In a well-written essay of five paragraphs, explain how both direct and indirect characterization help to emphasize or heighten the conflict in narrative writing.
In a well-written essay of five paragraphs, explain how both direct and indirect characterization help to emphasize or heighten the conflict in narrative writing. Examine three characters from different works of literature as listed below. Quote at least twice in each body paragraph, making sure that you have three SPECIFIC supporting details minimum in each body paragraph.
Choose three of these characters:
Babur from Babur-nama
Satyabati or Govinda from “The Artist”
Soma from “Such Perfection”
Fujio or Kiyoko from “The Grasshopper and the Bell Cricket”
The father or daughter from “The Explosion in the Parlor”
Malik or his wife from “Facing the Light”
Ah Bah or one of his parents from “Ah Bah’s Money”
In your conclusion, broaden your observations to the larger world of ideas — in this case, consider the artistic idea that both kinds of characterization are necessary in order for the conflict to have the right amount of impact.
‘Direct characterization’ means the character details authors explicitly describe. For example, telling the reader a character’s desires, life philosophy or current emotional state explicitly.
An example of direct characterization
Here’s an example of direct characterization from Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse (1927). Woolf explicitly shows what characters think of one another. For example, an artist staying with the Ramsay family, Lily Briscoe, thinks about a man Mr. Bankes who has called Mr Ramsay a hypocrite:
‘Looking up, there he was – Mr. Ramsay – advancing towards them, swinging, careless, oblivious, remote. A bit of a hypocrite? she repeated. Oh no – the most sincere of men, the truest (here he was), the best; but, looking down, she thought, he is absorbed in himself, he is tyrannical, he is unjust…’ (p. 52).
This is direct – Woolf describes Mr. Ramsay’s traits directly – his self-absorption and so forth.
In contrast to direct characterization, ‘indirect characterization’ shows readers your characters’ traits without explicitly describing them. What types of indirect characterization are there? Any writing that helps us infer or deduce things about a person’s personality. For example: