Characterization - My Teacher Site

• Human beings are drawn to other human
beings and the characters in a work of fiction
are no exception
• We can all learn a little more about ourselves
when we look into what makes characters in
our novels and short stories tick
• When we read a book or a short story, the
more we can relate to a character, the more
interesting a book can be
• We will watch a short movie clip now. Pay
attention to the main character in the clip and
how he behaves, looks, and sounds
Static Character
• A character who doesn’t change much in the
• They usually keep the same behavior, feelings,
and act the same
Dynamic Character
• Usually changes as a result of the climax of the
• Sometimes a dynamic character can change
their way of thinking or how they behave
• Characterization is when the writer reveals or
shows us by telling us the personality of a
Ways a Writer Shows Characters
1. Tells us directly what the character is like:
humble, ambitious, easily manipulated, etc.
2. Describes how the character looks and dresses
3. Allows us to hear how the character speaks
4. Tells us the character’s private thought or
5. Shows us how the character effects other
characters – showing how other characters feel
or behave toward the character
6. Shows the character’s actions
Direct Characterization
• The writer tells you directly how a character is.
• The writer may say they are anxious, nervous,
they hate their life, or even what they might
be planning later in the book or story
• Example:
• Monique was nervous to begin her first day in
middle school. She was too tall for her age and
already felt out of place. She thought this
would be the worst day of her whole life.
Indirect Characterization
• A writer makes us use our own judgment for
the character.
• We have to figure out, as the reader, what a
character is like based on how they behave in
the story.
• It’s kind of like that in real life too. We have to
get to know someone to figure out who they
are. We don’t just allow people to tell us
about them.
Example of Indirect Characterization
• Which sentence shows us more about the
• His mom was really mad.
• OR
• As her face slowly began to turn bright red, he
noticed her taking a deep breath and sucking in
her cheeks. Her large brown eyes narrowed into
slits, and a hundred new wrinkles appeared on
her forehead as her eyebrows scrunched together
in a frown.
Practice On Your Own
• Lucy looked sad.
• Now revise this sentence to show indirect
characterization. That means you will
show(with words) how Lucy looks, acts,
thinks, and speaks.
Mrs. Gentry’s Example
• Lucy’s head drooped so low that her chin was
touching her chest. Tears began to roll down
her chubby cheeks and a whimper slipped out
of her mouth. Her long brown hair became
stuck to her face as the tears kept coming.
Soon that whimper turned into an ear piercing
scream as she shouted, “Give me back my
teddy bear! I promise I’ll be good!”
• Revise each of the following “telling”
sentences by turning them into “showing”
1. Imani wanted that piece of cake.(Revise to
show how she looks and acts while she wants
the cake.)
2. He was afraid of getting caught. (Revise to
show how he was thinking and how he is
Mrs. Gentry’s Sentences
1. As Imani’s eyes looked over the cake, she could
feel the saliva collecting in her mouth. She was
imagining the taste of chocolate melting in her
mouth and the crunch of the pecans as she bites
down into the moist, chewy, chocolate cake.
2. As his eyes darted back and forth to see who
was following him, he turned the corner and
jumped behind the trash bin. His fist was
wrapped tight around the gold watch he found
on the street. He peeked out from behind the
bin, and saw the coast was clear.
More Practice
3. She waited anxiously to see if she won the
4. The crowd was joyful when their team won.
5. Aaron tried to think of a solution.
Mrs. Gentry’s Sentences
3. As Monica tapped her foot and bit her nails, she
realized that the strap on her heel had broke probably
during the tap dancing portion of the contest. She sat
at the edge of her seat as the judge began to walk to
the microphone.
4. The stands began to roar with screams and whistles. A
chant began at the west end and slowly trickled to the
east, “We are the champions….”
5. Aaron sat in his chair methodically tapping his pencil.
He began to chew his fingernails until he realized how
simple the answer was!