How do I write a Character Analysis Essay?

For students taking literature or English courses, they must be ready to write character analysis essays. Considering the essence of such an essay, our team has prepared this article to explain a character analysis essay and the approach to take when composing one.

Usually, when writing this essay, the student describes the characters in the context of the story. A writer attains this by evaluating the relationship between the character in question and other characters. Another approach can be giving one’s personal opinion and analysis of a particular character. Before we get to the subject matter (how to do a character analysis), let’s start by getting what a character analysis actually is.

What is a Charcter Analysis Essay?

Character analysis is the evaluation of a character’s role, traits, and the conflicts they experience in a story. Therefore a character analysis essay is a composition that seeks to explain a certain character’s characteristics and traits in-depth.

Although the characters come from literature in most cases, sometimes they can be from other art forms, such as cinematography. In a character analysis essay, a writer’s job is to inform readers who the character really is and what role they play in the story. Such essays encourage creativity; however, despite incorporating one’s personal opinion and preferences, it is important to employ critical thinking skills in analyzing the characters.

When analyzing, one has to think critically, ask questions and draw conclusions. The authors of stories do not directly state the traits of characters; therefore, one must be careful to notice these qualities as a story unfolds.

What is the objective of a character analysis essay?

The essay mainly assists the student in understanding the character and the world he or she lives in. Writers of character analysis essays look at characters’ anatomy in a story and dissect who they are. 

This form of writing is a good practice for students aspiring to be literature researchers. The essay also fosters rational thinking as students ask relevant and important questions, identify subtle character traits and draw conclusions.

Types of Characters 

The behaviors, traits, and roles of the characters in a story differentiate them. Our writers have compiled the types of characters and shared an example from famous literature and cinema pieces:

Major 

This is an important character in the story, and though they run the story, they are not necessarily the protagonist. Usually, there are one or two major characters, and they can either be good or bad/villains. Examples of major characters are:

  • Daisy Buchanan in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
  • Mercutio in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
  • Lois Lane in Superman

Protagonist

This character is usually portrayed as a hero. A protagonist is the main character around which most of the plot revolves. Examples of protagonists are”

Antagonist

This is the opposition of the protagonist. 

An antagonist is usually the enemy or villain (associated with evil). Their character is getting in the protagonist’s way of presenting an obstacle for them. Examples of renowned antagonists:

Minor

A minor character does not add much to the actual plot of a story. The help the major characters reveal their personalities as they interact together. Minor characters are usually unchanging, and they can appear every now and then. Examples of minor characters:

● Aunt March in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women

● Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

● Cinna in the Hunger Games series

[Quote/emphasize] Although a character might be minor, they do matter as they support the plot. A character analysis essay can be written on a minor character if there is enough information about a minor character’s background and involvement in the plot. 

Other types of characters are:

Dynamic (changing) 

Static (unchanging) – Does not change throughout the story.

Foils –Their work is to enhance the protagonist’s role by drawing attention to them.

Analyzing a Character 

Before getting to it, read the story carefully. Focus on a character’s environments- what they are involved in, their dialogues, and their role in the tale. 

The analysis should include details about what the chosen character achieves on a big scale and their impact on the other characters. It is not mandatory to categorize your characters into the above categories only; you should think freely and explore a character from all angles.

Writing a Character Analysis Essay?

Rule no.1: Put yourself in the story to gather a more profound understanding of the characters. Assess the setting, climax, and other important literary parts. 

It is recommendable to have a connection with the plot by feeling and seeing through the characters. Note how the characters are shaped into being by the author.

Starting a Character Analysis Essay

It goes without saying that the first step is picking your character. Your preferred character should be someone you felt a connection with after reading the story. Unless the character is already assigned to you, the self-chosen character should be playing a dynamic role. Dynamic characters easily captivate the readers as there is a tone of information about them.  

Re-read the story

Our writers’ team’s advice is to read the story once more after knowing the character you would like to focus on. While doing this, you will be more precise when reading the scenes that relate directly to your character and are essential for his/her analysis. Reading the book carefully and pay attention to every minor detail to ensure you grasp all the traits of the character. 

Reading while focusing on a particular character will help choose a central idea. The idea should be more representative of the character and help generate a thesis. 

The main idea should be supported with examples and situations involving your character. 

 Character Analysis Essay Outline

The essay has three sections:

  • Introduction
  • Main body
  • Conclusion

Introduction

It should be precise and meaningful. 

Here is where to spark the audience’s interest 

Include a short description of the chosen character 

Body

The body can be several paragraphs with different ideas regarding the character. The body provides information about the character’s physical appearance, personality, and background. 

Share what can be learned from the character and how they describe themselves. 

What inspired/drove the character? 

The character’s experiences/challenges, and how do they overcome them? 

Conclusion

The conclusion consolidates your ideas together. Restate the thesis to make a stronger final analysis statement. You could also make the essay relevant to the audience by mentioning the character’s conflicts that could be experienced in real life. Ideally, you could also give recommendations, such as advising a character on how they should have reacted. 

Writing Help

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