Every reader has a favorite author; one who creates literature in a way that strikes them emotionally or catches their attention. Each author writes in a unique form, or an author’s style, to introduce literary elements to their writing. A key piece of an author’s overall writing style is how they introduce and develop characters. An author utilizes characterization to describe personal thoughts and appearance by usage of a direct description of the character, another character’s words or opinions of the character being described, or the character’s own words, thoughts, or actions.
Characterization is important to an author’s style of writing because it allows the reader to compare a character’s changing thoughts, feelings, and actions throughout the story to reveal their level of maturation and acceptance of the plot. Authors Silvia Plath of Initiation, and Rona Maynard of The Fan Club, use both similar and different techniques of introducing characters to their stories. Both authors create the personality and appearance of their main characters by presenting their thoughts.
Silvia Plath describes her main character, Millicent, overall as a plain, shy, brown-haired girl from Lansing High School, looking to revolutionize the way students in her school accept individual personalities by opting out of an invitation to join the “popular” sorority. To highlight these points of Millicent’s character, Plath writes: “What girl at Lansing High would not want to be in her place now? Millicent thought, amused. What girl would not want to be one of the elect, no matter if it did mean five days of initiation before and after school, ending in the climax of Rat Court on Friday night when they made the new girls members? At the end of the story, Plath includes Millicent thinking to herself, “How she had proved something to herself by going through everything, even Rat Court, and then deciding not to join the sorority after all. And how she could still be friends with everybody. ” These examples of Millicent’s thoughts describe her personality, intentions, and her hopefulness to create acceptance of individuality. Similarly, Rona Maynard includes the thoughts of her main character, Laura, criticizing the exclusive “popular” crowd at her school.
To show Laura’s jealousy, Maynard writes, “She [Laura] thought of their identical brown loafers, their plastic purses, their hostile stares as they passed her in the corridors. She didn’t care. They were clods, the whole lot of them. ” By presenting their thoughts, both authors created the personalities of the main characters. In addition to including characters’ thoughts, Silvia Plath and Rona Maynard introduce characters by way of direct characterization. In this method of character development, the author describes what the character is like in appearance, personality, or both.
Plath brings in a minor character Betsy Johnson, simply by describing her as, “the vivacious blonde secretary of the sorority”. As another example Silvia Plath writes, “She [Louise Fullerton] was another celebrity in high school, pretty and dark and Vice-President of the Student Council. ” Similarly, Rona Maynard describes one of her main characters as, “Rachel Horton- alone as always, her too-long skirt billowing over the white, heavy columns of her legs, her freckled face ringed with shapeless black curls. ” Both authors use examples like these to present their characters in the narration of the story.
Although Plath and Maynard use comparable ways of characterization in their novellas, there is a notable difference in their pieces of literature. In the closing of The Fan Club, Laura’s action of joining in with the bullying of the group that she had originally disliked shows that her original thoughts and scoffs against the group were based out of jealousy. As a character, Maynard uses Laura’s actions to unveil a personality with a need for acceptance, and Laura’s will to do anything, including turn to bullying her so-called friend, to gain it.
Unlike Maynard, Silvia Plath uses Millicent’s actions of going through with the initiation ceremony of joining the sorority, to develop a positive outcome of personality. Millicent decides to make a decision to prove a point that individuality should be accepted by not joining the sorority after she receives the invitation. However, Plath does not include the actual action of Millicent declining the invitation, but rather leaves the story at her walking to where she will be offered the invitation, but thinking to herself that she will not accept.
Maynard uses actions to characterize Laura at the end of the story, while Plath leaves off with Millicent’s thoughts. Silvia Plath and Rona Maynard use characterization in similar ways. However, the differences in their technique create their unique author’s style. A comparison of the two novellas reveals that although both stories are based on a similar topic of acceptance, the different ways of displaying characterization creates each author’s individual style of writing.