Can an example of an indirect characterization be something a character said and us assuming something from it?

1 Answer
Nov 27, 2017

There is no other way to show indirect characterization.
Readers assume something from a character's speech, thoughts, actions, or appearance.


Direct characterization is the author's specific assertion about a person's character.

Example of direct characterization:
"Elmer was a diffident and withdrawn young man, a kind of comic relief to Mr. Bramble, who was a braggart and a loudmouth."

Indirect characterization produces its effects by showing (not telling) the reader how the people speak, behave, or look, letting the readers come to their own conclusions about the characters' personalities.

Example of indirect characterization:
  "Oh .... well, hello," Elmer whispered with a gulp, his weak blond mustache quivering.

"Hi! Hi! Hi!" yelled Mr. Bramble. "So glad to be here! Just back from my Mediterranean cruise with the Duchess! Splendid yacht!"

Direct characterization is often used for the initial appearance of a character, but it can't be the only way of describing the personality of a main character, or the descriptions will become hollow and boring.

If the character is repeatedly shown throughout the work, the personality traits must be demonstrated with indirect characterization almost every time.

1) A character can be depicted as "well-rounded" if he once or twice displays a surprisingly contrasting personality trait -- Elmer's sudden show of self-assertion or courage, for example, or Mr. Bramble's unexpected contrasting humbleness.

2) When a minor character is going to appear only once, then direct characterization is enough.
For example, a bar maid or a taxi driver, a police officer, a neighbor -- these one-time people can be described directly, like this:
   "Jackson's next-door neighbor, a gruff, tweedy man with silver hair, walked his dog past the front door where Jackson was peeking out."