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9. Literary Text Setting: types and functions

Setting has been referred to as story world or milieu to include a context (esp society) beyond the immediate surroundings of the story. Setting includes the place, the time period and social reality within which the story takes place, the details of which are important to our understanding of the entire meaning of the story. Elements of setting may include culture, historical period, geography, hour, occupation and lifestyle of characters, religious, intellectual, and moral environment. Setting analysis covers the following contexts: Historical, geographical, physical, social. Types of setting include: neutral: setting is not important, just a place where the action takes place. Spiritual: the values embodied in the physical setting; there is no easy relationship btw physical setting and moral values. Dynamic: the setting may take on the role of a character. Setting may or may not have an important influence on the story: integral setting is essential to the plot; it influences action, character or theme; backdrop setting is relatively unimportant to the plot; it is like the featureless curtain or flat painted scenery of a theater. Settings may take various forms: alternate history/future history, dystopia/utopia, other worlds/planets. Setting often performs two main functions: setting as metaphor: the setting projects the internal state of the characters or a pervasive spiritual atmosphere. Setting as atmosphere: a mood or emotional aura suggested by the setting and helping to establish the reader’s expactations. In the 1st function setting can clarify conflict, illuminate character, affect their mood, and act as a symbol. Setting can symbolize the emotional state of characters. The setting can also support or advance the theme. In the 2nd function, it can set the mood or feeling of the scene.

8.Literary Text Character Types and Methods of Characterization

A character is the representation of a person in a narrative or dramatic work of art. Characters in a text may be rendered either as types or as individuals. A character who stands as a representative of a particular class or group of people is known as a type. Typified characters often represent the general traits of a group of persons or abstract ideas. Medieval allegorical depictions of characters preferred typification in order to personify vices, virtues, or philosophical and religious positions. The inividualization of a character, however, has evolved into the main feature of the genre of the novel.

Types of characters

A flat character (also known as a type, or a two-dimensional character) is defined by a single quality without much individualizing detail. Flat characters are relatively uncomplicated and do not change throughout the course of a work. A flat character is always stereotypical. A round character is a complex individual incapable of being easily defined. Round characters undergo development, sometimes sufficiently to surprise the reader.

A static character does not experience a basic character change during the course of the story. A dynamic character grows and changes in a significant way throughout the course of the story as he/she reacts to the events and other characters. This change is internal and may be sudden, but the events of the plot should make it seem inevitable.

A well-developed character is the one that has been thoroughly characterized, with many traits shown in the narrative. An underdeveloped character is considered flat or stereotypical.

A protagonist is the main character (the central or primary personal figure) of a literary narrative, around whom the events of the narrative’s plot revolve and with whom the audience is intended to share the most empathy.

An antagonist is a character, group of characters, or institution that represents the opposition against which the protagonist or protagonists must contend. In other words, an antagonist is a person or a group of people who oppose the main character(s).

A deuteragonist is the second most important character, after the protagonist and before the tritagonist.

A viewpoint character is a character through whose perspective the story is seen.

A false protagonist is a technique for making a scene or a character more memorable by presenting a character at the start of the fictional work as the main character, but then generally disposing of this character, usually by killing him – but sometimes just by changing their role.

A narrator is the person who conveys the story to the audience. A narrator may tell the story from his own point of view or of the point of view of one of the characters.

An unreliable narrator is a narrator whose credibility has been seriously compromised.

A focal character is the character on whom the audience is meant to place the majority of their interest and attention.

A foil is the person who contrasts with another character (usually the protagonist) in order to highlight various features of the main character’s personality.

Heroes are characters who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self sacrifice – that is, heroism – for some greater good of all humanity.

An archenemy, archfoe or archnemesis is the principal enemy of a character in a work of fiction, often described as the hero’s worst enemy.

An antihero is a protagonist whose character is at least in some regards conspicuously contrary to that of the archetypal hero, and is in some instances its antithesis.

A Mary Sue (Sue) is an overly idealized fictional character, lacking noteworthy flaws.

Stock characters are types of character which have become conventional in particular genres through repeated use.

A stereotype is a character who possesses expected traits of a group rather than being an individual.

Characterization is the process of creating an image of a person in fiction, complete with that person’s traits, feature and motivation. When it comes to characterization, a write has 2 options:

1. Direct characterization – the writer makes direct statements about a character’s personality and tells what the character is like.

2. Indirect characterization – the writer reveals the info about a character and his personality through that character’s thoughts, words, and actions, along with how other characters respond to that character, including what they think and say about him.

There are 4 main methods of characterization. When you read a story or a novel, these are the ways that a reader learns about the characters:

1. Physical appearance. The way a character looks and dresses tells a lot about him. Physical appearance includes a character’s size, age, skin colour, hair colour, eye colour, clothing, etc.

2. Speech and actions. What a character says and does tells a lot about him.

3. Others’ opinions of the character. What other people think of the character is often a good indicator of what the character is like.

4. The character’s inner thoughts and feeling.

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