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Hilfen und Mittel | How to write a characterisation


Bei der Charakterisierung eines Textes gibt es klare Richtlinien, an die sich zu halten sind.
Hier bekommt ihr eine Überblick darüber.

Different characters

Characters in a noval can be introduced by their outward appearence, their words, their behaviour and changes in their qualities. The author also points out the relationchip between the characters of the story during the plot of the novel. There are main and minor charactors in a noval. Main characters appear more often and are all important for the development of the plot. They also influence the plot by their thoughts, words, deeds and their interaction with other characters. Minor characters are also necessary for a noval but not that much for the main plot. They support the main characters and play a part for the subplot. Further characters can be distinguished between round and flat characters. That characters may have several characteristic features but the most important one is that they don't have the ability to change.

Aufbau einer"characterisation"

Haltet Euch an gewissen Punkte zur Bearbeitung einer Characterisierung und dann sollte nichts schief gehen:
» outer appearance
» behaviour
» thoughts
» feelings and emotions
» language


outer appearance behaviour / attitude communicate
» (feature to describe a person/charactor) » direved from the wag people act, » elements
  » people behave towards others, » way of speaking
  » people speak to others
  » the way they think and feel impressions and effects on reader
  » the values they express  
punch-line (of SF-stories) Science Fiction
» (surprise) ending of a story/text » SF deals with virtuell characters
» the point of the story / text » entertainment purpose, didactic purpose
» different from the SF-setting  
» giving a distinct perspective / angle on the events » Alien= das Fremdartige in unserer Welt
» showing the intention of the story  
» reserving the understanding of the story  

Example for a characterisation of a SF literature

» » » Not Yet the End by Fredric Brown, 1941
The second of the four major themes concerns The Alien. This word means literally stranger or foreigner, but is widely used in SF literature for an inhabitant of another planet. The word includes the idea of being very different from what we are used to, and almost always implies something very unpleasant, and usually dangerous, as in this short story by Fredric Brown
Text ...

Characterisation of "Not Yet the End by Fredric Brown" (in keywords)

outer appearence
» dead-white skin
» single faced eye, front center in the head
» three-fingered hand
» more than two arms
» sleep is unknown for them
» mercy is unknown for them as well
» cruel features
» fearless
» searching for suitable slaves in order to survive (they want specimens)
» they have the opportunity to be invisible
» destruction is not their purpose unless it is necessary
» they are keen to find slaves and manipulate the mechanismof the airlock
» they think they have to look a thousand places to find suitable slaves
» they are in high hopes to find some slaves, but they are realistic
» they are afraid that their race will die
» they would like to be honored
» they feel superiot concerning their intelligence
» special words for their inventions
» strange names
» ordinary language
» short sentances, very direct

Figurative language

Figurative language is deviates (weicht ab) from what we think is the standard meaning or sequence of words. It is used to create a special meaning or effect. In contrast to this, literal language in its broadest sense means the complete accordance (Übereinstimmung) with standard usage.Two figures of thought are listed here:

In a simile a comparison between two distincly different things is shown by the word "like" or "as". A simple example: "O my love's like a red, red rose." (Burns)
In a metaphor a word which in standard (or literal) usage means one king of thing, quality or action is applied to another. The form is rather a statement of identity than a comparison. (Thus "My love is a red, red rose." technically is a metaphor). Here is a complex example from Stephen Spender:
Eye, gazelle, delicate wanderer,
Drinker of horizon's fluid line.
Metaphors can be analysed in two elements: the tenor and the vehicle.
The term tenor is used for the subject to which the metaphoric word is applied ("my love" in the changed line from Burns, and "eye" in Spender). And the term vehicle is used for the metaphor word itself ("rose" in Burns and "gazelle", "wanderer" and "drinker" in Spender).
In an implicit metaphor the tenor is not named, but is implied by the verbal context. Consequently, if one says "That reed was too frail (gebrechlich) to survive the storm of its sorrows," the context shows that "reed" is the vehicle for an unstated tenor, i.e. a human being. All the metaphoric examples so far have been nouns, but other parts of speech may also be used metaphorically.

Language / Style

spoken English written English informal English formal English
informal words formal words simple and informal words formal words
incomplete sentences complex sentences (e.g. blooming nonsense) (e.g. absolute nonsense)
(e.g. Lovely to see you.) (e.g. It would be delightful to see you again if you could visit us soon.)    
short forms no short forms short sentences complex senences
(e.g. isn't, can't, didn't)   (e.g. I came home at six. Then I read the paper.) (e.g. Having come home I read the paper.)
fillers no fillers personal style impersonal style
(e.g. er ..., um ..., hm .., well ...)   (e.g. first and second person reference: I, you; questions) (e.g. The meeting was fixed for two p.m.)
    (e.g. Can you come to our meeting at two o'clock?)  
tags no tags    
(e.g. ...., isn't he?)      
Here are some examples of the two registers:
Dear Sir or Madam,
would you please be so kind as to send me some information about Brighton where I intend to spend my holiday.
Dear John,
it's been ages since we've seen you. Why don't you come over next weekend?
Sorry, can't tell you the way to the station. spoken
I am honoured to welcome you to this meeting. I'd like to express my thanks to all of you for joining us today. spoken
It was not in fact John that dit it. spoken
Morgan to Stephens: a brilliant pass, that. Er ... And the score still: Bournemouth 4, Brentford 1. spoken
Out distinguished guests are requested to ascend to the second floor. spoken
Up you get, you fellows. spoken

Some phrases and words

Here you will find some useful phrases and words which help you for a better examination.
The atmosphere of the | play | is ..., because ...
The | setting | creates a/an ... atmosphere.
  description of ...  

calm (ruhig) aggressive (aggressiv)
carefree (sorgenfrei) cold (kalt)
peaceful (friedlich) dark (dunkel)
safe (sicher) gloomy (schwermütig)
serene (heiter) tense (gespannt)
sad (traurig) threatening (drohend)

The | author | describes the |
characteristic features |
of ...
  narrator   activities  
          outward appearance  

The following characteristics are typical | aspects | of ...
The main character's behaviour is polite.

(positive)   (negative)  
balanced (ausgeglichen) aggressive (aggressiv)
calm (ruhig) brutal (brutal)
courageous (mutig) cruel (grausam)
friendly (freundlich) desperate (verzweifelt)
good-natured (gutmütig) impatient (ungeduldig)
moderate (gemäßigt) impolite (unhöflich)
modest (bescheiden) impulsive (impulsiv)
patient (geduldig) intemporate (unbeherrscht)
polite (höflich) intolerant (intolerant)
reasonable (vernünftig) irritable (reizbar)
self-controlled (beherrscht) obstinate (eigensinnig)
self-assured (selbstbewusst) ruthless (rücksichtslos)
sensible (vernünftig) self-centred (ichbezogen)
sensitive (empfindsam) stubborn (halsstarrig)
tolerant (tolerant)    

to be |
concerned (besorgt) bothered (beunruhigt)
  confident (zuversichtlich) excited (aufgeregt)
  content (zufrieden) fearful (furchtsam)
  hopeful (hoffnungsvoll) frightened (erschrocken)
  optimistic (optimistisch) nervous (aufgeregt)
  patient (geduldig) pessimistic (pessimistisch)
  pleased (erfreut) upset (aufgeregt)
  satisfied (zufrieden) sad (traurig)
  worried (beunruhigt) shocked (schockiert)

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