Characterisation



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  • Characterisation
  • Characterisation
  • How do we learn about characters?
  • What qualities do they have?
  • How is the character developed?

What they say

To Kill a Mockingbird is narrated by Scout as an adult looking back on a few years of her childhood life.

  • To Kill a Mockingbird is narrated by Scout as an adult looking back on a few years of her childhood life.
  • This means there is a dual narration throughout the novel.
  • Her young perspective of the world, seen as the events take place, is combined with a more mature and reflective viewpoint of an adult looking back.
  • Scout describes her and Jem’s thoughts and opinions throughout the novel about their father.

So, as a reader our impressions of Atticus are shaped by Scout’s narration.

  • So, as a reader our impressions of Atticus are shaped by Scout’s narration.
  • Our view and opinion of Atticus is largely influenced by the thoughts and feelings of both Scout and Jem.
  • As their impressions of Atticus change so do the readers’.

WHAT DO THE CHILDREN THINK ABOUT THEIR FATHER IN THE EARLY PARTS OF THE NOVEL

  • WHAT DO THE CHILDREN THINK ABOUT THEIR FATHER IN THE EARLY PARTS OF THE NOVEL
  • Intellectual
  • Boring
  • Physically unimpressive
  • Man of words not action
  • Cerebral
  • Lawyer
  • Passive
  • Unenergetic
  • Distant
  • Aloof
  • Bookish
  • Uninspiring
  • Nothing to be proud of
  • Overbearing
  • Authoritarian
  • Staid

IN PAIRS –FIND QUOTATIONS THAT SHOW THAT THE CHILDREN AREN’T THAT IMPRESSED BY ATTICUS IN THE EARLY STAGES OF THE NOVEL.

  • IN PAIRS –FIND QUOTATIONS THAT SHOW THAT THE CHILDREN AREN’T THAT IMPRESSED BY ATTICUS IN THE EARLY STAGES OF THE NOVEL.
  • Page
  • Reference
  • Quotation
  • P19/23
  • He hasn’t taught me anythine Miss Caroline. Atticus ain’t got time to teach me anything.”
  • “Why he’s so tired at night he just sits in the living room and reads”
  • P55/56
  • “When Atticus was out of earshot Jem yelled after him: I thought I wanted to be a lawyer but I ain’t so sure now”
  • P96
  • “I sure would. Atticus can’t do anything.”
  • P98/95
  • “Atticus was feeble: he was nearly fifty. .. our classmates said. My father...”
  • P99-102/96-98
  • Page
  • Reference
  • Scout says several things that tell us her feelings about her father and how she thinks he doesn’t do anything exciting or impressive just before the incident with Tom Johnson (The Mad Dog) when he surprises the children with his shooting prowess.
  • P99-102/96-98
  • “I wish my father was a devil from hell.”
  • “Everybody in town’s father was playing it seemed except Atticus”
  • “This modest accomplishment served to make me even more ashamed of him.”
  • “If your father was thirty you’d find life quite different. I’m sure I would, Atticus can’t do anything”
  • “Atticus wouldn’t teach us to shoot.”

If Atticus is thought of as boring, physically unimpressive and passive in the early stages of the novel, what does he do to change this view?

  • If Atticus is thought of as boring, physically unimpressive and passive in the early stages of the novel, what does he do to change this view?
  • His performance in the trial and the courage and determination that he shows.
  • Shows courage by standing up to the lynch mob and saving Tom Robinson’s life
  • Demonstrates his shooting prowess/marksmanship skills when he shoots the rabid dog.
  • .
  • Page
  • Reference
  • Quotation
  • P106/102
  • “Atticus pushed his glasses to his forehead; they slipped down, and he dropped them in the street. In the silence, I heard them crack.”
  • P106102
  • “With movements so swift... He didn’t know what hit him.”
  • P107103
  • “Jem became vaguely articulate...I can hit somethin’”
  • P108/P104
  • “Well now, Miss...Nome, I said meekly”
  • P108104
  • “Guess you’ll change your tune now... when he was a boy”
  • In pairs –find quotations that show Atticus as a man of action and impressive and evidence of the children changing their views.
  • Page
  • Reference
  • Quotation
  • P104
  • “Ain’t everybody’s daddy the... Maycomb County.”
  • P105
  • “Atticus is real old...just like me.”
  • P122
  • “Oh go on and leave me alone...I’m reading the paper.”
  • P152
  • “Link that boy might...until the truth is told.”
  • P157
  • “You can turn round...Atticus said pleasantly.”
  • In pairs – Discuss and write down why might we consider Atticus an admirable/heroic character?

Critical essay questions in English usually have at least 2 parts to each question. This is often overlooked.

  • Critical essay questions in English usually have at least 2 parts to each question. This is often overlooked.
  • You must answer all parts of the question with your response.

A critical essay question will usually finish by asking you to show how this...

  • A critical essay question will usually finish by asking you to show how this...
  • “...increases your understanding of the text as a whole.”
  • “...Affected your appreciation of the text as whole”
  • “...Influenced your view of the text as a whole.”
  • Or words similar to this.
  • At higher level you must explain this not simply state it when linking back to the question.

The simplest way and most effective way to do this is to explain how whatever the first part of the question asked you to do adds to your understanding of the main theme(s) of the novel.

  • The simplest way and most effective way to do this is to explain how whatever the first part of the question asked you to do adds to your understanding of the main theme(s) of the novel.
  • You could also refer where relevant to:
  • The main narrative of the novel
  • The struggle or journey of the character in the novel.
  • The setting of the novel
  • The main conflict in the novel...

It is better if you try to integrate discussion of this part of the question into your response throughout rather than present it as a separate key point at the end.

  • It is better if you try to integrate discussion of this part of the question into your response throughout rather than present it as a separate key point at the end.
  • Usually it is easiest and most sensible to try to do this at the end of each key point after you have given evidence and analysis to support that point.
  • Remember At higher level you must explain this not simply state it when linking back to the question.

For example when answering a question using Atticus about a character that we change our opinion of it would be wise to consider:

  • For example when answering a question using Atticus about a character that we change our opinion of it would be wise to consider:
  • How is the character development of Atticus used to highlight the theme of moral courage?
  • How is the theme of the difficulty in overcoming racism highlighted through Atticus’ development?
  • How is the symbolism in the title of the novel relevant to the character development of Atticus.
  • How does the setting affect the character development/change in character?


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