Characterization

Characterization is the method by which authors let readers know about the qualities of particular characters. When an author uses direct characterization, he simply and straightfowardly tells readers what the character is like.

He was a burly man of an exceedingly dark complexion, with an exceedingly large head and a corresponding large hand. […] He was prematurely bald on the top of his head, and had bushy black eyebrows that wouldn’t lie down but stood up bristling. His eyes were set very deep in his head, and were disagreeably sharp and suspicious. He had a large watchchain, and strong black dots where his beard and whiskers would have been if he had let them. (Great Expectations, chapter 11)

Indirect characterization uses means such as character’s thoughts, opinions, and comments about each other (and themselves) to inform readers of a character’s traits.

There are four main methods of indirect characterization:

  1. Character’s appearance
  2. Character’s words
  3. Character’s actions
  4. What others think/say about the character
Comment Policy

We welcome comments from readers, but like most websites, we have some guidelines for commenting. Above all, avoid comments that are filled with profanity and aim simply to insult. When we receive such comments, we publish them after redacting the profanity, and then we reply, usually with a critique of your use of language and sometimes with some grammar tips. In addition, we might share your email address publicly in the event that you leave a comment that does not conform to our comment policy (see above). We do this as a service: if you are leaving such comments, you likely need help with your writing (how to express anger without using profanity) and/or your social skills (knowing when a comment needs to be shared and when it needs to stay inside your own thoughts). We will sometimes publish your email in the response to your comment so that other readers can email you to offer their help as well. Some visitors might find that this makes them look foolish. Readers who wish to avoid looking foolish, therefore, should not submit such comments.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *