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Introducing a Character

 

Character is imperative to the development of the novel, as it is considered to be one of the most contributing factors to the story. There are many different types of characters, and the representation of these characters varies. According to Lodge, these characters can be represented as “major characters and minor characters, flat characters and round characters, characters rendered from inside their minds and characters viewed from outside by others”.

“Older fiction, is to give a physical description and biographical summary.” Lodge considers this to be the simplest way of introducing the character.

Kate Chopin introduces La Folle, in Beyond the Bayou (1894), by giving a brief physical and biographical description, stating that La Folle’s real name was Jacqueline, yet on the plantation everyone called her La Folle. Kate Chopin also gives a physical description of La Folle as she explains her to be “a large, gaunt black woman, past thirty-five”. (41)  Kate Chopin continues to introduce characters in relation to La Folle.For example, when introducing P’tit Maitre, Kate chopin gives a short biographical summary “ he was a middle-aged man, with a family of beautiful daughters about him and a little son whom La Folle loved as if he had been her own”.

 

“Modern novelists usually prefer to let the facts about a character emerge gradually, diversified, or actually conveyed, by action and speech.”

We see in Kate Chopin’s later stories she took the modern approach of introducing characters,in Lilacs (1896), the characters were not introduced out front but rather introduced gradually. “Adrienne Farival never announced her coming, but the good nuns knew very well when to look for her. When the scent of the lilac blossoms began to permeate the air” In the beginning of the story we are given a slight description of Adrienne, giving us a sense of people’s emotions towards her. Through the story we are given characteristics of Adrienne, as it was stated that she has “brown soft eyes”, and later that she had a “quick eye”.

Layan S.


2 Comments

  1. amirah15 says:

    “Older fiction, is to give a physical description and biographical summary.”
    Copin gives physical descriptions in majority of her short stories. In La Belle Zoraide the narrator describes her as “had eyes that were so dusky, so beautiful, that any man who gazed too long into their depths was sure to lose his head, and even his heart sometimes. Her soft, smooth skin was the color of café-au-lait. As for her elegant manners, her svelte and graceful figure, they were the envy of half the ladies who visited her mistress, Madame Delarivière.” This sets an image in your mind about what your character looks like.

  2. sbeheri98 says:

    I agree with Lodge’s statement regarding the types of characters that are introduced and how they are introduced. “major characters and minor characters, flat characters and round characters, characters rendered from inside their minds and characters viewed from outside by others”; by saying this I believe he means it more in a developmental way throughout a novel rather than just the beginning. A major character would be a protagonist like La Folle, a minor character would be a passing character like Cheri’s mother, flat characters are those that don’t develop at all throughout the story like Cheri’s mother, and round characters are those that develop throughout the story like La Folle, characters rendered from inside their minds are like La Folle, and finally those who are viewed from outside by others would be P’tit Maitre.

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