Alex Haley’s Roots: the Saga of an American Family–Journal Writing Prompt #6

roots by allex haley static characters dynamic dinamic characters

Image: iClipart

A static character does not change throughout the story. (Click on my link for details.) 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.

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 Roots by Alex Haley. 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 (i.e. one that does change during the course of the story). 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 need to do, 4Gamerboy1997:

  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 static character.
  5. Pinpoint what would be dynamic about that character, due to the imaginary change you made to the plot.

Do you see those five questions I’ve written above? Just copy them and paste them directly into the comment box under this blog post. Then type your answers to each of the five requirements. Remember to use complete sentences, good spelling, and good grammar. Thanks!


One response »

  1. Roots Alex Haley
    The character I chose is Omoro, Kunta’s father, to be the static character because he does not really change in the story because we have not known what has happened to him since Kunta was captured by tuobob.
    Let’s say that when Kunta was being captured Omoro had seen him going out to the forest and wondering why he was going out alone remembering clearly about how he had instructed him clearly to never go out alone. Omoro started to follow him into the forest. When he had reached distance to be able to see Kunta he saw a tuobob close behind him. Shock and fear went through him like an arrow to the back. He started to run. Yelling to Kunta to turn around, but it was too late. The tuobob had just struck Kunta. At the sight of that Omoro screamed at the top of his lungs. The tuobob turned around in his direction and a second tuobob appeared and pointed some sort of stick at Omoro. All of a sudden there was a crack and Omoro was falling to the floor dead. Kunta began to scream and rised up and struck the tuobob so hard it broke the grasp of the tuobob. Then another crack was heard and Kunta heard the bullet whistle close to his head.
    It would change Omoro because when Kunta was captured we knew nothing more of him. This plot explained how Omoro had died instead of continuing on in the story.

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