As a student, you will have to write a character analysis essay at least for literary courses or English classes. In this article, we will delve into the peculiarities of character analysis and will learn how to define the role of a character in a story.
Character Analysis Essay: the Basics
In a nutshell, this type of an essay requires an analysis of the role of the character and understanding of his/her motives. Regardless of the literary genre of the story, in such essays, you have to create the profiles of the protagonist and the antagonist and analyze the conflict between them.
The assignment is helpful in understanding the world of the character and the conditions in which he/she lives. The analysis is necessary to discover the reasons behind the character’s actions. With this purpose in mind, you have to “dissect” the character and identify the moments in his/her life that shaped his/her personality.
Types of Characters in a Story
Depending on the roles characters play in a story, they can be categorized as major or minor. In addition, use the following terminology to refer to the characters:
- Protagonist, or the central character, the hero of the story.
- Antagonist, one who is opposed to the protagonist. This should not necessarily be a person – it could be particular circumstances, a deity, natural forces, etc.
- Dynamic – these are the characters who change as the events unfold.
- Static, or unchanging characters.
Where Do You Start?
Now when you are familiar with the basic concepts and the purpose of the essay, you can begin your analysis. The following plan will help you make the process effective and efficient.
- Step 1. Choose the character to focus on. You might be tempted to go for the protagonist but do not be in hurry. Consider other characters, too, as their development in the story can also be worth your attention.
- Step 2. Read the story carefully. This step should not be ignored even if you are already familiar with the plot. In fact, a strong analysis requires more than one reading of a story because you will notice something new every time you will be reading it. Be sure to note or somehow mark the passages where your character appears – you will return to them later.
- Step 3. As you read the story, don’t hesitate to take notes and highlight all remarkable passages. Not only will it help you understand the story better, but it will also provide you with ample evidence to support your arguments. Remember that simply describing the character in your essay is not enough; you will have to provide strong evidence to explain your reasoning.
- Step 4. Create an outline. Many students forget about outlines and their essay structure turns out to be sloppy. However, a detailed outline guarantees proper organization of your thoughts and coherence of your essay.
- Step 5. Write your essay. Remember that apart from the aforementioned aspects, you have to follow the general requirements to academic writing. Finally, proofread and revise your essay – perfect grammar and spelling always raise your chances of getting a good grade!
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