I am having trouble finding indirect characterization examples for Roger Chillingworth in The Scarlet Letter. I need examples of direct and indirect characterization if possible.

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favoritethings eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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One example of indirect characterization for Roger Chillingworth comes when the narrator describes his reaction to seeing Hester upon the scaffold. The narrator says,

A writhing horror twisted itself across his features, like a snake gliding swiftly over them, and making one little pause, with all its wreathed intervolutions in open sight. His face darkened with some powerful emotion, which, nevertheless, he so instantaneously controlled by an effort of his will, that, save at a single moment, its expression might have passed for calmness. After a brief space, the convulsion grew almost imperceptible, and finally subsided into the depths of his nature.

In comparing his facial expression to a snake, the narrator creates a simile that seems designed to make us think that Chillingworth has some evil in his nature. Snakes are often symbolic of evil as a result of the snake's role in the book of Genesis. Not only does the description hint at Chillingworth's evil, but it also implies that he is someone who can be deceptive, who is adept at hiding his true feelings. He manipulates his expression so as not to give away his relationship to Hester, and this makes it seem that he could manipulate his appearance in other ways.

One example of direct characterization comes when Hester and Chillingworth first speak. The narrator says,

The eyes of the wrinkled scholar glowed so intensely upon her, that Hester Prynne clasped her hands over her heart, dreading lest he should read the secret there at once.

Here, we learn pretty directly that Chillingworth is "intense" and that he is "dread[ful]," even frightening, because Hester is so fearful of being alone with him. He is also described as being quite perceptive as well, as she fears that he will ferret out her secret right away.

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Direct characterization is description that tells exactly who a character is.  If the book stated directly, "Roger Chillingworth was evil," it would be an example of direct characterization.

Indirect characterization is when an author does not directly state character description, but uses other avenues to paint characters in a particular way.  Such avenues include the character's thoughts, actions or reactions, words, and physical appearance.  Finally, the thoughts of other characters concerning someone specific is considered indirect characterization.

If you have read most of the novel, you are aware that Roger Chillingworth is, in fact, evil.  In order to complete your assignment, I encourage you to look for evidence in one or more of the above categories to show exactly this.  To help you get started I'll give you a few hints:

Physical appearance: Chillingworth's hunched shoulders and rapid aging give him the appearance of something scary and therefore evil.

Actions: He vows to get revenge on the father of Pearl.  He announces this plan from the beginning of the story sets his entire life purpose on this only.

Reactions of others: Hester comments more than once that she does not like "That man."  It is clear that she is afraid of him.  Pearl, on the other hand, though not afraid (of anything it seems) is able to point out that he is constantly with the minister and is somehow connected to death.

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Direct characterization occurs when the narrator speaks explicitly about the character's look, attitude, or actions. Hawthorne's narrator offers direct characterization of Roger Chillingworth in chapter four, "The Interview," when her husband speaks to Hester Prynne, "half coldly, half soothingly." These four words directly indicate Chillingworth's feelings toward Hester; he cares for her, but is deeply hurt by her infidelity in his long absence. The physical description of Chillingworth in chapter three, "The Recognition," emphasizes his "small statute...furrowed visage...[and] slight deformity" to directly characterize his unappealing looks.

Indirect characterization occurs when the narrator offers no commentary on how words are spoken. It is up to the reader to analyze the implication of what has been said. Also in chapter 4, Roger Chillingworth admits to Hester that their marriage was ill-conceived; he says "We have wronged each other" after she sympathetically tells him that she has wronged him. Chillingworth's response implies that he understands that they share the blame for where their relationship stands when he arrives at the colony.

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