I   Character - Who and Why?

Cast of Characters: Who are the people (or animals) in this novel?  What kind of people are they?  Focus on the complex characters - those with many character traits.  What are their personal flaws?  Do they grow or change throughout the novel?  Did the author do a good job in creating these characters, or are they stiff, cardboard stereotypes?   

Motivation and Conflict: How are the different characters interrelated?  Are the relationships complicated or straightforward?  What do these people want?  Why are they motivated to do the things that they do? Is there clearly a "Good Guy" and a "Bad Guy" or are the protagonist and antagonist simply clashing because of they have different goals? 
Methods of Characterization: How did the author characterize them?  Did he or she have the narrator plainly tell the reader what the character was like?  Did the author give the character a peculiar or particular way of acting or talking?  Did the author outline parts of their lives that occurred before the actual story took place?   

Ima Student
Mr. Greenlee
Elements of the Novel
7 March 2003


Elements of the Novel The Dark is Rising

I Characters - Who and Why?
IA Cast of Characters:
     Will Stanton: Will Stanton is the main character of this novel.   He is the seventh son of a
      seventh son and discovers on his eleventh birthday that he is more than a mere mortal
      human--he is one of the "Old Ones", a force of immortals dedicated to fighting an evil called
      "the Dark".
     The Walker (Hawkins): In the beginning of the novel, Will Stanton sees an old tramp and
      discovers that he carries a magical object.  When he is first seen, he is described as "a
      shambling, tattered figure, more like a bundle of clothes than a man" with "bushy, greasy grey
      hair below a dirty cap" (10).  He has carried this object for many centuries and longs to get rid of
      it, but must be careful to give it to the right person. 
     Merriman Lyons and the Old Ones: Merriman Lyons is a man who appears to be in his forties 
      or fifties, but is actually very, very old.  He is the one that takes Will back in time and teaches 
      him the way of the Old Ones.  He is described as a tall man with "a strong, bony head, with
      deep-set eyes and an arched nose fierce as a hawk's beak; a sweep of wiry white hair
      springing back from the high forehead; bristling brows and a jutting chin."  His face had "fierce,
      secret lines" (34). 
           There are other Old Ones, such as , Farmer Dawson,  the smith, and "the Lady", a powerful
      but seldom seen figure.       

     The Rider and the Dark:
The rider is one of the most powerful beings from an ancient group of
      immortals known as "the Dark".  They are evil and try to destroy or convert Will Stanton. 
     Will's Family: Will comes from a large family.  He is not only a seventh son, but there are 
      sisters as well.  Will must keep his family unaware of what is going on, and must also protect
      them from the power of the Dark.  His father is a jeweler.  His oldest brother is in the navy
      and away. 


IB Motivation and Conflict:
     Will Stanton is motivated to find out what is going on in a world that he thought he understood.  As he begins to understand the universe of the immortals, he is motivated to achieve his quest and protect his family. 
     Between the Old Ones and The Dark, there a clear "Good Guy" and "Bad Guy" conflict.  The Dark are evil; their motives are a pure lust for power.  This does not, however, mean that all the relationships are simple, especially concerning Hawkins and (who, later in the novel, is discovered to be the same person as the Walker).   Hawkins is in caught between the Old Ones and to the Dark, but appears to hate them both.  He has had a long experience with them, although he is a mortal. 
     In addition to Hawkins, there is also Maggie Barnes.  At first Maggie appears an innocent farm-girl, but later she is shown to be one of the Dark. 


IC Methods of Characterization:
     Susan Cooper directly tells the reader what the characters look like.  She often uses lists to characterize the main people in the novel, or she might drop a comment about them such as,  "Nothing missed old George.  He could see a hawk drop from a mile away" (6). 
     Susan Cooper also portrays the good or evil in people.   When she does this, she doesn't come right out and tell the reader; instead, the reader observes the actions of the character.