Characterization is the description of a character’s physical traits (such as his or her appearance), point of view, personality, private thoughts, and actions. There are basically two kinds of characterization in fiction writing: (1) physical and (2) analytical.
We will look at indirect characterization in the next section.This will describe the process of describing a property directly.
Both indirect characterization and direct characterization should be used together to present the reader with a complete picture of your character. It is important to remember that characters are imperfect, just like people. You don’t need to like them but you have to be interested in them.
How Does Indirect Characterization Work?
Indirect characterization can be defined as the process of describing a character using the character’s thoughts, actions, speech, and dialogue. As a writer, you will use this type of description to guide your reader in making their own conclusions about the character.
Examples of Indirect Characterization – Literature:
When describing a character, indirect characterization is an important tool to use. It is often said that what is left unsaid or unstated creates a much greater impression on the reader than what is explicitly stated.
- Anne in Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery: “My life is a graveyard of buried hopes.” In her novel, Montgomery created a character with a complex and active imagination, who is very curious about the world around her, and who also has a very dark past with repressed feelings.
- Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee:Scout, simply by the nature of the work, every lawyer gets at least one case in his lifetime that affects him personally. I guess this one is mine. You might hear some ugly talk at school about it, but you can do one thing to help me: keep your head high and keep your fists down. It doesn’t matter what anybody says to you, don’t let them get to you.” Atticus tells Scout about a controversial trial he is preparing for. Atticus, through this interaction, is teaching Scout the importance of always fighting for what you believe, no matter the consequences. This passage illustrates Atticus’s strong moral compass and the values he aims to instill in his children.
The Advantages of Indirect Characterization?
Indirect characterization can be a powerful tool if you want to convey those unspoken thoughts and characteristics of a person that are so important to capturing their essence. Nevertheless, you should be careful to guide your reader’s experience, lest they miss important clues that you are dropping in the process of indirect characterization.
- A character is humanized through indirect characterization:In this way, you provide your reader with a robust understanding of who your characters truly are, as you reveal their thoughts, emotions, and world views in a variety of contexts.
- This type of indirect characterization strengthens your writing by showing, not telling: You could, for example, write that your character was “rude,” or show your character blowing smoke into the face of another character. There is no doubt that both methods convey the same message, however, the first of the two methods of direct characterization is considerably more subtle than the second of the two methods of indirect characterization.
- Direct characterization stimulates the imagination and inspires discovery: When you are writing, you are leading your reader through your story. If you weave indirect characterization throughout your narrative, you give your reader the opportunity to draw their own conclusions and make their own discoveries, creating a reading experience that is overall more engaging and satisfying for them.