Every literary work always has a plot, a subject, a style and a character. Character is the most important part of writing, especially fiction and non-fiction. Imagine a novel without a character and can you imagine a drama without a character. This is where the importance of the characters lies. Various research works have been carried out on the concept of character and characterization clearly.
Characterization is not an easy concept to deal with at all, and therefore, tack writers may need some guidance when making a character sketch of any character in the writing.
A character can be described as a short, witty sketch of a particular person in a prose work. Its origins date back to the Greeks when this genre was first inaugurated by Theophrastus who was a Greek author writing at 2sd century, famous for his book Characters. Slowly and gradually the concept saw a refinement and deep significance especially in the 17e century and beyond. Sir Thomas Overbury was the one who used characters to give titles to his book for example, A wise man, a courtier, a just and happy milkmaid etc.
Just like in real life, characters are used to define or represent people in a narrative or dramatic work in which these people possess emotional, intellectual and moral qualities which are inferred from the thought process, speech patterns, actions and the behaviors of these people. These qualities are necessary to be understood for the characterization process.
The reason behind the different behaviors of the characters are their desires which motivate them to do the actions that are actually done by them. There may be characters in a work who don’t change at all from start to finish as happens with Prospero in Storm by Shakespeare or these characters may undergo a series of changes towards a gradual process as the main character in Jane Austen Emma.
The evolution of the characters can also be seen as the result of crises as it happens with Pip in Charles Dickens. Great expectations. Whatever changes the character sees over the course of events in a novel or drama, you can’t expect him to completely break with his temper as we see at the start of the work.
In Aspects of the novel, EM Forster talks about two types of characters – flat and round. Forster says that a flat character is like a two-dimensional figure, simple to understand, and can be described in a single sentence or sentence without too much detail. On the other hand, round figures, according to Forster, have a complex temperament and are portrayed with special details in mind.
that of Ben Jonson Mr. Epicure Mammon can be considered a flat character while that of Shakespeare Falstaffwe can say that it is round. The degree of elaboration and importance for a particular character depends on the character’s function in the plot. In fact, in many types of stories like detective stories or adventure novels, even the protagonist is two-dimensional.
The characterization process may also be different when it comes to the different characters and their importance in the narrative. This process involves two separate methods used alternately – showing and telling. In the first method, the author simply presents his characters to the readers, showing them speaking and acting, leaving it entirely to the readers to discover for themselves the motive and inner self of these characters.
Identification should be done keeping in mind the actions, speeches and ideas of these characters. In this method of presentation, the author can not only show the character’s outer actions, but also describe their thought processes, feelings, and responsiveness to events using a technique that has been refined and known as inner monologue. or consciousness flow technique. .
This technique has seen a huge boom in the modern era of English literature when writers like Virginia Woolf (in Ms. Dalloway), Joseph Conrad (in Lord Jim) and James Joyce (in Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man) have widely used the technique. They used it to show plot development, and one character’s thought process was used to define other characters as well.
The method of telling, the author himself tells readers about the motivations and disposition of the character he is talking about in order to reveal everything to the readers. that of Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice is a perfect example of writing in this way where the writer clearly describes the motives of the two characters Mr. and Mrs. Bennet when Ms. Bennet talks about a man occupying the next seat. Mrs. Bennet wants Mr. Bennet to go talk to the man about their eldest daughter’s match-fixing. Austen also writes a paragraph to describe the character of Mr. Bennet.
Many research papers have said that this technique of telling is a direct violation of the art and they have widely recommended the technique of showing. This technique gives readers food for thought so that they themselves can give a subjective interpretation of the characters.
The modern and postmodern era saw a great deal of experimentation in the field of writing and writers of this era focused on the individuality of the characters rather than trying to bring them into the world of the novel. In fact, the playwrights of the Theater of the Absurd used characters to convey their themes. Even structuralists and postcolonial critics have focused on a character’s concept of identity and how people witness a loss of identity.
Thus, the concept of character and characterization is central to any literary work. The information given above is sufficient to guide learners who sketch characters.