It’s Atticus Finch giving advice to Scout that shows us he is a man of empathy and compassion. It’s Frank Underwood banging his class ring on the table that reminds us he is in command. It’s Holden Caulfield using phrases like “vomity” and “grow up” that helps us remember that he is an adolescent.
Using indirect characterization can make our heroes and villains leap from the page and come to life in our readers’ minds. Showing our readers who our characters are through indirect characterization allows our readers to draw their own conclusions about our characters, intensifying our readers’ engagement with our stories.