What are the five methods of characterization in literature?
Credit:muharrem önerE+Getty Images
Q:

What are the five methods of characterization in literature?

A:

Quick Answer

Individuals can remember the five basic methods of characterization in literature by using the acronym STEAL, which stands for speech, thoughts, effect, actions and looks. These are the techniques commonly used by writers to reveal a character's personality and nature indirectly.

 Know More

Full Answer

Direct characterization occurs when an author directly tells the reader something about a character's nature. Indirect characterization reveals a character's nature by showing what he does, what he thinks, what he says and how other characters react to him.

Indirect characterization leaves more to the reader's imagination, and the effect can be ambiguous. If an author tells the reader, "She was an honest girl," the reader has no reason to question the character's honesty. If, on the other hand, the author reveals a character solely through her words and actions, it's up to the reader to draw his own conclusions, as the true motivation behind an action can be uncertain, and words can be deceptive.

Sometimes an author reveals the inner thoughts of a character. This is still regarded as indirect characterization, because thoughts themselves can be ambiguous, and because a character can lie to himself. While ambiguity and uncertainty can be confusing, indirect characterization is preferable in most situations, because it involves the reader in the story at a deeper level by forcing him to draw his own conclusions.

Learn more about Literature

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What were some characteristics of Castiglione's perfect noble?

    A:

    One of the most important characteristics of Castiglione's perfect noble, or courtier, is what is known in Italian as "sprezzatura," the art of making all one's actions appear completely effortless and natural. Skill at arms, wit and personal beauty, as well as artistic and physical gifts are also ideal characteristics.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a list of epic heroes?

    A:

    Epic heroes in literature include Achilles, Aeneas, Arjuna, Beowulf, Gilgamesh, Grettir, Odysseus, Roland and Rostam. An epic hero is the central character in an epic poem, which is a book-length narrative that chronicles the adventures of noble characters during events important to a culture or nation.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a modern hero in literature?

    A:

    The modern hero in literature is usually more of an everyman than a classical hero. Modern heroes are complex characters who usually have flaws and problems to which people can relate. They usually don't go on a physical quest; their quest is more of an internal one.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How did the Quran influence literature and poetry?

    A:

    The Quran's origins as an oral text in which recitation and intonation were of utmost importance, and its style of interweaving revelations from various periods into its sections, are its greatest influences on literature and poetry, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. In addition, because the Quran was written in Arabic, the Arabic language became the most important means of written expression in Islamic literature.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore