why would an author include a foil in a play

The scattering angles would have changed, but the qualitative results would also change: the reason Rutherford chose gold was because it is EXTREMELY malleable. One can stretc
h gold foil until it is only a few atoms thick in places, which is not possible with aluminum. If the foil were too thick, there would be no transmission of particles at all; the whole point was to demonstrate that most alpha particles passed through unchanged, but some of them scattered, which is only possible with a VERY thin foil. What They Are and Why They Matter A foil is a character who plays off another in order to highlight certain strengths or weaknesses. Think of a comedy team: One person is the Straight Man (think of him as your protagonist), while the other is the Wise Guy. The Straight Man sets up jokes and the Wise Guy rolls off a punchline. They are two people with opposite characteristics who share a similar bond (they have to work together to deliver a joke), playing off each others strengths and weaknesses. Foils pop up EVERYWHERE in fiction. And they can serve a multitude of purposes. A foil might be present to highlight a particular aspect of another character s personality that is important.

Perhaps they re there for comic relief. Often times a character foil serves to bring in another perspective on a situation or cause conflict. You can t have a good story without good conflict. Sometimes authors include a character foil simply because opposites attract. I ve never met a pair of best friends or a romantic couple who thought and behaved exactly the same as each other. It s really dependent on the particular character why they have a foil and what the foil does to their story. Common uses/Popular examples Foils are always used in Romance. You can t write a romance plot without a foil. Think Elizabeth and Darcy- they re an easy pair to figure out because the title of their book describes their foil nature. Darcy is Elizabeth s foil, his calm reserved, proud nature highlighting her lively, quick-witted prejudice. Also, Frodo and Sam- Sam s БGo Get emБ attitude and Frodo s heavy footedness (is that a word? ) play off each other all through the Lord of the Ring. Their difference in character is most strongly shown when Sam gives the ring back to Frodo willingly and Frodo, just a few (long) pages later can t get rid of it himself.

How Does this Knowledge Help Us? Recognizing a foil can help us learn more about our protagonist, since they re usually the ones who get them. Looking at their relationship can help us understand the motivations behind certain decisions the protagonist makes or point out to us some major flaw in our protagonist which will be important later. Finding foils is important to understanding the diversity of character in a work of fiction. It s just another thing to analyze and help us understand what the author is trying to tell us. Keep an eye out in your next read and try to pinpoint your main character s foil. Then think of how this person is different and what aspects of the protagonist s character they highlight. You might just learn something more about your main character that makes you love or hate them. Fun Fact: The term БfoilБ used in this way comes from the practice of backing a gem with foil in order to make it shine brighter. I learned that from Wikipedia.

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