What makes a character a dynamic character?If you can explain the concept in regards to what makes the following characters dynamic, I'd appreciate it: Young Goodman of the story "Young Goodman...

What makes a character a dynamic character?

If you can explain the concept in regards to what makes the following characters dynamic, I'd appreciate it:

Young Goodman of the story "Young Goodman Brown"

Dee of "Everyday Use"

Sammy of "A & P"

Elisenda of "A Very Old Man with Enomous Wings" 

Asked on by lehcir

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In a literary work, characters are usually classified as dynamic or static. A static character is a minor character who does not change throughout the work, whereas the dynamic character undergoes either a maturation, involving both physical, emotional, and mental change, or he/she experiences a realization--sometimes an epiphany--in which there is a spiritual or psychological change. Because they undergo changes, these dynamic characters, then, are either protagonists or antagonists in the works of literature.

1.  Young Goodman Brown

In Hawthorne's story, Goodman Brown is a naive and rebellious young man who feels strong enough in his Puritan faith to test it by accompanying a devilish older man with a staff that "bore the likeness of a great black snake" into the forest primeval where a black mass will take place. Along the way, Brown sees Goody Cloyse and Deacon Gookin, his catechist and a respected member of the church, who laugh and talk of the new initiates into the Black Man's fold.  In the forest, Brown sees his wife Faith and cries to her in a voice of "agony and frustration." When her pink ribbons waft through the air, Brown exclaims, "My Faith is gone!"  Then, Brown changes, awakening to a grim Calvinistic reality in which he is convinced in the depravity of man; he becomes a "distrustful, if not a desperate man" henceforth.

2. Dee

Acting as the antagonist of "Everyday Use," Dee, or Wangero as she wants to be called, has changed from her youthful position as an African=American from the South to a rebellious follower of Malcolm X who advocated that blacks drop their white "slave names."  Wangero perceives the traditional things in her childhood home as artifacts of the oppressed race to be on display.  However, having changed from her childhood personality, she comes into conflict with her mother, who believes in preserving the quilts that are part of their family and racial heritage.

3.  Sammy

The protagonist of Updike's story, Sammy is also a rebellious young man, who repudiates the "sheep"-like conformity of the customers in the grocery store, instead chilvarously championing the individuality that he perceives in the girls who dare to enter the store in their bathing suits. In his rebellion, Sammy decides to quit his job in order to impress the girls. When his boss cautions him, Sammy thinks,

...once you begin a gesture it's fatal not to go through with it.

4. Elisenda

In "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings," from the beginning Elisenda takes an active part in the decision-making regarding the old angel that appears. When the old angel first appears, Pelayo and Elisenda soon "overcame their surprise" and find him "familiar," enjoying the fame and fortune that he brings them.  However, after some time, Elisenda changes and becomes "exasperated and unhinged," and shouts that "it was awful living in that hell full of angels."  Then, when the old man finally grows back his wings and departs, she watches him leave, relieved that he is no longer an "annoyance in her life."


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