The Roles Minor Characters Have in Literature

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The success of literary works depends greatly on the quality of its characters, which is why it is essential to have characters, both major and minor, with distinct and contrasting personalities. Not only are minor characters used as foils for the major characters by emphasizing their important character traits, but in many cases they furthermore play a crucial role in the advancement of the plot. In the three novels that were examined this year, The Great Gatsby, The Kite Runner, and The Handmaids Tale, the minor character had a pivotal role in the development of the plot. In The Great Gatsby, Nick Carraway is not only the narrator but he is the image of order in a society of disorder. In The Kite Runner, Rahim Khan is the moral center and acts as the voice of reason. Lastly in The Handmaids Tale, Moira is the paradigm of rebellion but also proves that there is hope in challenging circumstances. In much the same way that minor characters advance the plot, provide conflict, or act as a character foil, every individual being has minor characters in their own life that have a very similar influence on their existence. By examining the impact minor characters have in the three works of literature, The Great Gatsby, The Kite Runner, and The Handmaids Tale, I will be able to relate these characters to individuals in my life that have a similar effect on me. Nick Carraway from the novel The Great Gatsby written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, functions as both the foil and protagonist, as well as the narrator. A young man from Minnesota, Nick travels to the West Egg in New York where he lives next door to Jay Gatsby, a wealthy young man whom little is known about. Nick is slowly drawn into the lives of the rich socialites of the East and West Egg and the relationships between Gatsby, Daisy, and Tom, and others. Besides Nick’s role as the narrator, he is able to function as the foil for many of the characters including Gatsby himself. For instance, Gatsby is dreamy and...
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