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English 10: Class Notes  October 10, 2001

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In this week's class, students worked together in a writing workshop called, Group Questions and Writing Assignment on The Father.

This week, we saw how the author of the story, "The Father," used the methods of characterization to make a character.

Important to note: Revealing character in a story is done the same way as revealing a person's character in our own lives. We also know and understand people through their actions and words

Combined notes from the two classes:

Character is a personality (in real life).

The Father is a fiction (not true, not real)

In a story we have a paradox. The characters are both real and not real at the same time.

Characters are made (created, imagined) using some materials. If a person in a story speaks, we can analyze his words. We can also look at his actions. We can also look at his dress and physical appearance.

Character is how we are different from one another or special in some way. It is the personality of some individual. Sometimes we see some of this in dress, makeup, and so on.

This man, Thord, is not real. However, he is like a real person. We know some of his personality (character). How?

The writer makes characters. The methods he or she uses are called, characterization.

From actions and what that person says. Thord asks for favours, repeatedly. What can we say about him from these actions?

Answers to question on Thord's character:

He is very self-centered. This can be seen because he wants all things arranged in his own way. For example, he wants to have the “first place” when his son is confirmed.

He is a stingy man. This can be seen when he doesn’t want to pay the priest until he “had heard what place he had been given.”

He is an arrogant man. He would like his son to be “baptized on his own.” (without other children as would be normal)

The son has through his death changed the father’s attitude toward life. The selfish father has changed into a generous man, who now respects others, whereas before he had not respected. He has also found that money is not the most important value.

He is a good father, since he takes care of the son’s interests. Perhaps he pampers him too much.

Thord is rude and arrogant with the priest. He wants special treatment for his son, and he pays money for it. He asks very directly for what he wants and assumes he will get it.

He is interested only in his son and his son’s needs and not for the needs of his community. He is self-interested.

Answers to question on the priest's character:

The priest asks, “Is there anything else?” This leading question shows that the priest is trying to teach or advise Thord, but will not force him to this way of thinking. Rather, he seems to believe, that when ready a person will have an answer.

The priest asks each time if Thord has anything else to say. Possibly he is also self-interested and wishes to see if there is anything else he can receive money for. Or, he is a caring man who sees Thord’s character and is inviting him to become a better person. The priest is perceptive and wants him to change.

Answers to question on the blessing Thord has received as the result of his son's death:

The author means that the death of the son has caused Thord to be a better man, kinder, more generous and so on. This is the blessing. He now follows the religion more closely than ever before.

Before his son’s death the money is used to promote or support his son’s interests. After his death, the money is used for the poor or the church, so this has been a direct “blessing” to the church from Thord.

He realized who he was, although he was a very powerful man. Now he has become an old man and he realized he belongs to all parishioners. Finally, he confessed his weakness after his son died.

 

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