How Do Writers Introduce You to Their Characters?Feature Menu Characterization Creating Characters Direct Characterization Indirect Characterization Motivation Your Turn
CharacterizationHave you evergotten to know acharacter so wellthat you were alittle sad whenthe story wasover?
CharacterizationHow is it that awriter can create acharacter on a pageand make readersfeel as if they havemet a real person? He rushed down the courthouse stairs, glancing anxiously at his watch and worrying about his missed appointment with the new client.
CharacterizationThe way a writer reveals character is calledcharacterization.Poor characterization can make acharacter uninteresting,because that character maylack focus and clarity.
CharacterizationGood characterization creates a clear picture in thereader’s mind. Dressed in a colorful blue and yellow costume, the matador prepared his satin cape for the charging bull.
CharacterizationGood characterization can make readers feel thateven fantasy characters live and breathe. The majestic white unicorn looked unsure of her next step. She had escaped from her brutal master at the castle, but where should she go now?
CharacterizationQuick Check Which wordsTommy McSweeney really hated createbeing the tallest boy in the eighth characterizationgrade. Everyone assumed he was a to clarify yourgood basketball player, but he had no image of Tommy?athletic interest or skill.Instead, his talent emerged far froma court or ball field. No one beyondTommy’s family knew that the pale,muscular kid with curly hair andfreckles was a classical pianist—andTommy intended to keep it that way. [End of Section]
Characterization: Creating CharactersThe two types of characterization are directcharacterization and indirect characterization.If a writer tells you what acharacter is like, the methodis called directcharacterization.If a writer prefers to showcharacters in action, themethod is called indirect She scowled at us, Always a grump, she. . . .characterization. frowning a rude and frightening frown.
Characterization: Direct CharacterizationThe two types of characterization are directcharacterization and indirect characterization.If a writer tells you that acharacter is mean-temperedor friendly, that is directcharacterization.When a writer uses directcharacterization, youdon’t have to do anydetective work to figure outthe character.
Characterization: Direct CharacterizationRead the following passage. Which words directlyshow you Amaya’s qualities? When Amaya brought home a pet rabbit, her mother did not object. She knew Amaya was a caring, responsible girl who would take excellent care of the animal.Direct characterization gives you exact information.
Characterization: Direct CharacterizationQuick Check What words giveDr. Chang was the best dentist in the you directpractice. He had a charming smile, a information aboutgentle manner, and a warm Dr. Chang’spersonality. He made a trip to the character?dentist a pleasant experience—despite the discomfort. [End of Section]
Characterization: Indirect Characterization Writers generally prefer to use indirect characterization.When writers useindirectcharacterization,they show theircharacters in action,giving readers thechance to decide forthemselves what acharacter is like.
Characterization: Indirect CharacterizationA writer can show indirect characterization through appearance character relationships words actions thoughts and feelings
Characterization: Indirect CharacterizationWriters create a character’s appearance carefully.Through exact physical details, awriter can imply, or suggest, acharacter’s personality. • How is the character dressed? • What is the character’s posture? • What is the character’s facial expression?
Characterization: Indirect CharacterizationBy clinging to her mother, the child appears to beshy and unsure. By wearing his Scout uniform, this boy appears to be proud of the badges he has earned.
Characterization: Indirect CharacterizationRead the following text. What might this character’sappearance say about his personality?The man seated in the parked The man seated in the parkedlimousine had short hair, limousine had short hair,piercing eyes, and a serious piercing eyes, and a seriousgaze. He was dressed neatly in gaze. He was dressed neatly ina starched white shirt and a starched white shirt andstriped tie. striped tie.Based on the man’s appearance,you might conclude that he is aserious, focused businessman.
Characterization: Indirect CharacterizationRead the following passage, paying attention tothe character’s appearance. The girl in the fancy dress and high-heeled shoes squirmed uncomfortably on the hard wooden bench. Her eyes, lips, and hands were clenched. Her head drooped and her chin hung low. A tear slid down her face.How does this girl feel? What details suggest thisfeeling?She feels sad.
Characterization: Indirect CharacterizationActions reveal a great deal about people. Forexample, people’s actions can show whether they’re or helpful and encouraging mean and mockingIn stories, characters’ actions can also reveal theirpersonalities.
Characterization: Indirect CharacterizationCharacters’ actions reveal We 8th graders I love can’t lose to competition. the 7th• personality, graders.• motivation,• and situation. We have to win this round.
Characterization: Indirect CharacterizationRead the following passage, paying close attentionto the character’s actions.It was a cold October day when Karisti’s alarm buzzedat 6:00 a.m. She pulled on her clothes and headed forthe door. She carefully adjusted her headphones; thenshe pulled the sleeves of her turtleneck over her handsto keep out the cold. Here goes 10 miles, she thoughtas she headed out. I have to be be ready for the spring began her run. I have to ready for the springmarathon.What actions does Karisti take?
Characterization: Indirect CharacterizationWhat do Karisti’s actions imply about her character?It was a cold October day when Karisti’s alarm buzzedat 6:00 a.m. She pulled on her clothes and headed forthe door. She carefully adjusted her headphones; thenshe pulled the sleeves of her turtleneck over her handsto keep out the cold. Here goes 10 miles she thought as miles, she thoughtas she began run. I have to to ready for the springshe began herher run. I have be be ready for the springmarathon. Karisti is getting up early to run on a cold morning as she prepares for a marathon. She’s probably a dedicated athlete.
Characterization: Indirect CharacterizationA character’s words are important, because theexact words of a speaker reveal insight intopersonality. “My player did not step over the line!” shouted the coach. “I demand you review the tapes!” Secretly, though, he was sure the official had made the right call.
Characterization: Indirect Characterization What do the character’s words and tone reveal about his personality? “Harry, show your talents,” barked the impatient instructor. “Don’t hold back this time!” The instructor pushes his students to work to the best of their ability.
Characterization: Indirect CharacterizationCharacters’ thoughts and feelings also revealinformation about what they’re like. I thought I wouldn’t like summer camp, but it’s been a lot of fun.Read carefully to learn whatcharacters are like on theinside.
Characterization: Indirect CharacterizationRead the following passage, paying attention tothe character’s thoughts and feelings. Frank insisted that he wasn’t tired or hungry, but really he was both. The long plane trip, with two delays, had left his patience in shreds. However, he didn’t want Aunt Judy to go to any trouble.What kind of person do you think Frank is?How do you know?Frank seems caring and considerate of others.
Characterization: Indirect CharacterizationWriters also give readers a view of their charactersfrom another angle: through characters’relationships with each other.How one character reacts to another characteroften reveals qualities of both characters.As you read, note carefully • what characters say to each other and • how characters act toward each other.
Characterization: Indirect CharacterizationRead the following passage, paying attention tothe characters’ words and how they’re said.Michael hugged Annie before he got out of the car.“I’ll call you tomorrow,” he said.She laughed and replied, “You always say that, and smiled and replied, “You always say that, andyou never do!”He smiled. “Okay, I’ll e-mail, then.” laughed. “Okay, I’ll e-mail, then.”“You’d better!” Annie grinned, but her eyes weresad.What does the conversation suggest about eachcharacter’s personality?Michael is friendly but unreliable. Annie is unsureabout her feelings for Michael.
Characterization: Indirect CharacterizationQuick Check Which threeI’m tired of being ignored, Maura methods ofthought. When I walk into a room, indirectit’s like no one sees me. No more— characterizationI’m going to get noticed at the dance. appear in this passage?When the big night came, though,nothing went right. Maura’s dressdidn’t fit correctly, and her shawl hada hole in it. Worst of all, as shewalked into the gym, the heel brokeon her right shoe, sending hersprawling across the floor. [End of Section]
MotivationMotivation is the reason why people do the thingsthey do. In real life, we may never know whypeople act in certain ways. What could possibly have made your brother think he could dance?Why did your best friendsuddenly find a new bestfriend?
MotivationIn literature, you will find plenty of clues tocharacters’ motivations. Use the clues to find outwhat makes a character tick.Uncover a character’s motivations by payingattention to what the what the clues character + character = about says does motivationThen, think about the outcome of the character’sactions.
Motivation Quick Check“Hey Sheila,” said Jesuka. “I haven’t Which wordsseen you at the mall all week. Where reveal Sheila’shave you been?” motivation for working afterSheila shrugged. “I’m babysitting for school?Mrs. Davies.”“Babysitting? Why are wasting yourtime with some crying kid? Youshould be with your friends.”“My parents said that if I want totake ballet lessons, I have to pay forthem myself.” [End of Section]
Analyze a CharacterYour TurnChoose a character from a story you have readrecently, and fill in a chart like the one below. Character profile of:Method of Characterization Details in StoryIndirect Characterization Appearance Actions Words Thoughts Relationships with Others Direct Characterization What the writer says