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Gavroche in Les Mis


            Many works of prose are measured by the characters they present, and the way in which they present them. Therefore, proper utilization of characterization techniques is greatly warranted for the success of a work. Characters draw the reader into another realm and can be made to emotionally connect with the audience. The way in which a character is constructed plays a vital role in the effectiveness of the character. The means by which the author wishes the character to be effective often determines how the author builds the character. In Hugo's Les Miserables, Jean Valjean receives sympathy from the reader when he vows to turn his life around. This use of dynamic characterization amply receives the audience response desired by the author. In characterization there are two types of characters based on the experience they go through throughout the story. Dynamic characters are main characters who change over the course of the story, whether in attitude, temperament, or religious/philosophical beliefs. Static characters are just the opposite, they do not change throughout the course of the story. In Hugo's Les Miserables, Javert is a static character. There are also two categories of character type based on importance of the character to the storyline. Round characters are the major characters of the story, the protagonist and other major characters. Flat characters are the minor characters in a story. They consist of stereotypes and foils. Foils are minor characters that play opposite major characters and stereotypes are people labeled as a group, instead of as individuals.
             When applying these types of characterization to Gavroche of Hugo's Les Miserables, there is some question on the group in which he may fall. He could easily be labeled a round character, for he is a main character, necessary to the storyline. He could also be marked a flat character because he is grouped with the urchins, a large group of alienated young people that find their home on the streets of Paris.


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