One of the most exciting literature assignments surely is a character analysis essay. Writing a paper about a particular hero of the story, you have a chance to immerse yourself into his/her psychology, conflicts, and ways he/she deal with them. This is your chance to analyze a character and see the world from his/her perspective.
If you need some guidelines on how to compose a winning paper of this type, just read this article. We are ready to share some tips and techniques with you.
How to write a character analysis, and what is it?
When writing a character analysis, you are expected to understand him/her as a person. Students need to look deeper at the hero’s motivations, ideals, and ways he/she perceives reality. In general, such essays allow you to understand the world a character lives in and see it in more detail. You need to figure out who he/she is and learn more about the story and his/her role in it.
There are different types of characters:
- Main characters or protagonists
- Antagonists or characters that oppose the main characters
- Major characters are those that move the plot forward
- Minor characters are those that interact with major characters and serve to reveal the leading figures better
- Foils are the figures opposed to the main characters and serve to contrast with them
All of these heroes can be either dynamic (those that act and change during the story) or static (those that are passive and don’t change).
Before you start writing your paper, you should read the text attentively and pay special attention to the line of a hero you will analyze. Take notes, write down the most crucial points, and figure out the key aspects of his/her personality. Try to notice how the author describes the character and makes him/her look “alive.” Make sure that you can answer the following questions:
- What are the relationships between your character and other figures? How does he/she show his/her moral values and ideas when interacting with them?
- How does the author describe the character?
- Which decisions of the character move the plot? How?
If you find it hard to answer these questions, try reading a character analysis essay example found online. Get inspired, but avoid plagiarizing!
The writing process
Make sure to write down the critical moments of the story that show your character from different sides. Read your notes and shape the main trait of your character or an idea about him/her.
- Create an outline
Using your notes, outline the most critical points of your research. You need to analyze the character in an organized and consistent manner. Move from one point to another gradually and make sure that they are connected naturally.
- Introduction paragraph
Present the author, story, and then say a couple of words about your character. Make sure that your introduction explains the central question of your work and evokes interest in your readers. Add a thesis statement – your main idea about the hero.
- Body paragraphs
Divide the body section of your essay and locate one idea per paragraph. Make sure that you cover the questions from your professor’s instructions. As for the general structure, you can start by describing the character’s appearance, social background, and main traits of personality. Then move to the issues and conflicts your character had. How did he/she manage to solve them? What can you tell about him/her as a person considering his/her decisions? What can you learn from that?
Now you can write the conclusion of your paper. Here you should briefly shape your ideas revealed before and restate your thesis. Also, you can mention that the conflicts described in the story can happen to us in real life. Maybe, you will want to provide some personal reflections and explain the decisions you would make in a similar situation.
Make sure that you proofread your paper before showing it to your professor. It is essential to eliminate errors, misprints, grammar, and punctuation mistakes. If you have enough time, put your paper away for a day or two. Then reread it and see if you can detect some weak parts or missed points. Ask your relatives or classmates to take a look at your paper and evaluate it. Consider their critique and comments to improve the text.
Now you know how to compose a winning character analysis and which points to focus on. Base your review on the original text as well as your own experience. Maybe, a particular character reminds you about someone you have met in your life. Or perhaps you can associate the character with yourself. These associations can help you create a more detailed and in-depth analysis.