Flat and rounded characters

Sarah Holmes
Note by Sarah Holmes, updated more than 1 year ago
Sarah Holmes
Created by Sarah Holmes almost 4 years ago


Examples of flat and rounded character in extracts from C19th prose fiction. This resource has been created to help learners studying the new 9 - 1 Edexcel English Language course.

Resource summary

Page 1

Jim Hawkins meets Long John Silver - Chapter 8

Read the short extract below which comes from Chapter 8 of Treasure Island. It is the first time Jim Hawkins meets Long John Silver.Once you have read through the extract, please watch the video analysis at the bottom of this page to see what makes Long John Silver a flat character.

As I was waiting, a man came out of a side room, and at a glance I was sure he must be Long John. His left leg was cut off close by the hip, and under the left shoulder he carried a crutch, which he managed with wonderful dexterity, hopping about upon it like a bird. He was very tall and strong, with a face as big as a ham--plain and pale, but intelligent and smiling. Indeed, he seemed in the most cheerful spirits, whistling as he moved about among the tables, with a merry word or a slap on the shoulder for the more favoured of his guests.Now, to tell you the truth, from the very first mention of Long John in Squire Trelawney's letter I had taken a fear in my mind that he might prove to be the very one- legged sailor whom I had watched for so long at the old Benbow. But one look at the man before me was enough. I had seen the captain, and Black Dog, and the blind man, Pew, and I thought I knew what a buccaneer was like--a very different creature, according to me, from this clean and pleasant-tempered landlord.I plucked up courage at once, crossed the threshold, and walked right up to the man where he stood, propped on his crutch, talking to a customer."Mr. Silver, sir?" I asked, holding out the note."Yes, my lad," said he; "such is my name, to be sure. And who may you be?" And then as he saw the squire's letter, he seemed to me to give something almost like a start."Oh!" said he, quite loud, and offering his hand. "I see. You are our new cabin-boy; pleased I am to see you."And he took my hand in his large firm grasp.

Page 2

Establishing Tess' complexity - Chapter 2

Read this short extract from the start of Tess of the D'Urbervilles and then watch the video analysis to get a better understanding of how this establishes Tess as a rounded, complex character.

Tess Durbeyfield at this time of her life was a mere vessel of emotion untinctured by experience. The dialect was on her tongue to some extent, despite the village school: the characteristic intonation of that dialect for this district being the voicing approximately rendered by the syllable ur, probably as rich an utterance as any to be found in human speech. The pouted-up deep red mouth to which this syllable was native had hardly as yet settled into its definite shape, and her lower lip had a way of thrusting the middle of her top one upward, when they closed together after a word.Phases of her childhood lurked in her aspect still. As she walked along today, for all her bouncing handsome womanliness, you could sometimes see her twelfth year in her cheeks, or her ninth sparkling from her eyes; and even her fifth would flit over the curves of her mouth now and then.Yet few knew, and still fewer considered this. A small minority, mainly strangers, would look long at her in casually passing by, and grow momentarily fascinated by her freshness, and wonder if they would ever see her again: but to almost everybody she was a fine and picturesque country girl, and no more.

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