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Copy of Direct and Indirect Characterization

Introduction to direct and indirect characterization for high school freshmen

Bradley Roberts

on 3 September 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Direct and Indirect Characterization

Characters in literature are the same way.
Writers have other ways of defining characters.
We can get to know a character in a book even better than a person in real life because the writer can tell us so much more about him than we could ever know about a real person.

These are the ways a writer helps us get to know a character:
Physical description - the way the writer describes a character's physical appearance.

Example: "Count Olaf was very tall and very thin, dressed in a gray suit that had many dark stains on it. His face was unshaven, and rather than two eyebrows, like most human beings have, he had just one long one. His eyes were very, very shiny, which made him look both hungry and angry" (Snicket).
the method used by a writer to define a character
We love, despise, adore,
fear, respect, or admire
characters in literature
for the same reasons we
love, despise, adore, fear,
respect, or admire people
in real life.

Let's look at an example...
How do we feel about Martin Luther King Jr.?
Well...I admire and respect him.


I admire him because of the things he did, the things he said, and the things other people said about him.

Because of these things, I understand he had great strength.

He probably had weaknesses, too, but I don't know him well enough to know what they are.
We know this because of what other people have said about him.
Trait: Martin was a strong leader in the country.
Information we get from what other people say about that character
What a character says
What a character does
(cc) photo by theaucitron on Flickr
(cc) photo by theaucitron on Flickr
copy paste branches if you need more....
For example, Martin Luther King led peaceful protests in Birmingham Alabama. Trait: he was a leader.

He also said in his letter from Birmingham jail that blacks and whites needed to have equal rights. Trait: he was persuasive.
Evidence: In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other nonviolent means.
Actions and Reactions
Strengths and Weaknesses
We can tell a lot about a character based on the way he or she acts or reacts to certain situations.

When faced with a moral dilemma, how does the character respond?

When attacked, does the character fight back or withdraw, and what does that say about him?

When meeting new people, how does the character behave?
Just like all human beings - good characters in literature have both strengths and weaknesses.

Strengths and weaknesses give a character depth and make them more real to us.
Will power
Strong work ethic
Consideration for others
Fear of new situations
Fear of the unknown
What can we tell about the character Dory for the short video clip?
Back to the video of Dory. Is what we know about her direct or indirect characterization?

How do you know?

"My favorite person in the whole world is my Grandpa Sal. He never yells at me and always smiles," said the little girl.

Is this an example of direct or indirect characterization of Grandpa Sal?
Jordan got angry and curled his hands into fists. He gritted his teeth and stared at the other boy who took his ball.

Is this an example of direct or indirect characterization of Jordan?
Ready to try it on your own?
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