What is the definition of "characterisation"? Please give an example.

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robertwilliam's profile pic

robertwilliam | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Characterisation is simply the way the author paints a picture of what a certain character is like. Details of characterisation might include descriptions of what a certain character wears, looks like, does, speaks like, smells like, walks like, eats, where he/she lives... and so on.

As an example, let me refer you to Dickens (a master of vivid characterisation) and "Oliver Twist" - this is the first time Fagin appears in the novel. Read the extract and consider how each carefully-chosen little detail suggests something about Fagin himself.

In a frying-pan, which was on the fire, and which was secured to the mantel-shelf by a string, some sausages were cooking; and standing over them, with a toasting-fork in his hand, was a very old shrivelled Jew, whose villanous-looking and repulsive face was obscured by a quantity of matted red hair. He was dressed in a greasy flannel gown, with his throat bare; and seemed to be dividing his attention between the frying-pan and a clothes-horse, over which a great number of silk handkerchiefs were hanging.

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alissawi's profile pic

alissawi | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Characterisation is simply the way the author paints a picture of what a certain character is like. Details of characterisation might include descriptions of what a certain character wears, looks like, does, speaks like, smells like, walks like, eats, where he/she lives... and so on.

As an example, let me refer you to Dickens (a master of vivid characterisation) and "Oliver Twist" - this is the first time Fagin appears in the novel. Read the extract and consider how each carefully-chosen little detail suggests something about Fagin himself.

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