Paragraph on Characterization

Write an analytical paragraph on characterization in Lee Maracle’s short story “Who’s Political Here?” Below is an example of brainstorming notes and a paragraph draft (not the final revision) on characterization in Sherman Alexie’s story.

  • Protagonists: Victor and Thomas
  • Antagonist: ?
  • Secondary: Norma the warrior, Cathy the gymnast
  • Rounded: Victor, Thomas
  • Flat:
  • Dynamic: Victor
  • Static: Thomas
  • Dialogue, action, description, inner thoughts

In the short story “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona,” Sherman Alexie uses characterization to examine how traditional culture can reconnect people to community. Alexie gives us two protagonists who are no longer friends but need each other once again: Victor needs Thomas to embark on his quest, while Thomas needs a listener for his stories. Both are rounded characters, disconnected from but in need of community: Victor is disconnected from his community and even his family who “didn’t have any use at all for him,” but finds himself with “a sudden need for tradition” when his estranged father dies, while Thomas is rejected by his community in his traditional role of storyteller “that nobody wanted to listen to.” Victor is also a dynamic character, once a childhood friend of Thomas but later beating him up as a teen “for no reason at all,” then finally accepting Thomas’s help and offering an apology as a young adult. Thomas, meanwhile, is a more static character who was a storyteller before he “even had the words to speak” and would “remain the crazy storyteller” and hears “a new story come to him” at the very end.


About susanbriscoe

English teacher, writer
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