Jack has sold his gold watch to buy tortoise-shell combs she had long eyed in a shop window. Della and James have sacrificed for each other, the greatest treasures they had.
The characters in a story are the people who experience the events of the plot. Every story you read will have characters.
Characters can be examined and studied using the three A's criteria: Appearance, Actions, and Attitude.
Static characters/Flat Characters - Also referred to as "two-dimensional characters" or "flat characters," they play a supporting role to the main character and lack a complex and realistic personality.
Example: Gonzalo (Tempest)
Confidante - The confidante is a minor or secondary character in a story in whom the protagonist confides, revealing his or her state of mind in dialogue rather than in soliloquies.
Example: Horatio (Hamlet)
Foil - A character in a work whose behavior and values contrast with those of another character in order to highlight the distinctive temperament of that character (usually the protagonist).
Example: Laertes acts as a foil to Hamlet
Stock Character - Some flat characters are recognized as stock characters; they embody stereotypes such as the "dumb blonde" or the "mean stepfather." They become types rather than individuals.
Shylock , money lender (Merchant of Venice)
- It is the opposition of forces which ties one incident to another and makes the plot move.
- It adds excitement and suspense to a story. The conflict usually becomes clear to the beginning of the story. As the plot unfolds, the reader starts to wonder what will happen next and how the characters will handle the situation.
There are two main types of conflict.
- External: A struggle with a force outside one's self.
- Internal: A struggle within one's self; a person must make some decision, overcome pain, quiet their temper, resist an urge, etc.
There are four kinds of conflict:
Character vs. character (physical): The leading character struggles with his physical strength against other men, forces of nature, or animals. It is external.
Example: Hamlet vs. Claudius (Hamlet)
Man vs. Destiny/Fate (classical): The leading character struggles against fate, or the circumstances of life facing him/her.
Example: Heathcliff vs. Destiny (Wuthering Heights)
Man vs. Society (social): The leading character struggles against social traditions, ideas, practices, or customs of other people.
Example: Oliver Twist vs. Society (Oliver Twist)
Man vs. Himself/Herself (psychological): The leading character struggles with himself/herself; with his/her own soul, ideas of right or wrong, physical.
Example: Hamlet vs. Procrastination
- The central message or the main idea in a literary work.
- A theme provides a unifying point around which the plot, characters, setting, point of view, symbols, and other elements of a work are organized.
- Themes often explore timeless and universal ideas and may be implied rather than stated explicitly.
Example: The theme of the story “The Gift of Magi” is love and sacrifice.
These key elements help to hold the story together and enable the author to develop the action in a logical way to hold the reader’s interest.