What is it about a character that makes him or her so memorable?Hero or villain, damsal or duke, rebel or royal, the characters in a story are the author's greatest assets in the quest to win the heart, mind and soul of the reader.
How that character is manipulated by the plot, and how he/she in turn manipulates it right back, that is the key to story telling.We have been exploring characters in our FOA presentations and we are also, from different angles and approaches, analyzing how stories impact readers and how the author creates a unique story to entice and inspire the reader in our Written Task 2. Each one of you represents a very unique and original set of backstories and experiences. You bring these in to each new experience you encounter, including reading a novel. Because of that, how you interpret stories and respond to and relate to characters will always be different. Your culture, your virtues and values, your personality and preferences and past experiences will color the lenses through which you read and interpret literature.
The first step in becoming a thorough and credible literary critic (critic in this case meaning someone who engages in the act of dissection, evaluation or appreciation of literature) is to acknowledge the fact that you do look at everything through a unique perspective that can and will color your evaluation. That is not a bad thing, it's a human thing. Recognizing it and graciously allowing for other possible interpretations is a professional thing.
Okay, so we've acknowledged that we do have a limited view--a unique and valid one, but limited as we, in each of our own unique perspectives are limited. Now; how do we become more comfortable and confident in that adventure that is dissecting, exploring and detecting as readers?
You know the answer. It's the same answer for everything you seek to do well: you practice.
This week, that is exactly what you are going to do! I am giving you a chapter to read. The title of this chapter is: A Drink with the Devil. It is about ten pages long. Not bad at all as far as chapter lengths are concerned. Here is the catch and part of the fun: this chapter is not from the beginning, but the deep middle of a novel. So, you really are going to have to depend on your own personal detective skills. You won't have a lot of context, so you will have to read for clues the author gives you in this excerpt as to setting, character backgrounds, and story.
Your main study focus is character, so this is reflected in the questions you will answer for your blog this week. Here are the questions:
1. When does this story take place and how do you know?
2. Where does this story take place and how do you know?
3. One of the two characters is Will. Tell me what you know about Will. Not just surface stuff like what he does for a living, but WHO IS HE? What is he about? What are his values? What type of person is he and why do you think so? In other words, how does the author reveal him?
4. Same question, this time for the character of Mick O'Shaughnessy. GO BELOW THE SURFACE. How does the author reveal him and how is this different?
5. Finally: What are some flaws you see in the characters? How does the author present them?
You will have TWO weeks to complete this blog. There will not be a new blog next weekend. It is this one. I realize it requires more work and effort, therefore you have more time and it is worth more points (ten instead of five). My advice? Type your answer up on a word or text document. Then, when you are happy with it and it is finished, copy and paste your answer in the blog.
Thank you, and happy detecting!