Novel Characters from Literature

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Characterization Definition

He had been dining with royal personages, and wore his garter and ribbon. A short man was his lordship, broad-chested, and bow-legged, but proud of the fineness of his foot and ankle, and always caressing his garter-knee.

And I use the word character much the same way the fiction writer does. The art of characterization comes down to establishing a pattern of habits and actions for the person you are writing about and introducing variations into the system.

Different Types of Characters in Literature

The point is to begin to take inventory of yourself so that you can present that self to the reader as a specific, legible character. I would further maintain that this process of turning oneself into a character is not self-absorbed navel-gazing. But rather a potential release from narcissism.

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It means you have achieved sufficient distance to begin to see yourself in the round: a necessary precondition to transcending the ego—or at least writing personal essays that can touch other people. He or she looks especially for anything unusual or distinct about the person or persons involved but does not ignore what is ordinary and typical. The writer then reports, in as interesting a way as possible, these poses, posturings, habitual gestures, mannerisms, appearances, glances.

Not that the writer limits observations to these, but these frequently appear in creative nonfiction writing. Continue Reading.


ThoughtCo uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. By using ThoughtCo, you accept our. Physical description is supplemented with his shortcomings being bad at sport and his mannerisms and way of pacing. It reached out of his head and enfolded him in its swampy arms…sent its stealthy, suckered tentacles inching along the insides of his skull, hoovering the knolls and dells of his memory, dislodging old sentences, whisking them off the tip of his tongue. The Victorian author Charles Dickens is a master of characterization.

When Dickens introduces a character, he typically gives the reader multiple details. Dickens includes physical appearance alongside tics and shortcomings, to make a character stay with us.

The best novels in English: readers' alternative list

A big, loud man, with a stare, and a metallic laugh. A man made out of coarse material, which seemed to have been stretched to make so much of him… A man who was always proclaiming, through that brassy speaking-trumpet of a voice of his, his old ignorance and his old poverty. A man who was the Bully of humility.

Nobel laureate Toni Morrison does exactly this on the opening page of her novel, Jazz :. She used to live with a flock of birds on Lenox Avenue. Know her husband, too. He fell for an eighteen-year-old girl with one of those deepdown, spooky loves that made him so sad and happy he shot her just to keep the feeling going. When the woman, her name is Violet, went to the funeral to see the girl and to cut her dead face they threw her to the floor and out of the church. A great advantage of dialogue is that you can juxtapose what characters say to each other with their hidden, unspoken feelings.

Category:Male characters in literature - Wikipedia

Salinger does this in a scene between college couple Lane and Franny in his novella, Franny and Zooey :. Many aspiring authors struggle to make each character distinct. Each major character should have their own voice, appearance, world view and set of motivations. One way to make characters distinctive is to compare them. George Eliot clearly differentiates the two sisters, the pious Dorothea and the more worldly, salt-of-the-earth character Celia in her classic novel Middlemarch :. Poor Dorothea!

Novel Characters from Literature
Novel Characters from Literature
Novel Characters from Literature
Novel Characters from Literature
Novel Characters from Literature
Novel Characters from Literature
Novel Characters from Literature
Novel Characters from Literature

Related Novel Characters from Literature

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