Characters in literature are very important aspects of literature. They drive the story and the plot. They also provide opportunities for authors to drove into general themes about life. Characters are the most analyzed elements in literature because they provide the richest critical analysis of the author’s intent. In order to analyze characters in literature, it is important to read who and what these characters are and the ways they relate to the overall themes in the story. Following are the steps….
Read the whole text. Take the notes on the characters. Underline passages in which a character is described both physically and psychologically. What do the descriptions say about the character?
Determine that how the character’s personality relates to the plot. What type or kind of person is the character and how does she go about dealing with problems? For example, is the character a busybody gossip? If so, in what ways does this relate to the plot or to the other characters in the story?
Take note of the environment in which the character is living and how does the character is responding to that environment? For example, if the character is a drifter, how does he relate to the town that he has drifted into? How do the other characters relate to him? What are the contrasts or comparisons between the character and his environment?
Determine what is motivating the character. What does she want? For example, the busybody gossip might be a lonely woman who wants to make friends through gossip. The drifter might simply want a place to stay for the night.
Take note of how the character is going about getting what he wants and how this might relate to his psychological makeup. For example, the drifter might lie about his background to convince a woman to let him stay at her home. What does this say about the drifter? How does it reveal his attitudes toward people or himself?
Determine the author’s purpose in creation of the character. What are the themes in the story and how does the characters relate to the theme? For example, the story of the drifter can be about how people deceive themselves and others. The author’s purpose in creating such a character will drive this theme and the story’s plot.
Literature is the best criticism of life and it is the study of society. Literature is a direct reflection of life and it reflects what is happening in the society. It portrays the real picture of changes occurring in the society in different ways. These changes may be the social, political religious and scientific changes. Literature also illustrates the moral and legal norms, culture and civilizations, ideas and beliefs of the society. Literature takes its themes from the very changes occurring in the society and from which it come out. Society is depicting though the different genres of literature such, as poetry, drama, novel etc. so Literature is a mirror of society because it portrays the real image of society. Every writer has a little influence of society in which he has bought up. A literary writer has very close relation with his society and very attuned to the changes and they take innovation from their own society and transfer their imagination, observation, revelation, affections and perception into their text. Thus literature and society are interlinked and writers both consciously and unconsciously assimilate the very important link in their texts.
2.3.1 Karl Marx Criticism
By literary theory, Karl Marx has also contributed to the literature. According to Karl Marx the work which is written by different writers is not due to by some godly or mythical revelation rather these writers get persuaded by their instantaneous surrounding which is the current composition and prevailing economic system of the society, social order of the classes, moral and legal norms of the individuals and from the government institutions in society.
Marxist criticism on literature is not simply a theory or piece of literature. It is also not concerned with literary text which is related to the lower class. The main objective of this theory is to explain the work of art and literature more thoroughly and more perfectly with fully attention to its form and style. But from those style and form it would suggest that it is a product and representation of society.
Novel is the important genre of English art and literature which is the main medium for depicting and illustrating the issue of class conflict. In English literature this genre has appear in the beginning of 18th century with the birth of middle class in the society. In the eighteen century a new class was emerged because of industrialization and economic growth in the Europe. The new class was middle class and the novel was being written to get acclaimed from this new class or middle class. In fact it portrays and describes the entire society. Various scholars and writers deal with these experiences of life in their own way.
The Oxford Dictionary defines novel as “a fictions prose narrative of book length, typically representing character and action with some degree of realism.” The Literary J.A Cuddon states that Novel is not only a common attribute but it also possesses many other characteristics and most important distinguished characteristic is its illustration of actual life circumstances and immediate society. Through different characters, different settings, and various themes it is a best medium to illustrate the contemporary society.
Since its beginning in eighteenth century, Class conflict on the basis of status, power, economic incongruity and many others factors is being shown in the novel. The novel seem to be a real depiction of the society by showing the significance of financial and social status in a community and socio- economic condition and the changing position of the characters from one to another status. Due to this illustration of the society, a novel can be easily understood with respect to the relation with immediate environment, the financial and social status, the socio-economic conditions, the current and influential ideas and beliefs, and the moral and legal norms