Characterisation and Voices

English Language > Extended Reading > Characterisation and Voices

When writing for your extended reading controlled assessment about characterisation and voice you will still need to refer to themes and ideas - so focus on the characters who express or embody those ideas.

Preparing to write about characterisation and voice

There are areas or types of character you could focus on in your writing about characterisation and voice:

  • relationships between characters
  • heroes or villains
  • male or female characters
  • tragic or comic characters


You need to think about what the set of characters in your text are like, and it is really important to demonstrate how you know what the characters are like. Look at what characters say (dialogue) and what they do (action). How are they described by the author, or narrator, and how they are seen by other characters? Consider what happens to them at the end of their story.


Voice means how we hear characters speak in dialogue, and how what they say makes them seem like living, breathing people. It also refers to the voice of the author or narrator. To identify the voice of a text ask the following questions:

  • How is the story told - what writing techniques are used?
  • What is the feeling or attitude of the narrator?
  • Do we get a clear sense of the narrator as a character in the story, with attitudes and feelings, or are the characters the only real people in the story?

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