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Direct characterization occurs when the writer states the character's nature or describes the character's personality or appearance.
Indirect characterization occurs when the character states their nature or when the character’s nature is revealed through other characters’ statements within the story.
The narrator and the main character, in this case, Twyla, stated that Maggie couldn’t talk and that she heard a rumor from other kids that her tongue was cut out. However, she thinks Maggie was just born mute. This is an instance of indirect characterization, because information about Maggie is being revealed through Twyla and information from the other kids.
The kids said she had her tongue cut out, but I think she was just born that way: mute
"Or what if she wants to cry? Can she cry?"
"Sure," Roberta said. "But just tears. No sounds come out."
"She can't scream?"
"Can she hear?"
Part of the description that follows, where Maggie’s description is given not through dialogue, can be considered direct characterization. This is because the writer takes to the fore and describes Maggie away from the conversation between Twyla and Roberta which followed shortly after the description.
She was old and sandy-colored and she worked in the kitchen. I don't know if she was nice or not. I just remember her legs like parentheses and how she rocked when she walked. She worked from early in the morning till two o'clock, and if she was late, if she had too much cleaning and didn't get out till two-fifteen or so, she'd cut through the orchard so she wouldn't miss her bus and have to wait another hour. She wore this really stupid little hat-a kid's hat with ear flaps-and she wasn't much taller than we were. A really awful little hat. Even for a mute, it was dumb-dressing like a kid and never saying anything at all.
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