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It has been said before that he was, of imposing presence; the striking attribute of his person, indeed, was that of unconscious grandeur; yet, though above the ordinary height, he was not very tall-five feet eleven at the utmost-and far from being very erect. On the contrary, there was that habitual bend in his proud neck which men who meditate much and live alone almost invariably contract.
His figure was inclined to be slender, though broad of shoulder and deep of chest; it was the figure of a young man and probably little changed from what it might have been at five-and-twenty. A certain youthfulness still lingered even on the countenance,--strange, for sorrow is supposed to expedite the work of age; and Darrell had known sorrow of a kind most adapted to harrow his peculiar nature, as great in its degree as ever left man's heart in ruins. No gray was visible in the dark brown hair, that, worn short behind, still retained in front the large Jove-like curl.
No wrinkle, save at the corner of the eyes, marred the pale bronze of the firm cheek; the forehead was smooth as marble, and as massive. It was that forehead which chiefly contributed to the superb expression of his whole aspect. It was high to a fault; the perceptive organs, over a dark, strongly-marked, arched eyebrow, powerfully developed, as they are with most eminent lawyers; it did not want for breadth at the temples; yet, on the whole, it bespoke more of intellectual vigour and dauntless will than of serene philosophy or all-embracing benevolence. It was the forehead of a man formed to command and awe the passions and intellect of others by the strength of passions in himself, rather concentred than chastised, and by an intellect forceful from the weight of its mass rather than the niceness of its balance.
The other features harmonized with that brow; they were of the noblest order of aquiline, at once high and delicate. The lip had a rare combination of exquisite refinement and inflexible resolve. The eye, in repose, was cold, bright, unrevealing, with a certain absent, musing, self-absorbed expression, that often made the man's words appear as if spoken mechanically, and assisted towards that seeming of listless indifference to those whom he addressed, by which he wounded vanity without, perhaps, any malice prepense.
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But it was an eye in which the pupil could suddenly expand, the hue change from gray to dark, and the cold still brightness flash into vivid fire. What a noble head! When men of this mould do relinquish prejudice or passion, it is by their own impulse, their own sure conviction that what they hold is worthless: then they do not yield it graciously; they fling it from them in scorn, but not a scorn that consoles.
Such men rarely fail in the achievement of what they covet, if the gods are neutral; but, adamant against the world, they are vulnerable through their affections. Their love is intense, but undemonstrative; their hatred implacable, but unrevengeful,--too proud to revenge, too galled to pardon.
There stood Guy Darrell, to whom the bar had destined its highest honours, to whom the senate had accorded its most rapturous cheers; and the more you gazed on him as he there stood, the more perplexed became the enigma,--how with a career sought with such energy, advanced with such success, the man had abruptly subsided into a listless recluse, and the career had been voluntarily resigned for a home without neighbours, a hearth without children. It is not a "change internal to the character" in the sense in which we are using the terms "internal" and "character" at the moment!
The Atlantic Crossword
Some tips on using these concepts in a clear and tactful way. First off, we don't want to confuse the distinction between static and dynamic characterization with the distinction between flat and round characterization. Secondly, there are some important other senses of the phrase "dynamic character" in common use that have nothing to do with the term dynamic character in the particular sense with which we are concerned here. They are perfectly good in their place, but we have to take care not to confuse them with what we've been talking about.
If we say of someone we have met that "she is a dynamic character," we may be using this to mean that she "has a dynamic personality. We might of course mean both. Of course, we may meet with such a character in a literary work, but when we do we would be well advised to employ the term "dynamic personality" or "dynamic person," rather than "dynamic character," because the latter is already "pre-empted" in talking about literature.
If we were talking computer talk, we'd say that inside this program that term is "reserved. Thus a character who is portrayed as a "mover and shaker," and is that way throughout the story, is a static character , in the literary-critical sense of the term. Moreover, within literary critical discourse, these terms are meant to be purely descriptive, not evaluative.
That is, "dynamic" characters are not necessarily better, in narrative art, than "static" ones. The question, from the aesthetic standpoint , is whether a portrayal is what is called for in light of the work as a whole, and whether it is done skillfully or ineptly, interestingly or boringly.
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Indeed, even a persistent bore can be portrayed in an interesting -- for example, quite comic -- fashion. Even in works intensely interested in the way in which personality can reformulate itself, subordinate characters are likely to be "static," if for no other reason than that to do otherwise would be to distract the reader from what the story is designed to get us to notice.
In this special literary-critical use of the terms, "static" is not, for example, synonymous with "sterile" or "hung-up" or "stultified. Such a person appearing in a fictional work, in fact, might well provide an instance of a "static" character in the sense in which we are using the term here.
What Will He Do with It? by Edward Bulwer-Lytton
And from the ethical standpoint , as well, it is important not to suppose that "dynamic" characters are superior to "static" ones. After all, if we are confronted with a temptation, the hope is that we can muster the resources of insight and resolve to resist giving into it. If a fictional character does this, he or she is a "static" character, and this "stasis" of character in the face of circumstance is a virtue. In fact, it is precisely because change in identity can be good or bad, depending on circumstances and on the framework of evaluation, that it is often useful to classify plot in terms of characterization.
How precisely are we to understand the motivation of this change? How is it distinct from what the change itself in character consists in? What's the extent of this change? What are the issues it is crafted to raise, and why are these worth our attention if they are?