How to Write a Character Analysis Essay

 

A character analysis essay is a difficult type of essay that students write for literature or English classes. In this article, we will define character analysis and discuss how to conduct one. We will also discuss how to analyze a specific character and walk you through the process of writing a character analysis essay.

This type of essay typically requires students to describe the character in the context of the story. This can be accomplished by examining the character in question’s relationships with other characters. However, it is sometimes appropriate to provide your personal opinion and analysis of a particular character. Let’s begin our article on how to do a character analysis by defining what a character analysis is.

What Is a Character Analysis Essay?

A character analysis essay explains the traits and characteristics of a specific character in detail. Characters are drawn primarily from literature, but other art forms, such as cinematography, are used on occasion. The main purpose of a character analysis essay is to tell the reader who the character is and what role he or she plays in the story. Regardless of your personal preferences and opinions, it is critical to use critical thinking skills and remain objective when analyzing the character. A character analysis essay typically focuses on the character’s interactions with others, his or her behavior, manner of speech, appearance, and a variety of other characteristics.

Although it is not a section on your resume about your job experience or education, it is sometimes appropriate to give your personal opinion and analysis of a certain character.

What Is the Purpose

More than just fulfilling a requirement, this type of essay primarily assists the reader in understanding the character and the world in which he or she lives. One of the primary goals of a character analysis essay is to examine the anatomy of a character in a story and dissect who he or she is. We must be able to examine how the character was formed and then learn from their experiences.

Daisy Buchanan from “The Great Gatsby” is an excellent example of a character for a character analysis essay. The essay begins by introducing Daisy and her relationship to the main character, Jay Gatsby. You must decide how much of the plot to include based on your audience. It is reasonable to assume that if the entire class is writing an essay on Daisy Buchanan, everyone has read the book. However, if you are certain that your audience is unfamiliar with her, it is critical to include as much background information as possible.

Following that, you must explain the character by referring to specific situations involving her and the things she said or did. Make it a point to explain to the reader why you chose certain episodes and how they portrayed the character. Finally, summarize everything by stating the character’s purpose and role in the story.

Different Types of Characters

Characters are classified into several types based on their actions, traits, and roles in a story. We’ve compiled a list of some of them, along with vivid examples from famous works of literature and film:

  • Major: These are the main characters who drive the plot. There are usually only one or two main characters. The protagonist – the good guy – and the antagonist – the bad guy or the villain – are the two most common types of major characters.
  • Protagonist(s) (heroes): The protagonist, around whom the majority of the plot revolves.

For example, Othello from Shakespeare’s play, Frodo from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, or Elizabeth Bennet from Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”

Antagonist(s): This is the individual who opposes the protagonist. This is usually the antagonist, but it could also be a natural power, a set of circumstances, a majestic being, or something else.

For example, Darth Vader from George Lucas’ Star Wars series, King Joffrey from Game of Thrones, or the Wicked Queen from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”

Minor: These are the characters who help tell the story of the main character by interacting with them and revealing their personalities, situations, and/or stories. They are frequently static (unchanging). Minor characters in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings would be the entire Fellowship of the Ring. Each member of the Fellowship contributes to Frodo’s ability to deliver the ring to Mordor in their own unique way, and without them, the protagonist would not be a protagonist and would not be able to succeed. Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger are minor characters in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. They consistently assist Harry Potter in his battles against Voldemort, and he, like Frodo, would not have succeeded without them.

A character can be dynamic, static, or foil in addition to being a protagonist, antagonist, or minor character.

Dynamic (changing): The main character is frequently dynamic.

An example Harry Potter from J.K. Rowling’s book series would also qualify. Throughout the series, Harry Potter notices his resemblance to Voldemort. Nonetheless, Harry resists these characteristics because, unlike Voldemort, he is a good person who has no desire to become a dark wizard.

Static (unchanging): A static character is one who does not change throughout the story.

A good example Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s “How to Kill a Mockingbird” is an example of a static character. His character and viewpoints remain consistent throughout the novel. Despite the fact that his beliefs are contentious, he remains steadfast in his convictions.

Foils: These are the characters whose role it is to draw attention to the main character(s) in order to elevate the protagonist’s role.

A great example Dr. Watson from Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series is an example of a foil character.

How to Analyze a Character 

While preparing to analyze your character, read the story thoroughly. You must pay attention to the situations in which the character is involved, his or her dialogue, and his or her role in the plot. Include information about what your character accomplishes on a large scale, as well as how he or she influences other characters. Regardless of the categories listed above, try to think outside the box and explore your character from all angles. Avoid making broad statements or being overly simplistic. Concentrate on delving into the complexities and specifics of your character (s).

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay?

To gain a deeper understanding of these characters, one must completely immerse themselves in the story or literary piece. Take note of the setting, climax, and other key literary elements. You must be able to empathize with and see the characters. Examine how the author created these characters. Take note of how little or how much the characters’ identities were described. Examine the morals and behaviors of the characters, as well as how they have affected situations and other characters throughout the story. Take note of the characters who pique your interest.

How Do You Start a Character Analysis Essay

To begin writing a character analysis essay, you must first select a character to write about. Sometimes a character will be assigned to you right away. It’s a good idea to think about characters who have a dynamic role in the story. The reader will be captivated because there will be a wealth of information about these characters.

Read the Story

You may believe that if you have already read the book, there is no need to do so again; however, now that you know which character you want to focus on, reading it again will provide numerous benefits. It will allow you to be more precise while reading the scenes that are directly related to your character and are important for his/her analysis. Pay attention to every tiny detail while reading the book to ensure you understand the full range of your character’s traits.

  • Keep in mind the following: What details does the author provide about each character?

For example, When J.K. Rowling first describes Harry Potter, she describes his clothes as old and oversized, his hair as untidy, and his glasses as broken. It may appear to be a simple description, but she expresses compassion and pity for an orphan who has been abandoned by his only relatives.

What kinds of interpersonal relationships does your character have?

Consider how Harry cultivates relationships with others. First, he and Ron dislike Hermione because she acts like a know-it-all, but when she becomes trapped in the dungeons with a terrifying troll, he rushes to her aid.

  • How do the character’s actions advance the plot?

In “The Philosopher’s Stone,” Harry is acutely aware of all events at school. He analyzes people’s actions, which contributes to the plot revolving around the stone and its significance in the magical world.

Choose a Dynamic Character

It’s a good idea to go with a dynamic character. This does not have to be the protagonist, but rather a character who goes through a lot of changes, grows throughout the story, and is not boring and/or static. This provides you with an excellent opportunity to fully portray the character and make your paper entertaining and engaging for the reader. If you choose a non-dynamic character, your essay may appear monotonous because your character will not end up doing much and will not be very involved in the story.

Take Notes

It is helpful to take notes or highlight/underline any and all of the important elements of the story while reading. This will give your character description more depth (s). You connect your reader to the character by providing vivid and specific examples, and the character comes alive in their eyes. After you’ve finished reading with your character in mind, go over your notes and write down the main idea about your character.

Make an initial draft while keeping your instructor’s character analysis essay outline in mind. If you were not given a sample, you may use the recommended character analysis essay format.

Choose a Main Idea

Keep a record of your notes while reading the story. It’s a good idea to look at them, pick the ones that are most representative of your personality, and look for patterns. This will be your thesis statement. Then, you must back up your claim with examples and situations involving your character.

If your character were Jem Finch from Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the main idea would be how racial conflicts, social inequalities, and internal struggles between public opinion, his own views, and what is actually right shape his personal character.

Character Analysis Questions

Now that you’ve jotted down some key concepts about your character, here’s a list of questions to help you fill in the blanks:

  • Where do the events in your character’s life take place?
  • What are your character’s relationships to other important characters?
  • What is the most significant change your character has undergone throughout the story?
  • What is your character’s history?
  • What is your character’s job?
  • What kinds of emotions does your character experience?
  • What are the values of your character?
  • What is the worth of your character?
  • Does your character have any pals?
  • Does your character learn a lesson by the end of the story?
  • Does the character achieve the objectives he or she has set for himself or herself?

Make an Outline

Writing a literary analysis outline is one of the most important steps in writing. A well-written character analysis outline will help you organize your thoughts and ideas.

Introduction:

Make your paper’s introduction brief and meaningful. It should tie your entire essay together and pique your audience’s interest. Fill in the blanks with a brief description of the character in question.

Body:

Divide your body paragraphs into various ideas or areas concerning the character. Examine your professor’s rubric to ensure that you will be able to complete all of the required tasks. You should also be given questions to answer in order to better formulate your analysis.. The body should answer the following questions:

  • What is the physical appearance, personality, and background of the character?
  • What are the character’s conflicts, and how did he or she overcome them?
  • What lessons can we glean from this character?
  • What is the significance of the character’s actions? What drives him/her?
  • What is the character’s role? What is his/her attitude toward others? Is he/she just or unfair?
  • What is the character’s response? What words does he/she use? Is he/she well-versed in a variety of languages?
  • How does the character describe himself or herself? What do others think of him/her?
  • What words come to mind when you think of the character? Perhaps a word like “hope,” “bravery,” or “freedom”?

Conclusion:

It’s time to learn how to write a conclusion for a character analysis. Your conclusion should also tie your thoughts together and form a final analysis statement. Mention aspects of the character’s conflicts that we might encounter in real life. You can also write about how a character should have reacted in a given situation.

Character Analysis Essay Example

Read our blogs “Character Analysis of Jem Finch,” “The Great Gatsby Book Through Daisy Buchanan Character,” and “Analysis of Characters in Beowulf” for more information, or simply use these character analysis essay examples as a reference for your paper.