The distinction between flat and round characters is conveyed within Samperio’s “She Lived in a Story”. Guillermo Samperio begins his story with one character, Segovia who then chooses to create his own story and include additional characters. Through this shift, the role of Ofelia emerges, and she goes from being a flat and static character to a round character. Her development and growth as her own character explains the shift in point of view as well as the frame work that Samperio is trying to convey within his story. As stated in the text, “As he shut off the engine, he decided that the woman in this story would be a young actress whom he admired, for her performances and her extraordinary beauty. Furthermore the actress somewhat resembled Frida Kahlo, who painted herself in the dreams of her paintings, another way to live in one’s fiction” (Samperio 56). Later, Samperio states “My fear is disappearing; I’m surprised, but without any desperation. Now all of a sudden I’m upset, angry; I must write a protest” (60). In the first quote it is evident that Guillermo Segovia is creating the character he wants to put into his own story. He is focusing on her youthfulness, her acting skills and physical description when giving the audience an idea of the character. This act can be categorized as figural characterization because Segovia is characterizing Ofelia, who ends up being another character within the text. By making sure his main character is remembered for her physical appearance, he chooses certain attributes which he can find in Frida Kahlo. Segovia is characterizing Ofelia based on what he wants to make of her. Ofelia is portrayed as a flat character in the first statement by Samperio because she does not have any depth to her besides her outer appearance. She is not given a cause or a goal, and she does not have any other major actions as a character. By choosing her based on her looks expresses the idea that the Guillermo does not plan on giving her any substantial purpose. However, the second statement changes the perspective on Ofelia’s character. The statement can be used to explain the difference behind a flat and round character. Ofelia is depicted as a flat character through Segovia’s first description. This concept soon changes when Ofelia turns herself into a round character. The shift of now being able to have real feelings, act out emotions and have a voice portrays Ofelia to be a round character. She is now seen as three dimensional because she is not only acting but also feeling. Once she decides to write her own story, she takes control of the way the reader understands the story. She is able to reframe the point of view. The reader is able to see inside the character when she says “My fear is disappearing”, “I’m upset” and “I must write a protest”. The first statement captures Ofelia’s outer perception but now her development internally is also seen. The control she gains as an author proves her to be three dimensional as compared to the original one dimensional character in the first statement. Samperio places these two characters in the story to show the transition of how flat and round characters come to exist. From the beginning it is evident that Segovia is the round, three dimensional character because he gives lectures, has a family life, and explains how is is going to write a story. However, the Segovia story comes to a halt when Ofelia comes alive within the narration putting herself in front of Segovia. The end of the story separates the two internal narratives that Segovia and Ofelia are writing by telling the reader that both characters have finally achieved their own growth and development.
Jahn, Manfred. “Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative.” 28 May 2005. Web. 10 June 2011. <http://www.uni-koeln.de/~ame02/pppn.htm>
Samperio, Guillermo. “She Lived in a Story.” New Works from Mexico. Ed. Reginald Gibbons.Evanston: TriQuarterly, 1992. Print.