This study attempts to define more clearly the concepts 'flat character' and 'round character' by examining instances of Sepedi literature. Definitions provided by theorists are in most cases vague and may lead to unsatisfactory interpretations. The best examples in this instance are the definitions provided by Forster - they create problems particularly with references to the concept 'round character'. Forster's definition creates the impression that the difference can be based on the manner of characterization. In this investigation, attention is thus paid to characterization, while it is pointed out that these concepts are not to be confused with the concepts 'antagonist', 'protagonist' and 'tritagonist', The latter types of characters are classified as structural elements while the former are thematically important. The Sepedi literary works chosen for the purposes of this stUdy represent the four most important prose genres in Sepedi. Tsebe's Noto-ya-Masogana (1954) is the representative of the category 'love story'; Kekana's Nnete Fela (1989) is a detective story; Rammala's Lukas Motšheletšhele (1963) and Mphahlele's Letsogo la Molao (1984) are tragic narratives, while Phatudi concentrates on and describes elements of pathos in his Tladi wa Dikgati (1971). The characters in Tsebe and Kekana's narratives are flat. Whereas Tsebe's Lesibana is portrayed as a multidimensional character, Ariel in Kekana's detective story is presented as one - dimensional. According to the definitions of Forster, Lesibana could be classified as a round character and Ariel as a flat character. The problem that surfaces in this instance also becomes manifest in the investigation into Rammala, Mphahlele and Phatudi's works. Rammala's Lukas Motsheletshele and Mphahlele's Faro are multidimensional characters as opposed to Phatudi's Tladi who is one¬dimensional, yet all of them are round characters. The distinction that can be drawn between the concepts 'flat character' and 'round character' has to do with humaneness. The reader's identification with the flat character is based on the reader's ability to distinguish between good and evil, while an understanding of and a feeling for fellow human beings determine identification with the round character. The author brings about this identification process by using a variety of literary devices. In this thesis, a great deal of emphasis is placed on the theme of each of the mentioned works and on how this theme determines the character types. The concept of 'identification' is a central issue in this study and has thus been explained in detail. The specific literary devices used by the author to bring about this identification have thus also been carefully investigated and discussed. It was discovered that characterization as such does not determine whether characters are flat or round; instead, this is determined thematically.
Thesis (DLitt (African Languages))--University of Pretoria, 2006.