Characterization is a literary device that is used step by step in literature to highlight and explain the details of a character in a story. It is in the early stages where the author introduces the character with noticeable emergence. After introducing the character, the writer often talks about his behavior; then, as the story progresses, the character's thought processes.
The next stage involves the character expressing their opinions and ideas and engaging in conversation with the other characters. The last part shows how others in the story react to the character's personality.
Characterization as a literary tool was coined in the mid-15th century. Aristotle argued in his poetics that “tragedy is not a representation of people, but of action and life”. Hence, the assertion of storyline dominance over characters, referred to as "story-driven narration," is unmistakable. This view was later abandoned by many because in the 19th century the dominance of character over plot became apparent through petty bourgeois novels.
Types of Characterization
A writer can use two approaches to provide information about a character and to create an image of it. These two types of characterization include:
Direct or explicit characterization
This type of characterization is used directly to build the character. She uses another character, narrator, or the protagonist himself to help educate the reader or audience about the topic.
Indirect or implicit characterization
This is a more subtle way of introducing the character to the audience. The audience has to determine the characteristics of the character by observing their thought process, behavior, language, way of speaking, appearance and way of communicating with other characters.On stage or in front of the camera, actors usually don't have much time, to characterize. Because of this, the character runs the risk of appearing underdeveloped. In dramaturgy, realists are different by relying on the implicit characterization. This is crucial to th the theme of their character-based narrative. Examples of these playwrights are Anton Chekhov, Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg.
Classic examples of psychological characterizations such as The Seagull usually make the main character more indirect. This approach is considered most effective because it slowly reveals the character's internal turmoil, throughout the show, and allows the audience to connect better. Often during such shows, plays or dramas, no direct statements about the nature of the character are found. This kind of realism requires the actors to build the character from their own perspective initially. Characterization is more of a subtle art, which cannot be directly recognized
Examples of characterization in literature
Example # 1: The Great Gatsby (By F. Scott Fitzgerald)
There are many examples of characterization in literature The Great Gatsby, is probably the best . In this particular book, the main idea revolves around the social status of each character. The main character of the book, Mr. Gatsby is palpably rich, but he doesn't belong to the upper class of society. This means that he cannot have Daisy. Tom is essentially defined by his wealth and the abusive nature he portrays every now and then, while Daisy is explained by Gatsby's voice "full of money".
Another technique for highlighting a character's traits is to put them in specific areas that are symbolic of a social status. In the novel, Gatsby lives in West Egg, which is viewed as less trendy than East Egg, where Daisy lives. This difference shows the gap between Jay and Daisy's social status. Also, you might also find that Tom, Jordan, and Daisy live in East Egg while Gatsby and Nick live in West Egg, which in turn highlights the difference in their financial backgrounds. This division is reinforced at the end of the novel when Nick supports Gatsby against the rest of the people.
casts have also been used very tactfully in the novel to highlight the character, the best example being Gatsby, who, despite being so rich, is known by his profession is: pirated copies. He had an illegal job that made him a fortune but didn't get him into the upper classes of New York society. In contrast, Nick has a clean and fair job as a "bond man" who defines his character. Poor Wilson, who fixes the rich man's cars, befriends his wife; and then there is Jordon, who is presented as a dishonest golf professional.
Role of Characterization
Characterization is an essential component of writing good literature. Modern fiction, in particular, has made great use of this literary device. Understanding the role of characterization in storytelling is very important to any writer. In short, it helps us make sense of the behavior of any character in a story by helping us understand the thought processes of it. Good use of characterization always leads readers or audience to better relate to the events that take place in the story. Dialogues play a very important role in the development of a story. character, because they give us the opportunity to examine more deeply the motivations and actions of the characters.
Popular Literary Devices
- Ad Hominem
- Deus Ex Machina
- Double Entendre
- Flash Forward
- Half Rhyme
- Internal Rhyme
- Line Break
- Non Sequitur
- Pathetic Fallacy
- Poetic Justice
- Point of View
- Red Herring
- Tragic Flaw