What is a Round Character?

Round character definition: A round character is defined as one in which the writer has fully developed the character’s personality.

What is a Round Character?

What does round character mean? Like real people, round characters have a fully developed personality because the writer has given these characters depth and dimension. Often times, these people will be the central characters in a work of fiction.

Round Character Examples

In the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast, the protagonist, Belle, is a round character. She is fully developed and has several layers to her personality. At times Belle may be caring and gentle with her father, but at the same time she shows wit and strength when warding off the undesirable suitor, Gaston.

Round Character vs. Flat and Dynamic Characters

While flat characters display personality, it is one that lacks dimension and depth.

Example:

  • To continue with Beauty and the Beast, Gaston is a flat character. The writers have not developed him beyond his mean and sexist personality. He displays no other characteristics besides these selfish traits.

See also flat character.

A round character can be dynamic, but these two do not always overlap. To be considered a dynamic character, the person must have undergone a change based on the conflicts experienced throughout the course of a story.

Example:

  • In Langston Hughes’ short story “Thank you M’am”, Mrs. Luella Bates Washington Jones is a round character. She has a well-developed personality; however, she does not undergo any change throughout the course of the story. Jones remains the kind, charitable woman from the start to finish. Whereas the young boy, Roger, would be considered a dynamic character because due to Mrs. Jones’ kindness, he has learned to respect her and lose some of the selfishness he initially possessed.

The Function of Round Characters in Literature

By including round characters in a work of fiction, it allows the writer to include personalities that are well developed rather than stereotypical. This creates a work that readers can relate to because the characters closely represent real people. Readers enjoy experiencing a vast array of emotions while reading the story versus having a main character that reacts the same way no matter what the situation he is presented with throughout the book.

Examples of Round Characters in Literature

In the short story “The Scarlet Ibis” by James Hurst, the narrator is an example of a round character. In the story, he shows an array of emotions and personality based on what he is experiencing at the time. He shows great disappointment when his mother gives birth to a baby that seems to not be normally development. However, he displays great pride after teaching his brother to walk. Similar to actual people, the narrator’s emotions and reactions are dependent upon the situation he is presented with in the story.

Another example of a round character is Romeo from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In this tragedy, Romeo exemplifies the typical teenage boy. He is experiencing heartbreak and depression when the “love of his life” Rosaline refuses to be with him, but hours later is elated with love when he meets Juliet. Romeo’s rash decision-making and ever-changing emotions are accurate of most teenagers.

Summary: What Are Round Characters?

Define round characters in literature: In summation, round characters are those in which the writer has fully developed to closely resemble to complex personality of a real person. By including round characters in a work of fiction, it allows the readers to more closely relate to and sympathize with them.

Final Example:

In the young adult novel, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenze the protagonist, Aristotle, is an example of a round character. He is fully developed to allow teenagers to relate to him through his awkward encounters with his parents and emotional connection to Dante and his journey to discovering his place in the world.