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Thread: Major Characters and Minor Characters?

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    Major Characters and Minor Characters?

    How do you distinguish which characters in a book are Major or Minor? Are there many Major characters or is it just the protagonist and antagonist? What characters count as "minor characters"? Every other character other than the major ones? I'm have trouble distinguish.

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    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    I think some books have one major character (protagonist) and others have many. I think you can define a major character as one who is involved in many of the conflits throughout the book. Major characters are the ones you really get to know as opposed to those who simply appear in one chapter or two.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Integral View Post
    How do you distinguish which characters in a book are Major or Minor? Are there many Major characters or is it just the protagonist and antagonist? What characters count as "minor characters"? Every other character other than the major ones? I'm have trouble distinguish.

    Well,this is a Theory of Literature problem, and it's not an easy one. In some books it's quite easy to distinguish the fact that there is one major character, someone who leads the plot and without whom the books would have no meaning at all. Raskolnikoff is, definitely, the one and major character in Crime and Punishment, although Sonya is also important, but not really the core of the book. She's more a minor character. However, in Lord of the Flies, Jack, Ralph and Piggy are the major characters, not only because the author focus them a lot, but also because their characters are very psychologically very developed. Of course others, like Simon and the "Lord of the flies" (I see it as a character ) are very important, but not as much as the previous ones. So, I'd say these two are just minor characters.
    I've just read the Call of the Wild and there is no doubt that Buck, a simple dog, is the Major character and all the others have a minor role, even Spitz, the archrival, is no macht in kind of plot relevance.
    All in all, it's not always easy to define what a major character is, but you have to think that "who dominates the story" (http://www.learner.org/exhibits/lite.../charact2.html) is,usually, the major one.
    Last edited by Psychosis; 08-01-2007 at 07:03 AM.

  4. #4
    I'd say a minor character is when the only interesting thing about them is how they relate to the major character. They can't exist on their own.

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