Thursday, November 13, 2014

Direct and Indirect Characterization

Way back in September and October when we were reading group novels, we talked about characterization.
Do you remember this?

Let's add a few vocabulary words to our understanding of authors write about their characters.

Direct Characterization
When an author directly tells the reader about a character. The author might state what the character wants, loves, fears, or dislikes. The author can also tell us what is important to the character, or what motivates them. An example:
Karen, my best friend, was one of the most enthusiastic people at PLHS. No matter what was going on she always had a positive way of looking at things. She spent her lunch talking to as many groups as she could, cracking jokes and telling stories. She was always interacting with lots of different people, no matter who they were or where they came from. She made it a point to talk to at least one new person every week. She wasn’t superficial or shallow; she really cared about all the people she knew and even people she didn’t know. She started a club on campus to raise money for wells in Uganda and she attended every dance and most of the weekend parties. Everyone liked her back too. Sometimes her social butterfly life got on my nerves. I wanted more time with her, but I knew I couldn’t hold her back. Connecting with people just made her happy.

Indirect Characterization
This is when a character is portrayed using other devices. This can include: dialogue, appearance, actions, relationships, and the situation that your character is in. If you have a character is nervous about a test, indirect character means that they are bouncing one of their legs, sweating, and chewing on the end of their pencil. Here is the same character from above, described indirectly:

       Karen came bounding up to me at lunch, a grin spread across her face as usual. 
       "Hey Janine! How's it going? Did you hear about what happened to Jake when he tried to leave campus today? He told me he got arrested! Apparently it's his friend's birthday and he was trying to get him a present, but he got caught. I'm just sorry I wasn't there. He promised me he'd give me more details, so I gotta run. He said I finally get to meet his sister, too! I've been so busy! Alright. Love you. See you soon. Good luck on your math test!" She hugged me and ran off before I could even say hello. If it were anyone else, I'd be annoyed, but she was my best friend. I watched her skip away, waving to people she passed and seeing everyone respond in kind, glad she took the time to come and say hello.

Authors use BOTH types of characterization.

Make sure you do, too!

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