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Types of Characters in Literature

A description of the types of characters used in literary texts: protagonist, antagonist, round, flat, static, dynamic, and foils
by

Jill Spaulding

on 17 February 2014

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Transcript of Types of Characters in Literature

Types of Characters in Literature
Foils
Mini Quiz:
Static Characters
Antagonist

Round Characters
Dynamic Characters
Protagonist

Flat Characters
The main character who endeavors to do the right thing
Katniss - The Hunger Games
The person or object that causes conflict in the story
- Typically seen as the "bad guy"
Round characters are fully detailed and multi-dimensional. (Similar to how a
round
ball does not have a particular side.) These characters possess many traits, both good and bad, and we know a great deal about them.
Woody and Buzz are both round characters. We know their history, their emotions, and personality traits.
Tris, from Divergent, is also a round character. We know who her family is, how she feels in various situations, and her choices throughout the text.
Simba is a round character who we see grow up in the movie The Lion King
. The story provides us details about his childhood and growth throughout the movie.
Flat characters receive very few details. (Just like how a piece of paper is a flat surface, one-sided.) Often they are minor characters in the story and we do not know very much about them.
Slinky Dog is a flat character. We don't know much about him other than that he's friends with the other toys and likes to help Woody.
The Dursley Family (in the Harry Potter series) characters are flat to the reader. The author describes their treatment of Harry, but we know very little else about them.
Eeyore is another example of a flat character. He is always morose and lethargic. We know very little else about Eeyore.
Round, fully-detailed characters are usually also
dynamic
. Dynamic characters change or evolve over the course of the story.
Flat characters, who have very few details, are typically static as well. A
static
character does not change through the course of the story. They retain the same personality and characteristics from beginning to end.
Cruella DeVil is a perfect example of a static character. She maintains the same selfish, conniving characteristics throughout the story.
Haymitch Abernathy is another static character. While we do know plenty of details about him (which make him a round character), his actions never change in the story. He is predictable and consistently shows his detached-caring (and at time drunken) nature throughout the
Hunger Games
series.
Sometimes a character acts as a foil to another character.
Foil
characters show contrast between one character and another.
Christina acts a foil to Tris in
Divergent
. She's outspoken and confident, whereas Tris has always had to display introverted, quiet behaviors.
Mater is a foil to Lightning McQueen in the Cars movie. Mater demonstrates clumsy, hilly-billy type qualities that contrast Lightning's refined, city ways. Even their exteriors show significant differences!!!
Dory acts as a foil to Marlin in
Finding Nemo
. While Marlin exhibits cautious, reserved characteristics, Dory is flexible and free-spirited.
Use your notes to identify which type of character you see in the examples provided.
Round
or
flat
character?
Mufasa
from
The Lion King
Static
or
Dynamic
character?
Describe one of the foil relationships between Harry, Hermione, and Ron.
Full transcript