Answered By: James Whitmer
Last Updated: Jun 05, 2020     Views: 1

Here are a few, but not all, of the terms for literary characters that can help describe them:

  • Static: A static character does not change its personality, qualities, or traits during the course of the story.
  • Dynamic: The opposite of static, a dynamic character does change in some way during the story -- usually, but not always, they experience some form of growth in a positive direction (e.g. from self-hatred to self-acceptance). A character can also undergo a negative change, however (e.g. honorable to deceitful).
  • Flat: A flat character is often described as one-dimensional, which means the reader usually only sees one facet of their personality (e.g. they are just loyal, selfish, honest, arrogant, etc.).
  • Round: The opposite of flat, a round character is more lifelike because the reader sees someone who demonstrates many differing traits that can even create their own sources of conflict.
  • Stock: A stock character has such a specific set of well-known traits and has been used in literature so much before that it has become a tradition of its associated genre. For example, many high school movies or TV shows have the stock characters of "nice, popular girl;" "jock who is a jerk;" "shy, dorky nerd;" and "uptight, strict professor;" among many others.
  • Foil: A foil directly opposes another character regarding one or more of their motivations, behaviors, and personality traits so that they cannot help but clash. For instance, if the main character is shy, generous, and serious, their foil would likely be boisterous, selfish, and funny.