The strength of establishment as well as the efficient creation of the character as a literary element was significant in how the text creates an impact on its readers. In this paper, three literary texts would be discussed according to the excellent manner by which the characters were devised in the two short stories and the poem.
Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find” provided characters of good and evil manifesting in an individual. Ambrose Pierce wrote from two perspectives that reveal the personalities of the main character and the narrator in “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” Finally, there was impeccable characterization that was exhibited in T.S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.
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The two stories showed different pictures of death because of the characters that killed and were killed; one was that of evil and the other of an attempt to exemplify patriotism.
“Prufrock,” on the other hand, presented a character that was like a dead man walking, he was alive in the poem, unlike the fate of the other two main characters in the stories, but he might as well be dead because of the despair and his struggle to find a place in the world. All of these three texts largely depended on the success of the characterization in order to produce a significant impact from the readers.
They were works that held a place in literature because their characters were remembered to be unique and had stood from how the authors had carefully taken the time to exhibit their complexities and personalities.
The character in literature could be a person, an animal or an object in a story, play or another other literary genre. There could many classifications for a character. In stories, some would be classified to be main characters, while others would be supporting characters and others miscellaneous ones.
Those that were considered to be main characters were those that were directly involved in the story. The story revolved around them or they make the story revolve.
Authors could choose to develop their characters or reveal who their characters were in different ways. The writer could directly say at the beginning what the character was like in one time manner. While in other time, it could be on an installment approach wherein the character’s personality would be revealed gradually as the story unfolds. Sometimes, the characters were revealed through the speech of the character.
The characters could reveal their own characteristics. It could also be possible through the thoughts and feelings of the character. The author could also show this through the actions of the characters. The reaction of other people towards the characters also describes the personality or reveals the characterization.
The goal of the writer of a text would be for the readers to see the characters to be believable and worth caring about (Card, 1988). Even if in some stories, characters were not real people, the writer must still develop the characters to be relatable or to be representative of people in society that would come close to the reader’s heart or recognition.
Since literature was about significant human experiences, the character served as the connection between the story and the readers. They played the role of providing for the readers a better understanding of the diversity of human nature and human behavior.
According to Card (1988), “people become, in our minds, what we seem them do” (p. 4).
This was considered to be the strongest form of characterization. However, while in some stories this form of characterization was enough, the best form of characterization could not be based on what we instantly see.
It was something that was formed from tying up the character’s motive, background, recognizing stereotypes, network or relationships, habits and patterns, talents and abilities, tastes and preferences, attitude and so on (Card, 1988).
The character could be considered to be responsible for the thoughts and actions within a literary text. They must be seen to have one of the highest priorities in analysis when it came to literary elements because they served as mediums by which the reader truly gets the connection with the text.
Without this connection, the text could not serve is purpose sufficiently. The characterization greatly influences the other elements in a literary work such as the theme, setting and tone.
The lack of effectiveness in character development could confuse the writer’s intention for the plot and conflict, it could block the reader’s understanding for the them, it could basically ruin the entire experience that the writer would have want the reader to get from the literary text.
When characterization was well developed, it would serve as the foundation for the formation of the plot and conflict, it would support the revelation to them, it would complement the setting and the conflict, and thus it would make the text work.
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