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Character

 

Protagonist:  The character experiencing the conflict 

(NOT the good guy!––Narrator of Tell Tale Heart) 

 

Antagonist:  Source of protagonist’s conflict or stumbling block for protagonist in resolving conflict 

*A person, protagonist, a concept (time), natural forces

 (NOT the bad guy:  Salvation; Mathilde; Narrator YWP) 

 

Dynamic:  Character has an inward change as a result of the conflict—perspective, view of life  (YWP & Salvation)

 

Static:  Character does not change (Mathilde; Tessie)

 

Round:  We have a “full” picture of the character’s emotions and intent  (Salvation, YWP & Tell Tale Heart)

 

Flat:  We do not feel or experience the character’s emotions or inner thoughts for more than a few sentences.  (Samuel; Desireé’s Baby; Lottery)

 

Methods of Characterization:

·       Description: Physical Picture  (Mathilde; Lottery228)

·       Action:  What char. does gives us insight into him/her  (Mr. Loisel; Tessie offers up her daughter.)

·       Dialogue:  What char. says gives us insight into him/her  (Mathilde; YWP husband)

·       Narration:  What is told about char. reveals him/her

          (Necklace; Samuel, the man who pulls the brake)

·       Combo:  A complete picture is formed by using a combo  (action and narration:  man in Samuel who pulls the emergency brake).


 

Theme

 

·       “Moral significance [behind] […] the story”

·       The author’s vision of the meaning of life

·       The author’s attempt to challenge reality

·       Elements are deliberately chosen by the author to emphasize this theme:  All elements tie to theme in some way.  The scholar’s job is to explore and explicate this connection.

 

Do not confuse what the story is about with the theme: 

No: The YWP is about a woman’s descent into madness.

Yes:  The YWP shows the reader the disastrous effects of isolating someone who is in mental distress. (Universal; does not only pertain to the situation in the story.)

 

*Theme is created by the combination of all of the other elements.  The way the author uses the other elements to create the theme of the story is the key to the story.

 

Example:

 

Characterization:  Dynamic  (changes for the worse)

 

Setting: Suggests where she really is; highlights isolation

 

Symbolism:  Wallpaper  (confining)

 

Irony:  Situational  (who really knows best; cure makes her worse); Verbal  (John’s comments)

 

POV:   Shows us the degradation of her mental state

 

FS:  Indicates what will happen due to isolation