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19. Authors use 5 methods of indirect characterization: speech, appearance, private thoughts, actions, and descriptions of how other characters feel about the character. They also use direct characterization, expressly describing what a character is like. Choose two stories from Collection 2 and explain how the author uses atleast 3 characterization methods.

I chose the short stories Thank You Ma'am and A Christmas Story. This is what I have for the first story; is it alright?

Thank You Ma’am:
Langston Hughes uses appearance to describe the character of Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones. In the story she is described as being a large woman with a large purse, which had a long strap that was slung around her shoulder. By her speech, we can tell that Mrs. Jones lives in Harlem because she talks with slang. For example, she asks Roger “Ain’t you got anybody at home to tell you to wash your face?” Even though her grammar isn’t correct, Mrs. Jones seems like a caring person because her words are kind to Roger, even after he tried to steal her purse. This part of her character is revealed when she tells him, “You ought to be my son. I would teach you right from wrong.” Lastly, you can tell how the other character, Roger, feels about her because in the end of the story, he’s lost for words which is why the only thing he can manage to say to her is “Thank You Ma’am.”


  • Literature -

    A Christmas Memory:
    Truman Capote uses appearance to describe the character of Buddy’s cousin by stating in the story that she has shorn white hair and wears tennis shoes with a shapeless gray sweater over a summery calico dress. She is small and sprightly with hunched shoulders, and her eyes are sherry colored and timid. With this description, it is easy to image what Buddy’s cousin looks like. By her speech we can tell that the cousin has the mind of an excited youth; she exclaims “its fruitcake weather!” with delight on a cold morning in November. She also cries like a child if she gets scolded by the adults in the other house, and this lets us know that even though she is naïve, she is kind. The characters in the story are irritated by her, but Buddy, her cousin, loves her. He admires her in every way and even looks up to her. By the way Buddy describes her, its easy to realize that the cousin is indeed a wonderful character.

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