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Professor Name Day Month Year The Role of the Character in a Story Introduction Characters can make or break the effectiveness of a story. If an author overdevelops the protagonist, then the reader can quickly become lost, confused, and lose interest…
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Download file to see previous pages Characters allow us to transport ourselves into the life of another person, if only for a time, to experience things we never before felt possible. Two examples of this truth are William Faulkner’s ‘A Rose for Emily’ and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ‘Young Goodman Brown’. Characters are critical to the effectiveness of these stories because they work to develop the plot, provide conflict, and create a protagonist or antagonist that the reader can empathize with. The Plot Faulkner revolutionized story telling with his unique way of organizing a book. ‘A Rose for Emily’ certainly demonstrates this by the way Faulkner divides the book into five distinct sections. In so doing, he is able to develop the main character (Emily) in a systematic manner. We begin by seeing Emily in the twilight of her life, after she died, and how nearly the entire town came to her funeral. By beginning at the ending point of the main character’s life, Faulkner builds his plot around the entire life of the character. He continues this strategy by moving a second section of the story. Here, the author describes events in Emily’s life from 30 years previous to her death. We gain perspective into the tenacity of the character and her willingness to fight any inquiries into her life made by the townspeople. Faulkner is further developing the plot by enabling us to the private side of Emily and how this contributes to her overall persona. The plot thickens in sections 3 and 4 as Faulkner describes various events in his characters life. The picture is of a town that is deeply concerned about Emily and foreshadows her eventual death. The plot climaxes in the final section of story by continuing where the first section left off. Had Faulkner not included the middle three sections of the story, the reader would be left at a loss as to why Emily would have such a lasting legacy on the town. The final section describes the events after Emily’s death and builds on the plot until the end. This type of storytelling is ingenious because the plot is truly built around the main character. The reader can follow along as various events are told and events foreshadowed. Nathaniel Hawthorne developed his stories much differently than Faulkner, yet the characters in his stories remain central to the development of the plot as well. As Leibowtiz noted in one of his essays on Hawthorne, “Hawthorne utilized characters and ideas for his own artistic purposes” (120). One such example of this is the story ‘Young Goodman Brown’. As in most of Hawthorne’s books, this story has a religious underpinning to it. To get to the message, however, the reader is taken on a journey with Goodman Brown. Once again, Hawthorne is like Faulkner in that the story is developed around one main character. This gives Hawthorne a unique ability to really develop everything about a character. Here, the entire story revolves around Goodman Brown. From the very beginning of the story, when Goodman Brown says goodbye to his wife and that he’ll be back in a day, the plot develops quickly as the main character sets off on a series of unexpected adventures. Through various meetings and recollections from Goodman Brown himself, the reader begins to understand the shame and heartache he feels towards many of his relationships and acquaintances in life. It is through these musings that the entire plot is based. The story is quite simple really: Is Goodman Brown going to return home to Faith or not? ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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