Guide to Literary Terms Characterization

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Characterization - the creation of the image of imaginary persons in drama, narrative poetry, the novel, and the short story. Characterization generates plot and is revealed by actions, speech, thoughts, physical appearance, and the other characters’ thoughts or words about him.

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The etymology and derivation of the word are the same as those for character.

In Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, Huck’s use of dialect, running away, his guardian’s feelings about him, and Jim’s response to him all comprise Twain’s characterization of his protagonist.

see: allegory, fable, plot, thesis

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