Identifying the Elements
of Literature:
Student Notes
English I
Mrs. Nagy
• A character is a person or
sometimes an animal or other
being in a story (short story, novel,
play, poem, movie, etc.).
Types of
Types of
Characters Defined
• Round Character - a round character is fully
developed, meaning we know lots about the character;
readers may even be able to anticipate the actions of a
round character if the characterization is well done and
• Flat Character - we know very little about a flat
character; flat characters are not meant to serve as
main characters. They serve as necessary elements in
plot or as elements of the setting.
Types of
Characters Defined
• Dynamic Character - a dynamic character is one
who changes by the end of the story, learning
something that changes him or her in a
permanent way.
• Static Character - static characters do not
change; they are the same person at the end of
the story as they were at the beginning.
Types of
Characters Defined
• Foil Character - a foil character is in most ways opposite to the
main character. The purpose of the foil character is to emphasize
the traits of the main character by contrast.
• Protagonist - the main character of the story or the character you
are “rooting for” to succeed (meet the goal or solve the conflict). The
protagonist is not always a “nice guy” or hero.
• Antagonist - the force that works against the protagonist; the
antagonist does not have to be a person (remember from conflict
that forces of nature, a society, or even a flaw of the protagonist can
be an antagonist).
Types of Characters
• Typically your main character will be…
– The protagonist
– Round
– Dynamic
• Other major characters will be…
The antagonist
• Minor characters will be…
– Flat
– Static
• Definition - the process by which the
author reveals the character’s personality
or what the character is like, who he or
she is.
Types of
• Direct Characterization – the author directly states or tells the
reader what the characters are like.
• Example – The girl was very shy, but also very beautiful, and
therefore, always attracting attention.
• Indirect Characterization – the author does not directly state what
the character is like and the reader has to decode a series of clues
that reveal the character’s personality traits.
Indirect Characterization
• How do we know what clues to look
for? Remember SATDO!
• S – What the character says
• A – The character’s appearance or
• T – The character’s thoughts
• D – What the character does
• O – What other characters say about the
How do we use
• As you read more and more complex texts, you
will use SATDO clues to develop a deeper
understanding of characters.
• If you actually pause to consider each of these
things about a character, you can learn quite a
bit about them!
• If you are asked a question in which you have to
identify examples of character traits, SATDO is
very helpful.