What is a direct characterization for Mr. White in "The Monkey's Paw"?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mr. White is a risk taker and excitable.

Most of the characterization is indirect.  Indirect characterization means that characters are described through their words and actions.  Direct characterization is when the narrator reveals traits about the character directly to the reader by describing the character specifically.

Here is an example of direct characterization of Mr. White.

Father and son were at chess, the former, who possessed ideas about the game involving radical changes, putting his king into such sharp and unnecessary perils that it even provoked comment from the white-haired old lady knitting placidly by the fire.

This statement is direct characterization because we are told that Mr. White has radical ideas about chess.  We do have to make some inferences from this to get more of an understanding of Mr. White.  For instance, we can infer that he likes to win, or that he takes risks.

Most of Mr. White’s traits are shown to the reader through indirect characterization, which is describing through words and actions of the character.  For example, we learn that Mr. White has a rather boisterous personality by his reaction to the storm.

"That's the worst of living so far out," bawled Mr. White, with sudden and unlooked-for violence; "of all the beastly, slushy, out-of-the-way places to live in, this is the worst. Pathway's a bog, and the road's a torrent. I don't know what people are thinking about. …"

Mr. White is very passionate about this storm and the fact that he lives so far away from other people.  He does not like the fact that the pathway has been let to get so bad.  From this statement we can learn that Mr. White is a very excitable person, and that he speaks his mind.  The narrator tells us specifically that the statement was made with unnecessary violence.  This is how we know that Mr. White has a vivid personality.  It confirms the statement made about him before.