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Characters' thoughts and feelings | Reading

Understanding the thoughts and emotions of characters in a story: it's essentially mind-reading, and it's just as magical!

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Video transcript

[Instructor] Hello, readers. Today, we're going to talk about Mind Reading. Ooh! Also known as understanding characters' thoughts and feelings. I'm kinda serious, here. One of the things that I think is magical about reading books and stories is that they let you see what characters are thinking and feeling. Sometimes a story takes you inside the mind of a character in a story. Here's what it sounds like when a character tells you the story herself. - [Narrator] It was a rainy, miserable night in the town of Roseville. (rain falls) My coffee cooled rapidly in the evening air. I watched Johnny Flamingo, the Duke of Crime, walk confidently across the parking lot. I hated him. "I'm gonna get you, Johnny", I muttered. "I'm gonna get you for doing all those crimes." - [Instructor] So how does this character feel about Johnny Flamingo? She hates him. How do we know? She told us so. Sometimes it's not a character who tells you what they're thinking or feeling, but instead, it's a narrator who knows how those characters feel. And that can sound like this. - [Narrator] Standing on a hill outside her little village, Lana looked to the sky, and the dragons that flew through the clouds in lazy circles. "I will learn to ride a dragon", she thought. "I promise." - [Instructor] What does Lana want to learn to do? Ride dragons. Did she tell us? No, not exactly, but the narrator did, by listening to her thoughts. Do you see what I'm saying? It's magical, this ability to read a character's mind in a story. If I had the power to fully hear my friends' thoughts, I don't think we'd ever have any kind of misunderstandings ever again. How a character thinks or feels about something is important evidence that helps explain why they act the way they do. Now, it's possible to have a feeling or a thought, but still do something opposite. Like, a character could be afraid of heights, but still climb a tree to rescue a cat. Or, it's possible for a character to feel multiple conflicting emotions or thoughts at the same time. Just like it's possible for you or me to feel embarrassed and proud at the same time, or happy and regretful. Let's take a look at this example. - [Narrator] "It's not so bad", said Zeke, examining it closely when he saw my frown. "It's a bowling pin, right?" I tried to remain calm, but I was totally frustrated. I spent all that time, and Zeke thought my statue was a bowling pin? I gritted my teeth as I forced a smile. "Um, no, not exactly, but it's not quite done yet." I grabbed the sculpture and headed to my room. I was determined to make Lady Liberty recognizable. I decided to watch a video on how to make realistic faces in clay. It was helpful. Although it took me a while, I finally made some improvements to my work of art. - [Instructor] See how the narrator says they're frustrated, but they don't show it to Zeke. They force themself to smile, and not display their frustration. They're trying to be calm, but inside, they're totally frustrated. So I guess the lesson here is that the magic of mind reading is only part of the story. You have to go by how characters in the story act, too. But we'll talk about that in another video. You can learn anything. David out.