Direct and Indirect Characterization Study Guide
Definition: The author describes the character using direct statements.
Example: Juli (who has a crush on Byrce) has been giving him and his family eggs from her chickens. Byrce, who does not return Juli’s feelings, has been throwing them out.
– From Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
We know that Juli likes Bryce because the author comes out and tells us. We know that Bryce doesn’t like Juli back, which is a bummer for Juli. The author tells us directly.
Definition: The character’s traits are suggested through the character’s actions, thoughts, and words
Example: She stood frozen with the eggs in her hands while I dumped the rest of the trash. “Why did you throw them out?” she asked, but her voice didn’t sound like Juli Baker’s voice. It was quiet. And shaky. – From Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
We infer as readers that Juli is upset, but the author doesn’t just say “Juli was surprised and upset that her eggs were being thrown out.” The author shows us indirectly.