Characterization

Characterization is concerned with how an artist/author develops characters.

All stories have two types of characters: Primary and Secondary.

To help you answer questions related to CHARACTERIZATION, use this document – Characterization Descriptive Words.

Primary Characters are referred to as round, deep, dynamic, and main. Primary characters are the main characters. They grow and change as the story progresses. Round characters are fully developed. You learn a lot about them, and they may change in the course of the story — they are dynamic. Dynamic means changing or unpredictable. Main characters are usually both round and dynamic. What character(s) are main in what you are reading?

Secondary Characters are referred to as flat, shallow, static, and minor. Over the entire course of a story, you may find out or know only one thing about a flat character, and they do not change or develop in any important way during the story — they are static. Static means unchanging or predictable. Which character(s) are the minor(s) in what you are reading?

CHARACTERIZATION CORE Questions: Who is/are the main character(s)?

  1. What are the physical descriptions of each of the main characters? Use quotes/details from the text to support your answer.
  2. What motivates the main characters to behave as they do? Short Paragraph.
  3. Describe the internal traits that make-up the main character(s).
    1. What is true of this character’s mental, emotional and spiritual make up that the character does not show others? Use details from the text to support your answer.
  4. Describe the external traits that make-up the main character(s).
    1. What is true of this character’s mental, emotional and spiritual make up that the character does show others? Use details from the text to support your answer.
  5. Create a Characterization Chart for each of the main characters. Some stories have more than one main character. In the case of Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick, for instance, this would mean one chart for Max and one chart for Kevin. Remember, you must use direct quotations whenever possible to fill the Characterization Chart.

DEEPER QUESTIONS on Characterization. Here is an important question to answer: Can you accept the characters as real people? Are they true to life? If you can accept any characters as real, then the world created by the author/artist is most likely believable. THe following questions will help you find out how real things seem as you look into ways you connect with the characters and their situations.

  1. Did you find yourself totally immersed in the world of the characters, or were you unable to fully envision their lives and circumstances? Use direct quotations from the source whenever possible to support your answer.
  2. Which characters did you find the most compelling and/or relatable and why? Use direct quotations from the source whenever possible to support your answer.
  3. Are there any characters that seem to embody a kind of timelessness? Use direct quotations from the source whenever possible to support your answer.
  4. Was there something about any character’s manner or views that felt familiar? Who and why? Use direct quotations from the source whenever possible to support your answer.

Main characters develop or grow as a result of the incidents in the story. Can you talk about specific aspects of the character that changed from the beginning of the story to the end?

  1. Describe two events or episodes that the character grew from.
  2. Did you become involved in the emotions of the characters? Give example(s).
  3. Does the reader come to know the characters as individuals with unique strengths and weaknesses? Give examples of both.
  4. Would you have acted in the same manner as the main character in any given event or episode? Describe an event and what you would have done.

When you know everything you need to know about characters, you can write a short expository essay to compare & contrast static and dynamic characters from the story. In that essay, you have to expalin what means for a character to be static or dynamic. You have to go into detail describing which character(s) are static using direct quotations and/or specific references to the source material to support your answer. You have to then go into more detail describing which character(s) are dynamic using direct quotations and/or specific references to the source material to support your answer.

For this page, I relied heavily on a page on the Hamburg School District Website.

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