Students usually must write character analysis essays for their English courses or literature courses. They find themselves lost because they have no idea where to begin. A character analysis essay can be challenging if you do not know how to approach it. In this article, we have highlighted the major concerns about character analysis essays. To write an effective character analysis, all you need is a complete guide.
If you know how to approach it, it will not be difficult for you to write it. Read this article carefully to know all the details about it. This kind of essay has a requirement to analyze a character in the light of some story. You can easily do this by noticing and analyzing the important qualities in the personality of this character compared to other characters. Before going into the details on how to write a character analysis, we will discuss what character analysis is.
What is a Character Analysis Essay?
A character analysis is an essay that analyzes the characteristics and traits of a character in depth. This character can be from a literature book or some other form of art like cinematography. You must analyze the behavior of this character compared to other characters in the story. Every aspect of this character is considered for the character analysis essay: the behavior, the qualities, the bad side, and the role. You should also discuss the role of the character in the story and what part this character has played to make the story progress.
Purpose of Character Analysis Essay?
The basic purpose of a character analysis essay is to analyze in-depth the role of characters in the story and learn from their lives. You also have to consider the audience you are writing it for. If the whole class is given the same task and everyone is writing about the same character, it is obvious that everybody knows the plot. In such cases, you do not include the plot of the story or sometimes mention a little plot. However, if your audience has never read the story and has no idea about the character, you will summarize the entire background story. You will progress your essay by mentioning the traits of this character and what role has played in the story. You will explain the different situations from the story that will relate to the traits you mentioned in your essay.
Types of Character Analysis
The characters in the story are classified based on their traits, characters, and qualities. Following is the explanation of these classes.
Every story has major characters who run the story. The story typically revolves around these characters. They are always involved in major events of the story. The nature of these characters is explicitly depicted in these major events. There are usually two types of major characters: the protagonist and the antagonist.
The protagonist is the hero in the story, or we can say the good guy. This character is involved in the major events of the story but in a good way. The protagonist is the leading character in the story and does good things. This character has so many positive traits in his personality.
The antagonist is the character that is opposite to the protagonist, or we can say the bad guy. In most of the stories, the antagonist does evil things and tries to cancel the good that the protagonist does. The main conflict in the story is created by the antagonist.
Minor characters in the story are usually there to help the major characters reveal their personality. They are present in different situations throughout the story and interact with the major characters. The interaction of major and minor characters leads to the progress of a story. Minor characters also have many traits in their personality, some are good, and some are bad. These minor characters are further classified into three categories: dynamic, static, and foil.
A dynamic character is usually the main character. This character is changing and undergoes many variations throughout the story. You will see a different set of traits in the beginning and in the end, this character will have a completely different set of traits.
One of the minor characters is static who remains the same throughout the story. They will have the exact same nature from beginning to end.
The story revolves around the protagonist. It is very important to have the focus on the hero of the movie. The writer makes all the efforts to draw all the attention to this main character and this is done to enhance the protagonist’s role. For this purpose, the writer adds some characters in the story who has the job to bring attention to the protagonist, and these characters are called foils.
How to Analyze a Character
To analyze a character, it is very important for you to read the story repeatedly. This will help you analyze the broader view. Try not to be subjective while analyzing your character. Avoid generalizations and try to be specific while talking about your character’s traits. You should deeply analyze the situations where your character is involved. You should notice how the character is responding to the specific situations and what the dialogues are. This will help you identify the personality of your character. We get to know people’s personalities by noticing how they respond to situations. The situation is similar in analyzing the characters for character analysis essays.
You should deeply analyze the character by noticing the situations they are involved in. You should also notice the impact of a character’s personality on other characters of the movie. It is equally important to analyze the impact of character in others’ life and what lesson they are conveying to the audience. The characters are either in the literary world or cinematic world, no matter what the case is but characters always convey some lesson. Analyzing the lesson that they are conveying also helps to identify the nature of the character.
How to Write a Character Analysis Essay
Sometimes you are asked to write a character analysis essay and are also assigned the character. In some cases, you are not assigned the character. You should always consider choosing a dynamic character, as they keep changing and there is a lot to mention about them. Following are a few steps you should follow to write an effective character analysis essay.
Read the story
The first tip to write about a character is to know them completely. It is only possible if you read the story again and again. When you read the story for the first time, you select the character you want to write about. Reading it for another time will give you a deeper analysis of your character. You will get to know about the situations you previously skipped. If you know all the details about a character, it would be so easy to write about it. If you have plenty of time, reading it for the third time will always be a good option.
Choose a dynamic character
If you are free to choose the character from the story, always go for the dynamic character. Dynamic characters are usually the main characters, so there is a lot to write about them. Moreover, dynamic characters are the ones changing throughout the story, so they will have so many aspects to their personality. They will undergo many changes in their traits from beginning to end of the story. If you discuss all these traits in detail, you will have a lot of content for your character analysis essay. You will also have room for the discussion of this change and how this change has impacted or progressed the story.
Another tip is to take notes while reading the story. If you read the story and think that you have memorized everything, it is just a matter of seconds that you will end up skipping some significant events. It is better to note these important events that you think relate to your character and are helpful for analyzing the character’s personality. Not taking notes is always a bad idea, as you will not be able to remember everything. This will lead to an ineffective character sketch which will be difficult to understand. These notes will act as a draft and will be helpful for building a strong character analysis.
Choose the main idea
Your character must have the main idea. This main idea is established by the kind of lesson your character conveys. This is not the same as the main idea of the story. The main idea of the character is somewhat different from the main idea of the story. It will revolve around the character you are analyzing and will depict the values of this character. The main idea of character involves more of the factors that shape the personality of this character. These factors can be inequalities, conflicts, and struggles. All these factors play an individual role to develop the personality of this main character. You can also use it for structuring your thesis statement.
Well-constructed character analysis
Character analysis is not difficult to write. It involves a little effort to analyze the character from different aspects. We have already discussed the factors you should consider writing this. Now, we will discuss the structure of a well-constructed character analysis. The character analysis essay also has three main parts: the introduction, the main body, and the conclusion. Each of these individual parts is discussed below in detail.
The introduction is the first part of your essay and this the first thing your audience will read. You should make it interesting by adding an attention-grabbing hook. You should write your introduction in such a way that it convinces your audience to read till the end. Summarize the whole story or the main theme of the story in a few lines of introduction to give your audience an idea of what the story is. Explain the character’s traits you will be discussing in the essay and structure it in the form of a thesis statement. Follow the same order of traits in the body of the essay. After reading the thesis statement, your audience will get the idea of whether they want to read the entire essay or not.
The main body of the essay can be as lengthy as you want it to be. The ideal number of body paragraphs is three. You can discuss three major characteristics or traits of your character in each paragraph. Along with each trait, you should mention the events that helped you analyze that specific trait. You can also quote some dialogues from the story showcasing those traits. Convince your audience that you did not come up with this specific trait out of nowhere rather you analyzed it from the story, and it is clear. The more references you involve from the story, the more credible your essay will be.
In the concluding paragraph, you should mention how the characteristics of this character have impacted people in real life. You can also tell the audience about real-life situations where they can encounter similar experiences. It is also a good idea to give suggestions and personal opinions on how the person should have reacted in certain situations. You should try to end your essay in an equally effective way as you had started it. End the conclusion with a concluding statement.
Outline of Character Analysis Essay
The outline of the character analysis essay is as follows.
- Hook to grab attention
- Background of story
- Traits of character
- Thesis statement
- A topic sentence explaining the trait
- Events from stories
- Dialogues from story
- Impact of trait
All three body paragraphs follow the exact same format.
- Significance of traits
- Relation to real life
- Concluding statement
Summing up the entire discussion, the character analysis essay requires you to analyze every aspect of a character’s personality in detail. This requires your effort but is not difficult to write. If you follow the tips carefully and follow the structure mentioned in the above article, you are good to write an effective character analysis essay.