#17. If you throw a dryer sheet at a static character, the static magically disappears…

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On Thursday last week, we learned that dynamic characters are ones that undergo a discernible and/or significant change throughout the narrative. A static character, on the other hand, does not change throughout the story. These are often minor characters, people who don’t matter much to the story. For example, in Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson, Jim Hawkins’ mother is a static character. Why? Because from the start of the novel to the end:

  • She doesn’t go anywhere.
  • Her personality doesn’t change.
  • Her physical body isn’t altered by scarring or a pregnancy or anything else that might change her physical appearance.
  • She doesn’t learn anything.
  • She doesn’t become a more resilient person.
language arts lesson powerpoint static vs dynamic characters state standards

Image: iClipart

In other words, nothing about Jim’s mom changes. That’s why she’s a static character. But what if we threw a dryer sheet in with her? How could we make her change from being a static character (one that never changes) to a dynamic character (one that does change)?

For this journal entry, choose a static character from your novel. Invent a different plot element that would change this character significantly, and hypothesize about how that would transform the static character into a dynamic character. Here’s an example:

  1. I’m reading Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.
  2. The static character I’ve chosen from my novel is Jim’s mom, because she never goes anywhere or does anything that changes her.
  3. I’m going to invent a plot in which she joins the treasure hunters and gets shot by pirates.
  4. That would change her, because she would have a physical injury. She might have to walk with a crutch after that, just like Long John Silver. In fact, she might even have more respect for Silver, because she would then understand how hard it is to have a physical handicap.
  5. She would then be a dynamic character, because she would have become more knowledgable about pirates, she would have a physical handicap, and she would have to learn how to cope with her disability.

To summarize, this is what you do:

  1. Tell your title and author.
  2. Name the static character you’ve chosen and explain why/how they are static.
  3. Invent a plot development that would change the static character to dynamic. (This is not something that really happened in the book, but something you make up.)
  4. Explain how that plot development would change your character.
  5. Pinpoint what would be dynamic about that character, due to the change you made to the plot.
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25 responses »

  1. A Christmas Carol BY: Charles Dickens
    for my static character im going to choose Scrooge’s nephew because he is always a poor and happy little boy

    i am changing the plot of the story that he wins the lotery and get to be a snooty rich kid

    he would change because he would no longer be poor and being happy and nothing can change that would go bye bye and fly right out the window

    he then would change into a dynamic character because he would no longer be happy and poor

  2. Im reading Robinson Crusoe By Daniel Defoe
    I am going to choose the captain of the ship because he died in the wreck.
    And it could of changed by if he survived the wreck he would of been a antagonist and it would of changed the setting a whole bunch.

  3. 1.I’m reading Island Of The Blue Dolphins by Scott O ‘Dell
    2.The static character I chose is Karana’ s sister because she doesn’t have a big part in the book.
    3.I’m going to invent a plot about Ulape and how she stays on the island with Karana instead of leaving.
    4.Ulape would change by being scared of the wild animals on the island and not be adventurous like her sister.
    5.Her dynamic character would change by being all responsible too being more protective over Karana because she woundn’t want to loose another family member

  4. my book is tarzan of the apes by edgar rice burroughs

    in my book i picked clayton tarzans real dad because he is always taking care of lady alice, he spends most his days working on somthing, he never goes anywere too far, and he defends himself from all the savage beasts

    if i made this a dynamic character it would be like if clayton ended up going really far from the little house built by him and the thing that would have changed is that he would go in the middle of the jungle and he usally doesn’t leave to far and it would be dynamic decause it would have changed

  5. 1:TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee.

    2:I’ve chosen Mrs. Dubose, because she was the meanest lady in Maycomb, and she only argued with the kids.

    3:My re-invented plot is for her to help Atticus with the jury incident and help him suck up the hate and names people call him.

    4:She would make a big impact on the story line and she’ll help the Finch family.

    5:Scout and Jem will no longer despise her and will put up a higher self-esteem for everyone. She is now a dynamic character because she takes a larger role in the book.

  6. 1. The Call of the Wild by Jack London.
    2. The static character I have chosen is the Judge because in the beginning of the book he doesn’t really do anything the book just talks about him as buck’s master.
    3. The static character would become dynamic if the plot changed to where he was the sled dog driver, and he was the one to work the dogs and train them to become good sled dogs.
    4. It would change him because instead of just being Bucks master in the beginning of the book he goes throughout the book taking part in the hardships that Buck and the other dogs had to go through.
    5. He would become dynamic because he would be right in the cold wilderness, and he would be there when they got attacked by reservoir dogs from the nearby Indian reservation.

  7. 1. I’m reading The Red Pony by John Steinbeck.
    2. The static character I’ve chosen from my novel is Jody’s mom because she never does anything or goes anywhere.
    3. I’m going to invent a plot in which she gets lost in the mountains and breaks her leg.
    4. That would change her, because she would have a physical injury. She might have to walk with a crutch after that or get it amputated.
    5. She would then be a dynamic character, because she would have become more knowledgable about the outdoors, she would have a physical handicap, and she would have to learn how to cope with her disability.

  8. 1.) I’m reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
    2.) The static character I’m choosing is Irene Adler from the mystery “A Scandal in Bohemia”. She is a static character because in the mystery, she never goes anywhere in the book; she stays in her house pretty much all of the time. She doesn’t have a change in any physical or emotional ways, and she’s very down to earth during the entire story.
    3.) Something that would be different to the plot would be that the king comes up with a plan to retrieve the photograph that kidnaps her, and antagonized until he gets what he wants.
    4.) You would see Irene in a very frightened state, unlike her calm self that is in the story. She would be in a different place and atmosphere, and perhaps with being antagonized, being physically hurt/abused.
    5.) Now, Irene would become a dynamic character, because she would play a more important role in the story; she would become more of a noticeable character, and she would probably have to force the king to realize that she would not embarrass him with love letters or photographs.

  9. Around the world in 80 days by Jules Verne

    1.The static charicter I choose is passeportout.
    2.Something that could make him a dynamic character is if him and Mr.Pheleas Fogg worked together and tell each other everything to complete there mission.
    3.This would change him because then he would’ve known what was going on and help Mr. Fogg with his adventure.
    4.He would become a dynamic character because he would just be woundering all the time why they’re in a hurry.

  10. 1. I’m reading The Red Pony by john Steinbeck
    2. The static character I’ve chosen from my novel is Jody’s mom, because she never goes anywhere or does anything that changes her.
    3. I’m going to invent a plot in which she is an expert on horses and helps jody raise his horse. She is going to be kicked in the face by the pony and get a broken nose.
    4. That would change her, because she would have a physical injury. She might have to wear a big bandage on her nose for a while and have a swollen face.
    5. She would then be a dynamic character, because she would have become more knowledgeable about horses, she would have a physical injury, and she would have to learn how to deal with the huge nose and learn to live with the social judgement.

  11. 1. Jane Eyre By Charlotte Bronte.
    2. The static character I have chosen from my novel is Miss Ingram because she doesn’t do anything she just stays the character that she started out to be.
    3. I ‘m going to invent a plot that she does marry Mr. Rochester and then soon becomes pregnant.
    4. This would change her because her physical appearance would change by her stomach would get larger. She might also have more affection towards Adele now that she is going to have a child of her own.
    5. She would then become a dynamic character because she would be living in a different house and would now have to take care of her child.

  12. 1. Roots by Alex Haley
    2. The static character of my book is Kunta’s first master because all he does is stay at home and get slaves.
    3. In the plot i would have his master out in the firlds helping pick cotton.
    4. This would change the master becuse he would have to work out in the field and he would get heatstroke and get badly hurt.
    5. He would be a dynamic character because he would have to learn how to work efficiently in the field and get used to the heat.

  13. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
    1. I have chose Rainy Pritchard for my static character.

    2. His physical appearance never changes he stays the same age.

    3. His personality never changes it is always rude.

    4. If he would have shown up every night that Billy went coon hunting then he would have changed personalities and would have been nicer and his physical appearance would have changed.

  14. 1. I’m reading Othello by Julius Lester.
    2. The static character I’ve chosen from my novel is Iago, because he never thinks about anyone but himself, and how he is so mean to people, especially Othello.
    3. I’m going to invent a plot in which he is injured while trying to ruin Othello’s and Desdemona’s relationship.
    4. That would change him, because he would have a physical injury. He might no one to help him when he needed it because of whatever injured he brought upon himself. Maybe then he would realize that, he got hurt when he was trying to hurt others, and he only hurt himself in the process, and he should learn to be nicer to people.
    5. He would then be a dynamic character, because he would have to learn to be nicer to people, because they are bound to help him when he needed it with his injury and all. I mean how can you say no to someone who’s hurt? It’s just not right and I can’t see anyone I know doing that. So with that they would have to help him, then after he recovers and does something mean to someone that helped him he would think of the nice things they did for him, and feel bad about what he did. Thus becoming nicer to people, based on actions they did to him, making him a dynamic character because he is changing the way he acts upon others.

    • How about this: what if Iago was banished to Africa, where he would then be a minority among the people? Maybe then he would learn to respect racial differences. Your answer is fine. I just thought I’d throw a different possibility out there.

  15. 1. I am reading The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
    2. The static character I’ve chosen from my novel is the cabin boy on the original ship, because all he does is get on the escape boats and leaves the ship with the rest of the crew. nothing really changes.
    3. I am going to invent a plot in which the cabin boy accidentally stays on the ship and goes to the Island with the Robinson family.
    4. That would change the cabin boy because he would learn how to live on the island, and become great friends with the Robinson family. He might also learn ingenuity and positive thinking alongside the boys as their father is teaching them.
    5. The cabin boy would be a dynamic character, because he learned a lot about living alone and he would probably become part of the Robinson family.

  16. 1. The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
    2. My static character is going to be Tante Anna. I chose her because she’s not mentioned in the book very much, and when she is, her feelings don’t change and she doesn’t change physically.
    3. I would change Tante Anna into a dynamic character by changing the plot into a little something like this: Tane Anna lives to see the day that the German soldiers take her family away. Corrie, Betsie, Casper, and herself are taken away to the concentration camps. She is put through the same thing as the other girls, but then dies of hard labor and starvation after Betsie.
    4. As you can see, this change in the story would effect not only her physical state, but also her emotional.
    5. This plot would make Tante Anna a dynamic character because she is mentioned more in the story, and goes through the same thing as the protagonist, and the deuteragonist, so this really puts her into the story. Her feelings are changed by feeling scared, and afraid. Her physical appearance is also changed because she will starve and that will definetly put a dent in her appearance.

    😦 Sad story, but I had to make up some way for her to become a dynamic character. . .

  17. 1.The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

    2.I have chosen Jimmy as my static character because he doesn’t really do anything. He is the good kid and is nothing like Tom.

    3.Jimmy becomes Toms dueteragonist and follows him around wherever he goes. He gets into lots of mischief just like tom and even steals.

    4.He would become a very bad child and would get beaten for his mistakes.

    5.He would get out and do more other than being a boring good kid.

  18. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck
    1.My static character is Lee Chong because he never does anything and stays in his store all the time.
    2.Something that could make him a dynamic character is if when Gay and his friends ask if they can use his truck if he would have went frog hunting with them.
    3.This would change him because he would have normally just thought about it and been smart enough to realize that it would have been a bad idea but instead he would have made a radicall decision. He probably would get into trouble.
    4.He would become a dynamic character because he would finally leave the store and do more activities and would make a poor decision for the first time in the book

  19. 1. I’m reading EMMA by Jane Austen
    2. The static character I’ve chosen from my novel is Jane Fairfax.
    3. I’m going to invent a plot in which she falls in love with Frank Churchill and they elope.
    4. That would change her, because she’s normally the kind of sophistocated lady who wouldn’t do anything wild and crazy. She always gives Emma proper responses to questions. She’s got great manners. And to elope with someone as energetic as Mr. Churchill would be a major character change for her.
    5. She would then be a dynamic character, because she would change from being very static but proper and elegant to being a sort of bad girl. It would also change her economic class, which for this book, is a major change.

    (I have seen the movie though, and I kind of remember that something like this actually does happen to Jane Fairfax. It’s pretty weird, because up to that point when she goes off with Frank, she’s a pretty basic character with nothing going on, except Emma is sort of jealous of her. That’s all. I kind of think Emma will like her better when she turns all bad-girl.)

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