[beats] Nick like he is the devil” when he wants Nick to accept the same concept of the earth as he believes.

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Both characters are consistent and static, for they are still living in their own world: one lives in a ? at world and the other lives in the world of science. Another signi? cant objective of characterization is to reveal motivation.

Kreisel’s story is set mainly in Alberta, a “land ? attens until there seemed nothing. ” Living in Alberta, Nick’s father sees only the open prairies and ? elds every day; thus he perceives that the earth is exactly ? at and still as what he sees. Moreover, the reader learns that he is hard to change his mind because “he received an education of sorts when he was a boy. ” Therefore, he believes that the earth is the center of the universe and the center is still. Similarly, Nick’s motivation is intrigued by a teacher who teaches him the earth is round and is moving.

This teacher’s “enthusiasm [is] infectious” as Nick says. The teacher shows Nick a world larger than the ?at prairies, a world that is exuberent. Although the two characters’ own views of the world contradict one another, they do care and love each other. To build characters that convincing, the author must make their actions realistic and believable. Nick and his father are plausible due to their backgrounds. Nick’s father is taught that “the earth is ? at and still,” and what he sees outside in Alberta is only the far-distant prairies with “neither hill nor tree nor bush.

” Furthermore, Nick, suffering from the violence of his father, always illustrates indomitable perserverence in seeking the truth. He continually shows to his father a globe can move, even though he knows his father will be mad. People with bond ? de determination can achieve their goals, just like Nick achieves his goal and becomes a geophysicist (to prove his father wrong? ). Altogether, they both are rounded characters in that they demonstrate many attributes and traits. Nick’s father is a stubborn, impulsive, and fractious father whereas Nick is a passionate, indomitable, and persistent geophysicist.

In the story “The Broke Globe” Henry Kreisel effectively utilizes many techniques to develop characters, and further reveals a thoughtful insight into life. Nick’s father who insistently believes that the world is ? at and still lives in his own “broken globe”, where “Satan has taken over all the world” but him. 1. Sample Task for English 12 Writing Prepared by Seaquam Page 15 Characterization: A Father and a Son, How the Apple Falls Characters can make a short story rich and worth reading. In Henry Kreisel’s “The Broke Globe” the differences in ethics between a man and his father is seen through the eyes of a somewhat neutral narrator.

Nick Solchuk is a brilliant man of science, while his father is the polar opposite. His father is a pious prairie farmer who does not value higher education or the values its teaches. Even though these characters are presented indirectly, Kreisel utilizes other methods to develop the characters. He shows them as static and round characters who are plausible and who remain consistent. Being ? rst person narrative, no direct presentation is used because the author cannot speak directly. He simply assumes the persona of a a narrator and therefore all presentation is indirect. One can ?

nd out a lot about a character by what others say about him. Nick’s father is developed in the beginning during the conversation between Nick and the narrator. At this point the reader discovers that Nick and his father differ in many ways. Obviously, Nick is a man of great intelligence as the narrator say, “he studied at Cambridge and got his doctorate there and was now doing research at the Imperial College. ” The reader also learns that despite being a brilliant man, nick whistfully remembers his simple childhood growing up in Three Bear Hills, Alberta. Nick’s father is developed much the same way later on in the conversation.

Nick reveals that his father is a polar opposite. Nick’s father is shown as a religious prairie farmer with “a strange imagination. ” Nick also explains why there is tension between himself and his father. “Curious man my father. He had strange ideas and a strange imagination too. He couldn’t understand why I was going to school or university. ” “I suddenly realized that the shape of the world he lived in had O been O ? xed for him by some medieval priest in the small Ukranian villiage he was born in O But he still lived in the universe of the medieval church.

: The reader now knows that Nick and his father are very different. Dialogue becomes a very important part of this story. The reader learns a lot about the father by what he says and by what he says he does. The ? rst meeting between the father and the narrator shows a lot about the father. “You friend of NickOWhat he do now? O still tampering with the earth? ” Now, it has been con? rmed that Nick’s ideas differ greatly from his father’s. Nick’s father may be a simple prairie farmer, but that does not mean that he is rude. The father acts very formally when inviting the narrator inside his house.

He stands as the narrator comes in, which is a sign of respect; he even brings out coffee for the narrator. The reader continues to learn about the relationship Nick’s father has with his son, and certain other people. The father explains how he exploded at a teacher for “letting Satan in” and for teaching Nick science at school. This act shows how the father deals with other people. The father goes on to elaborate on how he dealt with Nick as a child. “I grab him by the arm and I shake him and I beat him like he was the devilOAnd he made me madder and madder because he doesn’t cry or shout or nothing.

” “I would of killed him right there for sure. ” The reader now knows how he handles his son. Nick and his father are both static, round characters. They do not change at the end of the story, but they have many traits. Nick’s father proves he does not change by saying to the narrator “Satan has taken over all the world. ” Then he suddenly rousled himself and hits the table with his ? st crying passionately, “But not me! Not me! ” The characters act consistently throughout the story. “The Broken Globe” is a deeply driven character story. Both main characters are well developed. In some cases, the apple falls very far from the tree.

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The Broken Globe by Henry Kreisel. (2018, Oct 20). Retrieved from

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