Static Characters

Static Characters - Brian Duncan Lit2020 4/24/07 Static...

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Brian Duncan 4/24/07 Lit2020 Static Characters and Their Importance to Fiction Dynamic characters are fundamental to any good work of fiction. The plot revolves around their development and the climax generally involves the peak of their journey. Along their way through the plot, they run into many different obstacles that block their path towards their goal, as well as often receive much help to get past these. Many times, these barriers and catalysts in a dynamic characters journey are called static characters, characters that are in place just to carry out their specific purpose in the story. Static characters have unchanging personalities, which allows us to view them as we would any other prop in a story, such as a wall or a vehicle, and in a way, a wall or a vehicle can be seen as a static character. Static characters play a large role in development of a dynamic character because they do not undergo a significant change during the story and therefore create or appease conflict, certain static characters may possibly influence the dynamic characters more than others, and they may function as a symbol or be representative of something large than themselves. By definition, static characters do not undertake any significant changes during the plot of the story. What is meant by “significant changes” is that these characters do not have an epiphany of any sort, they will generally stick to their beliefs throughout the story and force the dynamic character to work around them. In Herman Melville’s story, “Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street,” the character “Bartleby” does not change at all throughout the entire story, which ultimately ends in his death. Because of
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his unchanging character, the main character, who is also the narrator, is forced to change the way he feels and acts multiple times. Faced with an unresponsive and uncooperative employee working in his law office as a scrivener, the narrator is pressed multiple times throughout the story to make the decision about whether or not to fire Bartleby. Regardless of how often Bartleby does not follow his directions, the narrator is unable to fire him for some unknown reason, even to himself. He finds himself making a one-way connection to Bartleby, trying to help him because he cannot understand him. By the end of the story, the narrator’s visits to the prison where Bartleby is now held clearly demonstrate the degree to which he has changed. Had Bartleby acted in an anymore reasonable way, he surely would have been fired. A second story where the static characters create conflict is John Cheever’s, “The Swimmer.” The story focuses in on a man, Ned, swimming home across the county. He says he is sure to find “friends” along his path of swimming pools home. In conjunction with the alcohol he drinks to help him get through the journey, the “friends” he meets are
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Static Characters - Brian Duncan Lit2020 4/24/07 Static...

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