Character: Definition, Examples & Meaning

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      Although most of the novelists tend to write novels upon a pre-specified setting or plot, yet it is in fact, the proper representation of human resources that makes the art of novel writing very effective. A good art of characterization along with a supportive plot plan results in a fantastic novel. So, character remains major focus of the superior novelists. Without character it was once accepted that there could be no fiction. In the period since World War II, the creators of what has come to be called the French nouveau roman (i.e. new novel) have deliberately demoted the human element, claiming the right of objects and processes to the writer’s and reader’s prior attention. Positive reader feedback for novel is actually caused by interesting fictional characters.

      The true novelists remain creators of characters - prehuman, such as those in William Golding’s Inheritors (1955); animal, as in Henry Williamson s Tarka the Otter (1927) or Jack London’s Call of the Wild (1903); caricatures, as in much of Dickens; or complex and unpredictable entities, as in Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, or Henry Janies. The reader may be prepared to tolerate the most wanton-seeming stylistic tricks and formal difficulties because of the intense interest of the central characters in novels as diverse as James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922) and Finnegan Wake (1939) and Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy (1760-67). However, the usage of characters in novel is supposed to have comprehensible conformity with real life so that the readers can find out themselves or the others surrounding them in the novel text. This is the application of the novel literature in society. So, fantasy, supernatural entry, miraculous incidents, imagination etc. are normally one step backward in relation to the realistic representation of characters and affairs in novel. Novels whose characters are created out of the author’s own introspection are frequently rejected as not “true to life”. Both in the higher and the lower orders of novel readers tend find out their own stock of remembered friends and and acquaintances. Characters that seem to have a life outside the bounds of the books earn their creators the most regard.

      However, the art of characterization - the task of building characters - is not so easy. Art of characterization brings the characters to life in the reader s mind. They can range from thumbnail sketches to deep, wordy, highly detailed biographies of each character. It is important to note that different genres and stories require different types of character development. There are roughly two types of protagonists in fiction. One is the everyman or everywoman character, plunged into an extraordinary situation. Harry Potter, for example, comes across as a fairly ordinary boy, albeit that, he is a wizard. Likewise, Bella Swan (in Twilight) always thought she was ordinary, until she started to fall for this slightly strange guy. The second type of character (rather less common, in fact) is the genuinely extraordinary character who would make things happen in an empty room. Bridget Jones is such an example of such a character. So too is James Bond or Patrick O’Brien’s Captain Aubrey. Indeed, the real secret of good characterization is to understand the character well from the inside, so that the characters of novel found out from the nearby social circle or the creator himself in possible/necessary cases.

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