Do you need help writing a character analysis essay? Not sure where to begin? We understand. Whether you choose Hamlet, Harry Potter, A Rose for Emily, or something else, studying a character for the first time might be difficult, but let that not scare you anymore because we’re here to help.
There are many layers to a character that, if not understood, can create misunderstandings about their role in the story. Thus, one must know how to dissect a character.
This article will provide you with step-by-step guidance, planning, and writing advice to help you in this endeavor.
What is character analysis?
Character analysis is an essay examining characters’ behaviors, motivations, and actions. It is employed while writing an analysis for any piece of literature. The analysis includes the description of personalities and conflicts with others occurring during the course of a story.
In short, character analysis is all about assessing the personality traits of a particular character. This investigation’s primary goal/aim is to critically evaluate the characters and draw suitable conclusions based on story results.
The evaluation is usually made by studying the character’s behaviors, habits, and motivations. For instance, you can think about internal and external conflicts that are common for them.
Different character types that you can evaluate in a movie/novel include:
- Protagonist – This is one of the main characters in the story that is primarily positive. The story revolves around the protagonist, or one can say that this character takes the story forward.
- Antagonist – This is another main character who is negative and always opposite to the protagonist. The usual role of antagonists is to create problems for the positive characters.
- Major characters – These are the primary or essential characters around whom the story takes place.
- Minor characters – These are small characters that may have insignificant roles to play in the story. They usually appear and disappear as per the demands of a particular situation.
- Dynamic or round characters – It is a character that undergoes numerous changes in the story. In other words, the character changes and evolves throughout the story.
- Static characters – These characters are opposite to dynamic characters, i.e., they remain the same or unchanged throughout the story.
- Stereotypes – These characters are used to fill in the spaces. A boring housewife, a geek, and a nosy neighbor are among them.
Apart from the characters mentioned above, there are stock, sidekick, and foil characters that one can analyze.
Character analysis outline
When authoring an essay on a specific character, it is crucial to write an outline first. Doing so will make your process of writing the analysis easier and more straightforward. An outline can be referred to as a checklist that helps you to include all significant points of the analysis. Here are the key points you must cover when creating the outline:
The personality of the character: Discuss the character’s personalities through the words they use and their speech. For instance, analyze what words are used to describe the character.
Role of the character: Examine the role played by the character and their personality traits since it helps categorize the character.
Development of the character: Character development is a crucial aspect of the analysis. Identify and discuss how the character evolved and matured over the course of the novel. The characters go through a sequence of changes during the novel, and examining this process is vital when studying the character.
Keeping these points in mind, one may develop an outline for the essay. You may use the character analysis outline template given below as your reference:
Write the movie/book and its director or author that you are going to analyze. Introduce the character that will be evaluated in the essay. Include a thesis statement that sums up the essay concisely. Keep this part engaging so that the readers are glued to the analysis.
Describe the character in detail with vivid descriptions concerning their role in the plot, and discuss the character type and their relationship with other characters. The main ideas and information included in the introduction will be broken into numerous sections in this part. This part usually has three body paragraphs (you can add more if required).
The following points should be explained in this section.
- Character’s physical attributes
- Conflicts that the character faces and how is it overcome by them
- The moral value of the character and other key takeaways
You can also include additional data and relevant quotes to underline your crucial points.
It is the final section of the essay and will summarise everything. Make the thesis robust and long-lasting by restating it here. Do not repeat the same details, but instead, use summarised data to highlight your core point. Furthermore, do not introduce or add additional details here.
These are the three main sections that form the outline of the character analysis essay.
The purpose of writing a character analysis
Basically, the purpose of writing a character analysis is to help the reader comprehend the character and the milieu in which they live. One of the fundamental goals of a character analysis essay is to inspect the anatomy of a character in a story and break down/analyze who they are. The analysis helps the reader learn how the character was formed in detail.
You must decide how much of the plot to include based on your audience. However, if you are sure that your audience is unfamiliar with the character, it is critical to offer as much background information as possible.
Make sure to give an explanation to the reader on why specific episodes were picked and how they portrayed the character. Finally, summarise everything by clearly describing the objective and role of the character in the story.
Steps to writing a character analysis
To write an informative character analysis essay, you need to immerse yourself in the literary piece to get a profound clarity on the character. You must pay attention to the situations in which the character is involved and their conversation and role in the plot.
Please include information about what your character accomplishes on a large scale and how they inspire other characters. Regardless of the categories listed above, strive to look outside the box and explore your character from all angles. Avoid making broad assertions or being overly simplistic. Concentrate on delving into the subtleties and specifics of your character.
Take note of the setting, climax/ending, and other vital 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 character’s morals and behaviors and see how they have impacted the situations and other characters throughout the novel. Take note of the characters you find fascinating.
Character analysis follows a standard format as given below:
Step 1: Select a dynamic character
Step 2: Make notes
Step 3: Pick a main idea/thesis statement
Step 4: Draft an outline
Step 5: Write your character analysis
Select a dynamic character:
In most circumstances, your teacher will assign you a character to examine. However, at times you will be free to choose your own. If you have the option, try to pick the most dynamic character. This does not have to be the primary character or the protagonist but a strong one.
The character you pick must have enough substance to work with, and it must undergo changes throughout the story. This way, you’ll have a character that makes your essay engaging and entertaining to your readers. On the other hand, if you select a static character, the analysis might turn out to be monotonous.
It is beneficial to take notes or highlight/underline any and all of the story’s important parts as part of making notes when you read or watch the plot. Your notes will aid in writing the analysis clearly and gives more dimension to your description.
This step also helps you to come up with a vivid description that makes the readers connect with the characters effortlessly. Once you complete making notes, go through it again and write down your key notions about the character.
Here are some aspects that you can concentrate on when making notes:
- Make a note of pertinent childhood facts or other helpful information about the character’s background.
- Make a list of any physical characteristics and character traits mentioned by the author. Take note of how your character interacts with others.
- Analyze how the character fits into the 5 elements of the plot, namely, the introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Evaluate the actions performed by your character to assist the plot in achieving any of these elements.
- Check if there were any obstacles in the character’s path and how they overcame them. Finally, determine how the character grew over time in the story.
Pick the main idea:
Once your notes are complete, go through them thoroughly to construct the thesis statement for your essay. Analyze the points you wrote to find patterns and ideas that represent your character. This idea will be your thesis statement for the essay.
Draft an outline:
After writing your thesis statement, you can shape the path of your analysis with an outline to magnify it. This way, you won’t be bumbling around, listing random facts about your chosen character. The outline sets a clear essay plan in an organized manner that supports your vision.
Here’s a list of questions addressing character analysis that helps you fill in the blanks (if you have any):
- Where do the events concerning your character take place?
- What are your character’s relationships with other important characters?
- What is the most significant change your character has undergone during the story?
- What is the background of your character?
- What is your character’s job/work?
- What kinds of emotions or feelings does the character go through?
- What are the values of your character?
- What is the worth of your character?
- Is your character well-liked?
- Is your character learning anything by the end of the story?
- Is the character successful in achieving the goals they have set for themselves?
Write your character analysis:
Once you are done with your outline, use it along with your notes and thesis statement to crafting your character analysis. Ensure your write-up follows the standard format and abides by the writing conventions.
These are the 5 crucial steps in writing a character analysis. Please go through each step and use it to write your analysis of famous characters.
Tips for writing compelling character descriptions
By now, you shall be familiar with the steps in writing a character analysis, so now we will present some essential tips that will help you further.
- Stir clear of mundane physical descriptions such as “tall, green eyes, middle-aged man.” Please remember that the description must appeal to the reader’s senses. Use adjectives plus metaphor, if possible, as it strengthens the illustration. For example, you can use forest green or emerald green instead of just green eyes.
- Choose physical aspects carefully, focusing on those that provide the strongest and most revealing impression. For example, a single well-chosen physical attribute, item of clothing, or unusual mannerism can convey more about a person’s personality than a dozen random photographs.
- When describing a character’s surroundings, please do not limit yourself to their present life. You may use early environments, which usually have a specific impact on the character.
- You don’t have to be direct in your description in order to make them effective. There are numerous techniques for defining a character indirectly, such as through the objects in her environment.
- Set your characters in motion to make them more believable to the readers.
Here we suggested several effective tips for character analysis that can help you analyze any personage of a novel or a movie. You can use these tips irrespective of your academic level and gain good grades. If you are analyzing a character for the first time, you may take several days to accomplish the task.
So we suggest you start early to plan your writing and outline to set the right path for your character study. Just follow the steps and tips given in the post and enjoy the character evaluation process. But if you still find it mundane and difficult to write an essay, then hire an essay writer to write your essays.