The main character of the story “Braces” by Nick Werber is a boy named Nick, who is also the narrator. In the story, he is visiting his grandfather in Bognor, a town by the seaside. Nick lives in London with his father, mother, and older sister.

Nick goes to private school, and he writes stories. He also likes science and animals and thinks about becoming a veterinarian. He has recently taken up smoking, stealing cigarettes and a lighter from his father.

Nick enjoys his father’s music – The Beatles, U2, but he also enjoys rap music.

There is little reference to Norman’s outer characterisation in the story. The story suggests that he is going through puberty: “I’ve been getting these dizzy spells lately. Mum says it is the hormones.” Nick’s father also notices that he is a bit pale after his grandfather’s dental examination. We also learn that Nick has crowded teeth.

Nick’s inner characterisation is constructed through his language, thoughts, and actions.

The story begins with Nick sitting in his grandfather’s surgery office while his grandfather checks his teeth. The words used by Nick to describe this experience - his grandfather yanks, prods, jabs, and scrapes at his teeth -  suggest that Nick is uncomfortable. However, he does not complain to his grandfather or tell his father about how he felt, which suggests that he does not share his feelings with them.

After the examination, Nick goes to the living room and watches the Grand Prix with his father for a while. However, he is bored, so he begins to look at the decorations in the living room. His favourite is a silver statue of a boxer. However, he does not say why it is his favourite, or if he is passionate about boxing himself. Nick does not know if the statue was won by his grandfather – he asks his father if this is the case, but he does not respond. This suggests that Nick does not know details about his grandfather’s youth and that their relationship is not close.

At lunch, Nick tells his grandfather that he learned a new word: somnambulist and the fact that it refers to a sleep walker. His grandfather is pleased but claims that science is better than words. Nick quickly replies that he likes sciences too. Their dialogue suggests that Nick wants to share something about himself with his grandfather and that he would like his approval.

Nick is also good at English, and he writes stories. The topic of one of his storie...

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