The Blind Leading the Blind
"If you want your audience to know something important about your character (or the work at large), introduce it early, before you need it." - Thomas C. Foster, How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Chapter 22
In this chapter of Foster's text, he is discussing the role of "blind" characters, or those that are either dead-ended, not developing any further, such as in James Joyce's "Araby," or physically blind, unable to see, whether it is literally or just a factor of ignorance, what is in front of them in terms of their future. Foster also discusses the importance of fully introducing details of your characters ahead of time. This ensures that the reader will fully be able to understand the characters.
I agree with this topic very much so. I feel like this has been the emphasis that I have used in most of my own writing for a long time.
In terms of pieces of literature that we have written, I wonder if all of the authors that we have covered actually used this method. Perhaps this is something we could look at in class - whether or not the authors introduced all important qualities of their characters, and, if they did, how effective was their deeper introduction at such an early point rather than a later one?