Characterization-the author's method of developing the character so that we understand what he or she is like. Writers have many ways in which to develop the character.
Direct Characterization refers to characterization methods by which the writer directly tells us what the character is like. This is done via direct statements by the writer regarding the personality of the character.
Indirect Characterization refers to the other ways in which an author might reveal a character. We come to understand something about characters by reading about their thoughts, words, and deeds. We also learn about characters based on what other characters say or think about them. Finally, we can learn about a character's personality via the description of the character's appearance, home, job, etc.
1. The author wants you to understand that a character is evil, so he writes a scene in which the character wears all black, keeps voodoo dolls in his basement, and steals money from a charity for children.
2. The author wants you to understand that a child has heroic capabilities, so she describes how the child was able to lift a large rock and throw it, able to run faster than all of the children in the school, and had a "sixth sense" about danger.
Examples of Characterization from Literature and Film
1. In To Kill a Mockingbird, we learn that Scout is smart and perceptive for her age, but also sensitive when she goes to school able to read but the teacher is unhappy with her abilities and scolds her.
2. In The Hunger Games, we learn that Katniss is tender-hearted underneath all of her bravado-she takes her sister's place in the games and she refuses to kill Peeta.
3. In Harry Potter, Harry does not think he is anything special, so we learn a lot about Harry and how special he is to the battle between good and evil by how others react to him.
4. In Gone with the Wind, we learn that Scarlett has a strong will to survive when she is willing to marry Frank in order to save her family's plantation, Tara.