Unit4Aa - Unit Four: Characterization and Setting In this...

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Unit Four: Characterization and Setting • In this three week unit you will: – Study character and setting – Read short stories and a novel. – If you pace yourself it won’t be overwhelming.
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Unit Four, Lesson One: Character In this unit we will focus on character. People who like to examine relationships or “psychology” are often drawn to characters. Characters are also interesting because we can identify with them. Some characters are so vivid that people may know them, but not the texts from which they came.
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Memorable Characters • James Bond, Scout Finch, Harry Potter, Jo March, Hannibal Lecter, Scarlett O’Hara, Sherlock Holmes, Celie, Han Solo, and so on… • Sometimes when you finish a book you feel as if you know the character. The popularity of series speaks to the power of the desire to return to the familiar. • Have you ever acted out the role of a favorite character or seen others do so? Placing yourself in the shoes of a hero or a heroine can be cathartic, empowering, or just plain fun.
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Character and Characterization • In literature, character is a representation of a person (or personified being) in a text. It is “someone who acts, appears, or is referred to as playing a part in a work” (Beaty 103). • Characterization is the methods used to portray that being. The first lesson will be concerned primarily with characterization.
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Don’t be fooled • Remember the unreliable narrator? Don’t let your guard down when dealing with character. Montresor was both narrator and character and he was unreliable. • A character may consciously or unconsciously misrepresent him or herself to the reader. Their perception of the world may be inaccurate, misleading, or influenced by other factors that require the reader to question them. • Other characters may make judgments or mislead readers about the traits of another character. Look at their motives before making up your mind.
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Characterization • Characters are developed by revealing the character’s identifying traits: mental and ethical qualities. These include attitudes, disposition, response patterns, and values. • There are many ways to reveal character, including exposition : the author’s descriptions. Too much telling can lead to a static description. • Other ways character is revealed is through the use of stereotypes , through showing the character’s actions, the character’s thoughts and words, the words of other characters, and through the effects of the environment on the character.
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You may have been taught that stereotyping people is harmful. For a writer, stereotyping is a useful tool. It is a template. The frame of associations is there and the writer fills in the details. Stereotyping may reduce
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This note was uploaded on 04/03/2011 for the course ENG 227 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '10 term at Purdue University-West Lafayette.

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Unit4Aa - Unit Four: Characterization and Setting In this...

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