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Topics in Literature English - Essay Example

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Characterization is the process during fictional writing of creating believable characters. It is not unusual for characters that an author creates to have very different beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviroral responses to the author. Hence, characters take alternative points of view about the world, and each has a different background, just as an individual in the real world…
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Topics in Literature English
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Download file to see previous pages Characterization can be a simple or a complex process. Basically, characterization is what characters "say" and "do" (The National Library Literacy Strategy, 2001, p. 2). Each character is seen as being made up of a number of dimensions: sense of identity, age, gender, religious persuasion, temperament, physical appearance, values, expectations, dreams, disappointments, inadequacies and loss, to name a few. The Shreklisch Onion Layer Model of characterization stresses that the psychological profile of the fictional character must incorporate emotions, back-story, beliefs, practices and intentions (Wikipedia, 2006). It is by way of the language and actions of the character within the text that the reader is able to understand what are happening and why, without having to be told directly (i.e. indirect characterization). Although, with fiction that presents a completely new dimension of existence it may be necessary to spell out character specifics to the reader, due to the ambiguity inherent in novel texts (i.e., direct characterization).
In most novels, plays, and essays, characterization develops along with the storyline and functions to support the fictional themes. Characters take time to create for an author, as they are getting to know another person, and aspects of who they are and how they interpret their world and respond to it in a way that is contingent on their values, requires the author to reflect on their own ways of thinking and behaving. A story may be completed driven by its characters; they are the key to unlocking the story. In such cases, the plot tends to come first, like a seed crystal of an idea that radiates out patterns of complexity and beauty in storylines as it creates the possibilities for characters to arise from the situations or settings (The National Library Literacy Strategy, 2001).
The physical description of a character provides the reader with a general framework about the 'person': age, gender, ethnicity, physical appearance, style of dress, geo-historical location, and the way the character moves. The reactions and responses of the character give the reader insight into the character's core values and attitudes (English Online, 1998). The dialogue of each character can provide the reader with deeper psychological insight of the character. The language that a character uses, their use of intonation, as well as use of pauses and silences, can instil in the reader the true feelings of what that character is experiencing.
The surroundings enrich the background for the reader, making the characters more believable and understandable. This detail needs to incorporate all of the character's senses and perceptions of the setting. It is the author's ability to sew together the dialogue, reactions and descriptions that enables characterization to occur (The National Library Literacy Strategy, 2001). It is important that the author be aware that characters need to develop due to their fictional experiences, in order to come to life and 'be real". However, it is also essential that each character have a consistency of character as well, and it is this balance that leads the author through the characterization process.
Ultimately, characterization requires the author develop characters by giving them; identity (e.g., have a name, appearance, values, temperament); creating ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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