What are two ways to describe characters in a story?
Direct characterization is when a character's traits are explicitly stated by the narrator or another character in the story. Indirect characterization is when a character's traits are revealed through their words, actions, and thoughts. Both direct and indirect characterization help readers better understand the characters in a story.
Direct and Indirect Characterization
Direct Characterization: A form of characterization where the author explicitly states the traits of the character. Indirect Characterization: A form of characterization where the author shows the traits of the character through the character’s words, thoughts, feelings, and actions. Inference: Drawing conclusions based on the character’s words, thoughts, feelings, and actions to determine the traits of the character.
Which of the following best describes the difference between direct and indirect characterizations?
- Direct characterization tells you what the character is like, while indirect characterization shows you the character's personality through their actions and words.
- Direct characterization gives a physical description of the character, while indirect characterization is more internal.
- Direct characterization is when the author tells you what the character is like, while indirect characterization is when the reader infers the character's personality.
- Direct characterization is when the character is described by someone else, while indirect characterization is when the character is described by themselves.
Indirect characterizations are often done through dialogue, where a character’s speech reveals how they think and feel, or what their personality is like. Direct characterization is when the author tells the reader about a character’s traits, feelings, and emotions. Direct and indirect characterization are often used together to paint a complete picture of a character.
Did you know?
Identify an example of direct characterization in paragraph 1 in the story Barrignton Irving, Pilot and Educator. What clues in the text indicate that this is direct characterization?
Reread paragraph 6 in the article. What type of characterization does the author use in this paragraph? What does this tell you about Irving's character?
What have you learned about distinguishing between direct and indirect characterizations?
How can you apply what you have learned about direct and indirect characterizations to the stories you read in the future?