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Presentation on Characterization for ENG 2000

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  1. 1. Characterization How authors make characters seem real
  2. 2. How do you form impressions of what a person is like? <ul><li>From the way they treat others and from all the things they do and say </li></ul><ul><li>From what other people say about them </li></ul><ul><li>From how others treat them </li></ul><ul><li>From the people and places with whom they associate. </li></ul><ul><li>From the way they dress, look, talk, and their possessions </li></ul><ul><li>From what they call themselves (email addresses, nicknames) </li></ul>
  3. 3. An author characterizes the people in stories in the same ways <ul><li>By what they say and do </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Jake lies to Marina, after trying to date her; he evades responsibility for the car accident, he gets into the accident through day dreaming. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Father shows off, treats waiters arrogantly, hugs Charlie awkwardly and has secretary be the one to reply to Charlie’s message </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Omniscience <ul><li>By what they think </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Young wife thinks about being a newly wed and admires her husband—we see her as romantic,impulsive and emotional. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How Jake views the steadily employed; Jake’s daydreams about a new car and new lifestyle; Jake’s thoughts of his freedom when he sees Mariana check his plates </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Editorial Omniscience <ul><li>By what the author tells us about the characters </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The author tells us that Jake “sounded genuine” and speaks in “his most sincere voice” calling our attention to his insincerity. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. How others treat them <ul><li>The young couple’s reaction to Miss Brill gives a different perspective from her own thoughts. </li></ul><ul><li>Rhona’s treatment of Mim characterizes her as young, inexperienced, but successful so far at work, eager to please and potentially easy to manipulate. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Setting contributes to characterization <ul><li>Jake characterized by being under Hollywood freeway, stuck in near motionless traffic. </li></ul><ul><li>Wife is characterized by her bedroom with new silk curtains and fanciful light fixtures. </li></ul>
  8. 8. People they associate with <ul><li>Miss Brill has no close friends. She hangs around in the park and imagines details of the lives of others. </li></ul><ul><li>Jake misjudges Mariana but views her as the kind of naïve, easily impressed girl he charms with “that way of his.” That he pursues this kind of woman says something about his character. </li></ul>
  9. 9. What they wear;possessions <ul><li>Miss Brill wears a fur that is old and out of style but which she thinks is glamorous. </li></ul><ul><li>Jake wears “less than new but not unhip clothes” </li></ul><ul><li>Apricot pink curtains she expects to see—wife is still like a little girl. </li></ul><ul><li>Jake is like his car, known for being able to start and move--not for beauty </li></ul>
  10. 10. Names <ul><li>“ The young wife” maybe fears being reduced to that. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Miss Brill” never married and we don’t learn her first name because she has no close friends to call her by it. It sounds a bit like “brilliant” or “brittle” </li></ul><ul><li>Maybe “Jake” with no last name underscores his desire to avoid responsibility, or his show biz daydreams </li></ul>
  11. 11. Some terms used in discussing characters in literary works
  12. 12. A round character <ul><li>A round character is fully developed </li></ul><ul><li>Round characters exhibit complex psychological traits, like real human beings </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rhona, Mim, Miss Brill </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Round and flat are not absolute terms but ends of a scale </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Jake is rounder than Mariana but she is not entirely flat. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. a flat character <ul><li>A flat character is less fully developed and may be known by only one or two traits </li></ul><ul><li>The couple in the park, the husband in “the Hand,” and the off-stage Jim are all fairly flat characters. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Static versus dynamic <ul><li>Static characters do not change during the story </li></ul><ul><li>Dynamic characters develop psychologically, come to a new insight, or are somehow changed by the action </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Jake is static, the young wife is dynamic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Miss Brill is dynamic, Rhona is static </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. protagonist <ul><li>The protagonist is the central character </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Usually the one from whose perspective the story is told </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Usually the one the reader comes to empathize with </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Often a dynamic character </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not necessarily heroic or good. </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. The protagonists in the stories <ul><li>“ The Hand”—the young wife </li></ul><ul><li>“ Love in L.A.”—Jake </li></ul><ul><li>“ Miss Brill” Miss Brill </li></ul><ul><li>“ Reprimand”—Debatable it could be Rhona or Mim. </li></ul>
  17. 17. The antagonist <ul><li>The antagonists is whatever opposes the protagonist </li></ul><ul><li>Many stories have more than one antagonist </li></ul><ul><li>An antagonist does not have to be a person </li></ul>
  18. 18. Antagonists in “The Hand” <ul><li>Simple answer: the hand </li></ul><ul><li>= the dark side of her husband </li></ul><ul><li>= the institution of marriage viewed as patriarchal and repressive </li></ul><ul><li>= the wife’s own fears and doubts about what she has done </li></ul>
  19. 19. Antagonists in “Love in LA” <ul><li>Simple answer: Mariana </li></ul><ul><li>=whatever challenges his freedom and forces him to recognize the discrepancy between his vision of himself and reality </li></ul><ul><li>The traffic, the working world, more expensive modern cars, as well as Mariana </li></ul>
  20. 20. Antagonists in “Reprimand” <ul><li>If Mim is the protagonist Rhona is the antagonist although she pretends to be acting as a selfless friend and mentor and tries to get Mim to accept that Jim is the antagonist along with sexism in the workplace. </li></ul><ul><li>If Rhona is the protagonist then Mim is the antagonist (rival for power and attention) whom she vanquishes by making her feel insecure and convincing her that Jim is her antagonist. Jim is another antagonist for favoring Mim over Rhona . </li></ul>