For all you novelists and short story writers out there, you may have heard that the first three methods of developing characters in a story are:
1.) Dialouge: Where the naunces of personality are revealed through each character’s mannerisms of speech.
2.) Direct: Intended examples: He was this tall. She wore these gloves. He allways ate with his mouth open.
3.) Indirect: Having other characters in the story tell us what a certain character is like.
Of course there is a hidden, fourth method of characterization concealed within this third method. A character, such as a narrator included within the story, reveals his character to us, as well, each time he makes a statement about another character.
If the character is gracious and speaks highly about another, this might cause the readers to view this character in a better light. A character who speaks positively of others may also have more credibility to readers. And visa-versa.
Interestingly enough both The Great Gatsby and The Sun Also Rises are short novels that employ a firstperson narrator who is present in the story and who describes the adventures of the protagonist. It’s occurred to me lately that one of the reasons that I prefer The Great Gatsby is that, unlike The Sun Also Rises, it has a narrator that speaks with admiration of its protagonist.
When authors compose works in which their narrators speak negatively of the protagonist, they are actually imparting a great handicap to that narrator by not allowing the use of positive language. Sure, the protagonist may lack something. But lacking something just isn’t very descriptive.