The Round, Flat, and Stock Characters of Rip Van Winkle
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One particular criterion character effectively supports the central idea in “Rip Van Winkle” by Washington Irving. The character's type develops with the personality development throughout the story. Three types of characters: round, flat, and stock, appear in most stories. The round character displays a fully developed personality and full emotions. Flat characters, also known as supporting characters, do not develop fully or express complex emotions. A stock character, also known as a stereotype, fits an established characterization from real life or literature. With these three types of characters leading the reader through the story, the reader learns the events taking place as well as the changes in the character’s lives. The author keeps the reader informed of the changes affecting the characters throughout the narrative through style. When a character undergoes a fundamental change in nature or personality during the story, the character has dynamic style. However, a character without change defines a static character. Although all characters have a style and type sometimes understanding the differences appears complicated. A chart often helps establish a better understanding of character type and style.
The author uses one main character, at most, two; only the protagonist and the antagonist exist as major characters. “Rip Van Winkle”, Washington Irving uses one main character to play both the role of the protagonist and the antagonist. In paragraph three lines, six and seven, the reader meets the protagonist. “…a simple good-natured fellow of the name of Rip Van Winkle” In paragraphs five and nine, lines one and two, and one and four, respectively, the reader encounters the antagonist. “The great error in Rip’s composition was an insuperable aversion for all kinds of labor.” “…Rip would rather starve on a penny than work for a pound.” Even though, in both cases where the reader encounters Rip Van Winkle, Rip only counts as one main character. Characterization occurs when the author draws an overall picture of the characters. Characterization happens in two ways in literature, by description and personality. The author uses the words a story to describe a character or imply the appearance of the characters through the text of the story. Introducing the personality of the character to the reader in words give or describe the personality of the characters or the words used imply certain things about the character. The protagonist in “Rip Van Winkle” the reader first meets in paragraph three, lines seven and eight, “… a simple good-natured fellow of the name of Rip Van Winkle.