A Character Analysis Essay focuses on your observations about a character in a story. This type of essay is different from a Literary Analysis Essay. With a Literary Analysis Essay, you focus on your observations about a book, poem, play, or story overall.
Your Character Analysis Essay is more specific. You may analyze one or more main characters. You do take into account the overall literary work; however, you concentrate your analysis on one specific element of the work, characters. Your goal is to help the readers of your essay understand the mental, emotional, and intellectual inner workings of the main character.
How do you analyze a character from a literary work? You analyze by studying what that character, thinks, says, and does. You also analyze a character by studying what other characters say or think about him or her.
This accomplishes two things. First, you understand the character from their point of view. You form an opinion of them based on their inner thoughts and urges. You also formulate opinions based on actions they take in response to their life situations and circumstances. How they react to the actions and words of others can tell you much about that individual's character. This helps you understand them, and the story better.
Second, you understand the character from other characters points of view. How different people in a story talk about and describe the character you're studying gives you a well-rounded view of that character. Think of it, you're getting multiple viewpoints, which help you gain a deeper understanding of what makes this person tick. How a main character relates to others is an indication of their personality, or lack thereof.
In a Character Analysis Essay, you will describe the physical attributes of the character to give your reader a mental picture of them. You will also give their name and maybe some family background. However, that's just the starting point. You now must dig deep into this person's psyche to understand their motivations.
You must consider what they say to themselves in their mind. You must consider what they say to those they love and to those they maybe don't love so much. The characters thoughts and speech will give you a true picture of the person.
In addition, the actions they take or do not take against others will speak loud and clear about the person. Taking action may be hitting a person who has offended them. Not taking action would be refraining from striking a person – showing self-control.
Ask yourself the following questions as you compose your Character Analysis Essay:
The key to a good Character Analysis Essay is to let rich examples form the literary work and support your analysis. Yes, you want to present your argument on what this person is all about, after all it's your essay. However, support your argument with examples of their innermost thoughts. Give examples of their dialogue with other characters.
Give examples of direct action they've taken against people, places, animals, things. Maybe they threw a plate up against a wall in frustration. Maybe they kicked the dog. All of these give the reader of your essay a glimpse at what this person is really like.
Don't dwell on the negative, though. Highlight the good and bad in a character. We all have our strengths and weaknesses. That's why we're the unique individuals we are. You want to present an objective view that presents all aspects of the character you're studying. There's good in everyone and you must show positive attributes as well.
Get specific when writing your Character Analysis Essay. Don't generalize, as you will present a character "type" not this "individual character." You want your essay reader to know this character like he or she is a friend. For example, don't say, "The character has a penchant for the good things in life." Instead, say, "The character always travels to Paris in June and books the best room at the Ritz." That's specific, and paints a vivid picture of this characters taste.
A Character Analysis Essay truly does mean, "Getting to know you better!" Go beyond the surface that a physical description of your character gives, and get inside their mind. Let their actions, words, beliefs, thoughts, attitudes, and temperament reveal the true person.
Look for all of these things in any literary work you are studying. Present all of these elements of the individual to your reader. They will understand the character better, while appreciating you as a fine purveyor of Character Analysis Essays.
You can perform this same kind of character analysis to the main characters in a literary work you read. You then create a written report on your findings. Of course, the result is a Character Analysis Essay.
A Character Sketch is a great way for your student to assess the characters in the literature they are reading or people that they are researching about. It can give them tools of observation as they look at the many details about another individual.
When studying a specific character in a literary piece the sketch gives the student the freedom to be a detective and try to find out what the author is expressing through their characters. They can sketch the protagonist ( the favorable hero or heroine in the story,) or the antagonist ( the character which causes the conflict for the main character), or the supporting characters. Assigning this kind of paper sharpens the skill of observation and note-taking as they focus on one specific character and the traits that make them ‘who they are’ in the book.
When you are writing a Character Sketch, want to look for qualities of character and/or personality traits that you see in the person you want to write about. The main goal of the assignment is to be able to tell something about the person you are researching. Think of it like an introduction. In essence, you are introducing the reader to the person you are writing about.
A character sketch is not a history of the person; however, this type of paper requires you to give only a brief glimpse of the individual. When you are preparing to write make a list of the traits or details you want to include. If you have a word limit on the assignment it is possible to assign the number of traits equal to the # of paragraphs or supporting topics needed. Or you can categorize the subjects into a broader spectrum which allows you to have multiple supporting points for each topic. It is always best to outline your writing material first so you have a good idea what you are writing.