A Detailed Guide to a Character Analysis Essay
Students in colleges who study literature disciplines often got tasks to write a character analysis essay. Usually, they have to dive into the character’s features, conflicts, and schemes for their solving. In general, they have to analyze a character’s role in the story. Often it may be challenging for students to cope with this. It may seem difficult from the first sight, but as soon as you research how to work on this task and discover recommendations, you will be able to write a great essay and impress your professors. In this article, we will help you with this by providing explanations, guidelines, and tips on how to write this piece.
Before moving to the actual “how to” part, you have to get familiar with terminologies and the actual points of analysis. To work on character analysis, you need to know the target piece of literature well as well as general principles of the positioning of the characters in a plot, dialogs, etc. Your task is to describe him/her as a part of the story and what role is created for him/her. You should know the difference between protagonist, antagonist, and additional roles. Good character is not simple, so you will probably have to discover many sides of one person to make a deep analysis.
Before learning how to write a character analysis essay, let’s start with the right definition of character analysis essay concept and its purpose. This type of essay writing should reveal the entire personality of the character by questioning him/her. The object of the analysis is the hero or literary work. The task can be considered as completed if you can provide a detailed profile of the person with predictions and explanations of his/her reactions and actions.
Why students get this type of task? This analytical essay allows a deep understanding of the character and its life. Working of this task student develops the ability to see the anatomy of the characters to analyze and investigate it to the fullest. This is how you can get the skill to understand the character and get lessons from the situation the person can be in. However, this task can be difficult to manage sometimes. If you have any doubts about your performance, we recommend you to use our “Write My Essay” service and get a guaranteed A+ essay.
First thing you should have a deep understanding of before starting character study is what is a character can be. As we said above, the good character will have many sides, but still, there is a basic division according to the main features of the hero.
- Protagonist. This is the main figure in a story. The plot is based on the life of this character, its actions, events, and feelings. For instance, in “Captain Marvel” movie, it would be the actual Captain Marvel, aka Carol Danvers as she is the central character and we see her story from various perspectives. She dominates in the movie and suits this literary character definition.
- Antagonist. Also known as a villain, this character is positioned as the opposite figure to the main hero. Good antagonist also evolves during the events of the story. The basic nature of this person/concept/force/thing (yes, the villain should not obligatory be a human) remains negative. But the fact that they may change their views, goals, and characteristics often makes them even more interesting than the main character. Negative characters play an important role even in short stories.
- Major. These heroes dominate the story. They are not the main ones, but they are present in most of the events and create a base of a movie/show/book.
- Minor. This group of characters appears in a story from time to time. They may be important for moving the events forward, but then they may disappear again till the time their presence will be reasonable again. Like in “House” TV series we have some patients of the doctor who can be present in a few episodes throughout the entire show.
- Dynamic and static characters. These two opposite types coexist as they help to reflect the specifications of each other. While one character of a story changes step by step, another may remain the same considering basic characteristics. As we said before, evolving characters usually are more interesting than static ones. But we can also analyze static heroes from the point of view that they are not sympathetic, smart or deep enough to get lessons from the events they went through so there are no any obvious changes in their personality. Or on the contrary, they remain strong enough and can resist the system why tries to change them, as many character analysis examples show.
- Stereotypical. If you know what stereotypes are, you will understand what type of character we mean here. Usually, this specific character represents the social, national, gender, or age group that, according to the mass view, has a particular set of characteristics. For instance, if it is a teenager, then he will be fond of videogames and will never leave his smartphone.
- Foils. Their main goal in the story to contrast with main characters and a protagonist to highlight features of the main hero(es).
- Multi-dimensional characters. As a rule, these personas present a few characters at ones. The good example is the main character of “Split” that presents 23 personalities, while the viewer sees only one man on the screen. The opposite type is one-dimensional people in the story who usually are not interesting for the audience and do not play a significant role in the events of a story.
When it comes to analyzing one character, we can make it from the point of a few types at once. For instance, the protagonist can be considered as a major character, which is developing (dynamic), or it can be a static person who remains the same despite the circumstances. The ability of characters to change can also provide you an additional course for writing a character analysis. But we can say for sure that in most cases, the complex and changing hero will be more interesting for analyzing. To make it easier to work with such characters, you can focus your attention on their characteristics like their significance in a story, actions, personality, etc.
But in any case you should cover three main points:
- Personality. Here you describe the main features of a person to create a word portrait. You can add some facts and descriptions of actions that will help to understand the hero deeper. There is no need to write some words with wide meaning like “good,” “smart,” “kind,” etc. they should bring more detailed info.
- Role in a story. Describe how important the person is for the general story and how his/her actions move the events forward.
- Character development. Think of what changes have happened to the personality of a character and what features does he/she has now. Describe the progress of a person, even if it means decreasing (person becomes less interesting, less dynamic, etc.).
It will be much easier to learn how to write an analytical essay if you follow the particular structure in your work. Usually, it consists of the common points that can be used for any character. Building a “skeleton” of your essay will help you to organize your creative process. In fact, the structure is pretty the same as in other academic papers. The best option is to follow a five-paragraph character analysis essay structure:
- First body paragraph
- Second body paragraph
- Third body paragraph
But considering the fact that your character may be a complicated person, you can divide the body part into more paragraphs to analyze a character better, opening many various aspects of his/her personality. You can look for some good analysis essay examples. You can learn more about creating an essay outline here.
Now you know what structure to use for your essay. But this does not mean you know for sure how to write a character analysis because the right structure does not guarantee a good final draft. You should develop your own characteristics and skills as well to be able to analyze a character properly.
First of all, you should read the story carefully, maybe even a few times with focusing on a character you are about to analyze. Be attentive to details considering actions, reactions, and fact about your target hero. Try to define what the writer wanted to say about this character and what makes this person unique comparing to other people in a story. Compare the features of a hero in the beginning and at the end of a story and highlight changes that have happened in his/her personality.
A fascinating thing here is that you analyze two things at once: a character and an author’s attitude towards it and what literature means did he/she use to disclose a hero.
To make your analysis essay complete and to investigate your character deeply, it is better to set some point you will follow in your work. Even with great analytical skills and critical mind, it will be hard to create a complete profile of a character if you will not be focused on one aspect at a time. So here are some important points you should follow to describe the hero:
- Motivation. Learning how to write character sheet for writers, you should focus on the reasons that move the character in a story to the particular actions. You can estimate the rightfulness of those actions as well as reasonability. Do not limit your thoughts with described events and feelings, but try to look beyond the cover.
- Actions. Every deed of a hero can say a lot about his/her personality, so do not skip events that can be not so important for the general story, but may give you some info about the character, his/her attitude to things, etc.
- Language. Words the person use can also say a lot about a personality. For instance, accents and phrases may say you about the nationality, social status, education, or even age of a character. But you should focus not only on the words, but the way the person uses them, context, intonation, and so on.
- Descriptions. There are two sources of the description of the character: from other people in a story and from the author. The author can have one attitude and description of a character, while heroes in a story may describe a person from their own perspective, and their conclusions may differ a lot. And those differences can give you an understanding of the nature of a person for your character analysis worksheet.
- Names. The way people call a person also defines the features of a hero. The character may have nicknames or other names that will display the attitude of other characters as well as a backstory of a person. You can also define the origin as well as other characteristics.
As we said before, the character analysis essay is just a writing task that has pretty the same requirements as well as structure. Here’s a character analysis essay outline, created by experienced WriteAnyPaper writers to help you write better character analysis paper:
- Introduction. Here your task is to get the attention of a reader and provide reasons to keep reading your essay. You should describe what your analysis is about and the description of the character. The reader should be engaged in the continuation of your text. But do not add any complex info as the intro should be easy to read as well. Specify the name of a book and a character, of course. We also strongly recommend you to come up with a good hook idea for your essay.
- Body. This is the main paragraph that contains the biggest piece of your literary analysis. This is when you can start using all the available information about the character; reveal its features, events, motivation, and so on.
- Conclusion. An analysis essay conclusion is where you summarize your analysis and provide final thoughts to characterize a hero. You can mention its type (dynamic, stereotypical, etc.) and highlight the main features, changes, or roles in a story. Specify your attitude to the character as well.
The difference here is that you do not have to provide a list of references as your essay should display your thoughts and estimations in character description. You have more freedom here because you do not have to follow the stated views and facts, and you can display your own vision of a hero described in a story. And you can select your own essay topics in these creative types of essays.