Character Analysis through Narrative Detail, assignment help – Excelsior Writers |
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Character Analysis through Narrative Detail
One of the factors that made Their Eyes different from typical literature of the Harlem Renaissance was its total focus on the African-American community. Most of the literature of her peers focused on the lives of its characters as a reaction to the actions of the white community. By creating a fictional town that was 100% African-American, and by minimizing the roles of the white community in the novel, Hurston focuses instead on how the African-American community acted within itself, how the people interact and treat each other.

All the characters act and think for themselves in ways that Hurston felt were typical of people within that community. They make decisions, and the decisions they make have consequences, consequences for which they themselves deserve either blame or praise. This allowed Hurston to dwell on issues that some of her peers felt should not be put into writing, and it made her novel unpopular among many of them. They felt she made an unflattering portrait of some aspects of their community.

One of these aspects is feminism; this is considered to be the first feminist novel by a black writer. Janie’s grandmother compares black women to mules, and Hurston continues the analogy in several places in the novel—the women in the novel are treated by their men the same way the men treat their mules.

Hurston shows other controversial aspects as well.

In order to do all of this, she had to develop her characters effectively. These are all round characters, and most of them are dynamic as well. They have their strengths, and they have their weaknesses. People and their relationships have good qualities and bad qualities.

Character Narrative Assignment
Create a character of your own. Many writers choose their characters from people they actually know, which helps greatly in making them round, true-to-life characters. You may wish to do the same thing. Then write a narration in which your narrator general describes a passage of time and then focuses sharply on specific incidents. You will not have time to write a novel, of course, but you should be able to include at least two incidents that will develop your character. Your total length should not be more than a couple of pages.

Your grade will be based primarily upon your ability to handle the skill of narrative detail well. Remember to SHOW what the character is like through the character’s words and actions; don’t TELL us what the character is like.

Hint: Many writes not only choose their characters from people they know in real life, they also create incidents from events they have witnessed in real life, changing the details as they see fit to make the story turn out they way they want. For example, the novelist Phillip Roth had a number of girl friends over his life, and each one of them could expect to see details of her life with him appear in his next novel after the relationship was over.

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