Monday, February 5, 2018

Month 6 Week 4 Types of Characters

 Seven Common Character Types
by Terry W. Ervin II

Fiction writers employ a variety of characters while weaving their tales. Beyond the standard definitions of protagonist (the main character in a literary work) and antagonist (the main character or force that opposes the protagonist in a literary work), recognizing the types of characters and the parts they play while reading an interesting story can add to the experience. In addition, a fuller understanding of the character types and their uses can increase a writer’s effectiveness in weaving his own fictional tales.
Below is a list of common character types, followed by an explanation and short example.
Confidante- someone in whom the central character confides, thus revealing the main character’s personality, thoughts, and intentions. The confidante does not need to be a person.
Example: In a story, Melvin Sanders is a detective on the trail of a serial killer. He travels with his pet dog, a pug named Chops. Instead of listening to the radio, Melvin talks to Chops, telling him his theories about the serial killer and his concern he may never discover the killer’s identity.

In this example Chops is a confidante.
Dynamic Character - a character which changes during the course of a story or novel. The change in outlook or character is permanent. Sometimes a dynamic character is called a developing character.
Example: Ebenezer Scrooge, in A Christmas Carol by Dickens, was very stingy with his money. He worked his employees very very hard for little pay. After his experiences with the ghosts that visited him, he changed his ways, paying his employees a more than fair wage, providing days off work and actually giving gifts.

In this example Ebenezer Scrooge is a dynamic character.
Flat Character - a character who reveals only one, maybe two, personality traits in a story or novel, and the trait(s) do not change.
Example: In a story about a friendly teacher named Sandra Smith, Louis Drud is a janitor in her building. Louis is always tired and grumpy whenever Sandra runs across him and says hello.

In this example Louis Drud is a flat character.
Foil - a character that is used to enhance another character through contrast. Cinderella’s grace and beauty as opposed to her nasty, self-centered stepsisters is one clear illustration of a foil many may recall from childhood.
Example: The main character in a story, a teenager named Sally, is a very honest person. She always tries to tell the truth and consider everyone’s feelings. The teacher assigns Betty to be Sally’s science lab partner. Betty enjoys gossip and likes to see people’s reactions, especially if it involves hurt or embarrassment.

In this example Betty is a foil.
Round Character - a well developed character who demonstrates varied and sometimes contradictory traits. Round characters are usually dynamic (change in some way over the course of a story).
Example: A character in a story named Elaine never cuts anybody a break. She tells her friends and coworkers that charity and compassion have no place in society. On the other hand, Elaine can never pass up feeding a stray kitten or puppy, and always tries to find a good home for lost or abandoned pets.

In this example Elaine is a round character.
Static Character – a character that remains primarily the same throughout a story or novel. Events in the story do not alter a static character’s outlook, personality, motivation, perception, habits, etc.
Example: Bert, a bumbling salesman, never takes the time to organize his files, properly record his sales, or follow up with customers. Finally, his boss gets fed up and fires him. Bert struggles for two months to find a new sales position. During that time, his car is repossessed for nonpayment and he maxes out his credit cards. Bert finally finds a new sales position but, before a week passes, he is called into a conference with his new boss. Bert is informed he must get organized or he’ll be fired. A week later the new boss fires Bert after he fails to follow up with an important customer.

In this example Bert is a static character.
Stock Character - a special kind of flat character who is instantly recognizable to most readers. Possible examples include the “ruthless businessman”, “shushing old librarian” or “dumb jock.” They are not the focus nor developed in the story.
Example: The main character in a story, Bernard, is hired by a computer company. His secretary is a blonde named Gidget, who is cute but forgetful and never gets a joke.

In this example Gidget is a stock character.

Although the character types are listed separately, characters may be (and often are) a combination. A foil, for example, could also be a round, flat, or even a stock character. While most protagonists in novels are dynamic (change over the course of the novel) and round, they don’t have to be, especially if the novel is plot driven as opposed to character driven. It’s not unheard of for a short story to feature a static protagonist.

Some character types are, by definition, opposite and cannot be considered. For example, one cannot have a character that is both flat and round, or a character that is both static and dynamic.

The terms are useful for understanding a character and his place within the story. But, in the end, it is not about how a character can be named and classified (except maybe within the confines of a literature course). As a writer, it’s all about understanding the characters as you create and bring life to them for the reader.

Copyright © Terry W. Ervin II. All rights reserved.

Discuss an interesting character from a piece of literature you have read. What made them memorable. 

Month 6 Week 3 Motifs

How does motif fit in? Here’s where students (and adults) become confused. A motif is a meaningful pattern of symbols, character types, actions, or events that reinforce the theme. A motif is not the theme, but it paints a picture of the theme for the reader to discover. A symbol by itself is not a motif—however, if the symbol repeats throughout the work, it may be a motif.

  1. Color
If audiences see a new character wearing black clothes, enter the scene from the shadows, or travel under the cover of night, chances are there’s trouble brewing. Color is one of the strongest motifs in literature, and colors often represent the same emotions or themes across genres. Even the youngest audiences recognize that white represents purity or goodness, black is evil or deceit, red is passion or anger, and so forth. Although there are certainly exceptions, color remains a consistent motif and curriculum writers would do well to point students to these recurring motifs.
  1. Weather
In literature, nothing good ever happens on a “dark and stormy night.” Weather is a strong motif in literature in part because it has real-world applications; rather than people assigning an abstract meaning to natural events, we can observe the real changes weather creates and we connect these changes to corresponding events in literature. For example, in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, thunder and lightning accompany the witches, rain and storms serve as the backdrop for murders, and fog rolls over Scotland as Macbeth begins his quest for the throne. In The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gatsby and Daisy have an uncomfortable, gloomy reunion in the pouring rain, Gatsby and Tom have an angry confrontation on the hottest day of the year, and Gatsby dies on the first day of fall. Curriculum writers can develop activities for students to study the different weather motifs in literature and maybe even come up with their own examples of weather motifs in works from outside the classroom.
  1. Keys
What’s behind that locked door or gate—a secret garden, an insane wife, a three-headed dog? Keys as motif pop up in many well-known works of literature. They can represent protection, secrets, or growth, but what other else can a key do? Curriculum writers can use key motifs to encourage students to think about how new information can change a character for better or worse.

  1. Quest
A quest is more than a bit of travel; it’s a journey to find or save something, filled with difficult and dangerous adventures along the way. When an author frequently mentions the many challenges the protagonist must overcome, the reader is experiencing a lesson on personal growth, redemption, or other themes the author wishes to explore. Dorothy comes back from Oz with a greater love for Kansas and understanding of her own capabilities, Bilbo Baggins returns to the Shire a wealthy and wise hobbit, and Jesse learns to overcome tragedy as he travels to and from Terabithia. Travel and journeys almost always point to the growth of a character, but curriculum writers can encourage students to dig deeper into the literature to discover nuanced ways authors show how the characters have changed during their travels.
  1. Abandonment
So many heroes and villains alike are deeply influenced by being abandoned at some point in their stories, often as babies or children. Being left alone forces a character to make choices without the encouragement or support of anyone else, and when characters experience abandonment repeatedly in a story, the author may be building a commentary on loyalty, self-worth, or resilience. Recurring abandonment by men in Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie—first by the family patriarch, then by the “gentleman caller” Jim, and finally by the narrator, Tom—causes both women to retreat further from reality. Abandonment is often unpleasant, of course, and curriculum writers should exercise sensitivity, as abandonment could be an issue students are struggling with in their own lives. Solid curriculum writing addresses the ways characters, and thus students, can grow capable and compassionate in these circumstances.  (
Follow this link to learn more.  Motifs
Discuss the motif found in the novel you are currently reading or one you have read in the past. 

Monday, January 29, 2018

Month 6 Week 1 Pathos, Ethos, Logos

Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence.

Pathos, Ethos, Logos what are they? 

Pathos Ethos Logos

On Tuesday night, President Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address. The State of the Union is one of the most-watched political events of the year. The president gives a speech that usually highlights accomplishments and talks about the future. After the speech, someone from the opposing party (in this case a Democrat) gives a response to the speech. While it’s hard to predict what Trump will do or say, he is expected to mention several key issues during speech. 
 As you watch (listen) to the speech please comment on his use of pathos, ethos, and logos. 

Month 6 Week 2 Allusions Again!


When authors refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. 

Historical, biblical, literary, artistic, and cultural
Finding allusions in literarture.

Review these simple allusions identify and interpret, then find two examples on your own using a piece of literature you have read and post at a minimum of two for your collegues to identify and interpret. Try to address at least two from the categories in blue.

1.  it was such an obvious lie I was surprised his nose didn't start growing.

2.  On his first trip to hawaii he was so amazed by its beauty he though it must be the Garden of Eden.

3. They were on a diet, but ice cream was their Achilles heel.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Month 5 Week 1 Test practice

Greetings scholars, your mid-terms are scheduled for the week of January 16th. If you are taking Dr. Chipman's LA class or have permission from your facilitaing teacher, you will be taking the final on Friday 1/19 at 10:15.

Follow the directions listed here to acess your LA study guide for the
mid-term. It is a practice test that is VERY similar to your mid-term. Please go to:
Type in your student id where indicated
Access code
Freshmen Z9P2ETY
Sophomore 6BHPZ7P
Take the test, there are 20 questions.
After the test go back into sign in using the same codes and log in .
You will see on the screen:
Your points
Percent correct
Top right green tab review: click, this will take you to the test and your answers for a review of your choices and the correct choices.
This is a practice test that is exactly what your mid-term will look like. If you want more practice take both. Your mid-terms will follow the same format. Pay close attention to how the questions are asked, what they are looking for in terms of literary evaluation. 

Month 5 Week 2 Literary Terms

Discuss how important it is to KNOW literary terms.
Try this Quizlet first Lit terms quizlet then watch Literary Terms

Month 5 Week 3 Allusions

Discuss the use of Allusions in a piece of literature you have read.
An allusion is when a person or author makes an indirect reference in speech, text, or song to an event or figure. Often the allusions made are to past events or figures, but sometimes allusions are made to current famous people or events.
The allusion does not give much detail about the reference-it does not describe things in detail. Rather, because these events are momentous-significant historically, culturally, or politically-the speaker or author expects that people in general would understand the allusion without explanation.
Allusions are often used within a metaphor or simile. The comparison alludes to an event or person of significance that everyone should understand.
Allusions often make reference to previous works of literature, especially references to the Bible and Greek or Roman mythology.
Examples of Allusion:
Examples of Allusions:
1. Your backyard is a Garden of Eden. (Biblical allusion)
2. I guess I should see this message about a new job as my burning bush. (Biblical Allusion)
3. When you feel betrayed by a friend, you can say, "You too, Brutus?" (allusion to Julius Caesar-Brutus betrayed Caesar)
4. You're a regular Einstein. (allusion to a historical figure)
5. When your parents learn about your new plan to raise money, it's going to sink like the Titanic. (allusion to a historical event)
6. You are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. (reference to Atlas in myth)
7. That man is so narcissistic. (reference to Narcissus in mythology)
8. Don't be a Scrooge! (reference to A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens)
9. Potato chips are my diet's Achilles heel. (reference to Achilles in mythology)
10. Many states have laws that protect Good Samaritan's. (reference to the Bible) (, 2017)

Month 6 Week 4 Types of Characters

  Seven Common Character Types by Terry W. Ervin II Fiction writers employ a variety of characters while weaving their tales. Beyond the...