Author Topic: Characterization in Mistborn  (Read 2303 times)

Dangerbutton

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Characterization in Mistborn
« on: September 26, 2008, 06:11:55 PM »
For a school assignment, I need to bring an excerpt from a book that is a good example of characterization, particularly in physical appearance. I want to get something from Mistborn (or Well of Ascension), because they are just such great books and more people need to know about them. Unfortunately, I've lent my books out to a friend, and the assignment is due Monday.
So, I was wondering if anyone here could help me out with some good examples of characterization in Mistborn or Well of Ascension. Ah, heck, Elantris was good, too, so anything from that will work too. I'm looking for anywhere from 1 to 3 or 4 paragraphs in length.

darxbane

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Re: Characterization in Mistborn
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2008, 06:15:37 PM »
I believe Chapter 1 of Final Empire is on Brandon's website, and that has a pretty good description of Vin. 
I wanted to write something profound here, but I couldn't think of anything.

VegasDev

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Re: Characterization in Mistborn
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2008, 07:32:25 PM »
There's good news and bad news.

The good news is that there are plenty of locations you can get hold of Brandon's books even if you lent yours out (library, bookstore, etc. as well as Mistborn 1 floating around in PDF form which might be downloaded directly from TOR).

The bad news is that he doesn't go into great detail of the characters appearance, but instead delves into their thoughts and feelings while they experience the plot.

Physical descriptions are mentioned in passing fashion compared to other books, but this allows the reader to fill in the gaps. Your best desription might be of Elend once he begins wearing his white suit. I believe it talks about buttons, a cape, medals, a crown and his hair.
Now you've got all the ones with beards on one side and all the
moustaches on the other.

VegasDev

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Re: Characterization in Mistborn
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2008, 07:38:07 PM »
Case in point, this is Vin's description in chapter 1:

She wore a simple white buttoned shirt and a pair of overalls. Indeed, she was hardly enticing; scrawny with a youthful face, she supposedly didn’t even look her sixteen years.
Now you've got all the ones with beards on one side and all the
moustaches on the other.

Wielder

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Re: Characterization in Mistborn
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2008, 07:38:48 PM »
There's good news and bad news.

The good news is that there are plenty of locations you can get hold of Brandon's books even if you lent yours out (library, bookstore, etc. as well as Mistborn 1 floating around in PDF form which might be downloaded directly from TOR).

The bad news is that he doesn't go into great detail of the characters appearance, but instead delves into their thoughts and feelings while they experience the plot.

Physical descriptions are mentioned in passing fashion compared to other books, but this allows the reader to fill in the gaps. Your best desription might be of Elend once he begins wearing his white suit. I believe it talks about buttons, a cape, medals, a crown and his hair.

The thoughts are considered characterization.  That first chapter where Vin is in her little hiding place has some of the most excellent characterization I have read.  Even the voice of her brother whispering to her can be considered her own characterization since those words molded her character so much.

Danger, if you would like me to email you a PDF version of MB1, I'd be more then happy to.  Toss me a PM with your email.  Or you can just go look on the website like Darxbane mentioned.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2008, 08:02:36 PM by Wielder »
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One can only match, move by move, the machinations of fate...and thus defy the tyrannous stars.
-Legacy of Kain

VegasDev

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Re: Characterization in Mistborn
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2008, 08:27:10 PM »
The thoughts are considered characterization.

Yeah, I stated as much, however my post was in reference to the OPs request for 'particularly in physical appearance'.
Now you've got all the ones with beards on one side and all the
moustaches on the other.

Wielder

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Re: Characterization in Mistborn
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2008, 11:29:58 PM »
The thoughts are considered characterization.

Yeah, I stated as much, however my post was in reference to the OPs request for 'particularly in physical appearance'.

Good call.  I need some sleep before I start posting things on these forums.  Oof.  That or some pewter burning. 

Anyone figured out how to get the magic alomancer pill yet?
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One can only match, move by move, the machinations of fate...and thus defy the tyrannous stars.
-Legacy of Kain

Qarlin

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Re: Characterization in Mistborn
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2008, 09:52:06 AM »
<shakes head sadly>

Wielder

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Re: Characterization in Mistborn
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2008, 04:31:14 PM »
POSSIBLE SPOILER WARNING!

Oh, how I love message boards!

I think there is more to the first chapter then meets the eye.  I really don't believe physical description is just plainly telling people what the character is wearing or what their skin/eyes/hair/eyes with laser canons look like.  I personally get a little bored when an author goes into a full page description of a characters outer appearance (*cough* The Wheel of Time *cough*--not that I didn't like all his descriptions...some of them were a bit overboard though.   Especially when you only see the character like three times in the series.)

Hope some of the stuff below is useful Danger.  If you want to use any of those passages, remember to use your own words to describe them. :p

I decided to take a bit of a break from working to bring you some of the things that I would refer to as being physical character description without bogging down the reader with a snowpeak of information:

(I am copying the text from Tor's PDF file, so they will appear in a similar fashion when I quote them.)

Quote
Vin didn’t let hatred or rebellion show in her eyes. She
simply looked down, giving Camon what he expected to see.
There were other ways to be strong. That lesson she had
learned on her own.
(Ch1, pg 21)

Sanderson essentially reveals her resigned stance in this passage.  She just looks down, but behind that blank look that she probably had, the 'hatred and rebellion' fought to escape. 

Quote
Just another bruise. She was strong enough to deal with it.
She’d done so before.
(Ch1, pg 21)

Bruises--shes a tough girl, this Vin.  By simply stating 'she'd done so before' reveals that there are quite a lot of other bruises visible in her flesh.  He didn't need to tell you that her skin was in various shades of white, blue, and purple to get the point across.

Quote
She looked up at Camon, tasting
blood on her lip. She must have let some of her confidence
show, because he glanced at her out of the corner of his eye,
and his expression darkened.
(Ch1, pg 21...again)

The bleeding lip obviously here, but that bit mentioning Vin's confidence shows show much about her character without having to go into a great deal of detail on what she actually looked like exactly.  You know that the defiance is crawling out of her at this point, and I think you, as the reader can put the pieces together.

Here's the passage that Vegas referred to:
Quote
Theron eyed Vin, obviously noting her bloodied lip. She
glanced away. Theron’s eyes lingered on her, however, running
down the length of her body. She wore a simple white
buttoned shirt and a pair of overalls. Indeed, she was hardly
enticing; scrawny with a youthful face, she supposedly didn’t
even look her sixteen years. Some men preferred such
women, however.
(Ch1, pg 23)

This is obviously the most straight forward physical description of Vin.  Once again, the bloodied lip shows up again.  Sanderson does a job of making sure the reader knows that this is a very resilient character.  Within the first few pages you know that Vin is constantly suffering, but you can see how steadfast she is through some of these passages.  They all paint a picture of the character.

Quote
She kept to
the shadows, as usual;
(Ch2, pg 33)

The fact that she is hermit-like has influence on how you re-create the character in your mind.

Quote
Vin tried her best to remain invisible.
(Ch2, pg 34)

See the above comment...

Quote
Vin sighed, stretching slightly. She’d have more bruises. At
least they won’t be visible. Now that the bruises Camon had
given her face were finally gone, Sazed had warned her to be
careful. Makeup could only cover so much, and she would
have to look like a “proper” young noblewoman if she were
going to infiltrate the court.
(Ch 9, pg 174)

This is much further in the book, but it shows how Vin is changing. 

Note to self: I just skimmed through some pages quickly and found these ones.  There is so much more then this.  Danger, those page numbers are where I found those quotes in the version I sent you as well.  Should be easy enough to find.   

Have fun!

P.S. - Danger, when Vin meets Elend, I am sure there is some description of her from his point of view.  I know there are points where Kel just watches her as well, so I am sure you have tons of stuff to grab from.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2008, 04:39:28 PM by Wielder »
Quote
One can only match, move by move, the machinations of fate...and thus defy the tyrannous stars.
-Legacy of Kain

Miriel

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Re: Characterization in Mistborn
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2008, 05:01:44 PM »
You could also look for description of things other than main characters.  I remember the koloss being physically described pretty vividly.

Wielder

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Re: Characterization in Mistborn
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2008, 05:08:00 PM »
You could also look for description of things other than main characters.  I remember the koloss being physically described pretty vividly.

Oh yes!  Great idea.  Also, I guess the descriptions of Vin aren't the only ones in the book!  ;D  There are great descriptions of all the characters.  I personally couldn't stop reading about Kel after I read the prologue.  The smile hooked me.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2008, 05:09:49 PM by Wielder »
Quote
One can only match, move by move, the machinations of fate...and thus defy the tyrannous stars.
-Legacy of Kain

Dangerbutton

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Re: Characterization in Mistborn
« Reply #11 on: September 28, 2008, 02:48:14 AM »
wow, thanks for all of the ideas, everyone, it was a big help.
Wielder, I'm not sure if the teacher wanted me to bring an example of characterization in just one spot, or if it is okay to bring several short excerpts of characterization. I'm going to check with my teacher, and if I get the okay, I think I'll use that string of passages about Vin that you posted. They are excellent. Thanks!

Dangerbutton

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Re: Characterization in Mistborn
« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2008, 02:50:00 AM »
also, I like the idea of bringing an excerpt describing the Koloss, but as I said, I don't have my copy of WoA. Any chance someone could post that description up here? At this point, the library will be closed until I go to my class on monday.... thats what I get for procrastination.... drat!

jjb

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Re: Characterization in Mistborn
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2008, 09:50:17 AM »
Does anybody else here feel weird about helping Dangerbutton "cheat"? Whether he's cheating intentionally or not, we are doing his homework for him when we give him the passages and tell him how it is characterization. I'm not accusing anyone of helping him/her cheat intentionally; I'm just surprised that people actually responded to this.

Dangerbutton

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Re: Characterization in Mistborn
« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2008, 10:44:53 AM »
now, I wouldn't necessarily call this cheating. I could have done this on my own, but as I said, I lent my books out to a friend. In my defense, I have actually been searching a great deal through other books, so its not like I'm doing nothing and making you do the work. You're just helping me find something from the best of books.