Study Guide

At the end of this unit you will be able to:
  • describe how authors use various techniques to define the characters
  • describe how authors use character descriptions to develop the story



Every person or animal who takes part in the action of a story, poem or play is called a character. The most important characters are called major characters. Everyone else is a minor character.

Character Traits.

A quality that a character exhibits is called a character trait. This trait can be indicated by the character's statements, actions, or thoughts.


For instance, an author may create a fictitious character by simply describing the character.


Karen was small for her age and inclined to plumpness. Her blue eyes viewed the people and events around her with a mixture of curiosity and amusement. She was not a woman, but she was past being a child; too sophisticated for toys, she might still, on impulse, turn a somersault on the living rug.