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Character Analysis Essay — Basic Guidelines for Writing

Character analysis essay shows all the depth of human nature, emphasizes the light or dark side of a person’s soul, and describes a variety of mental outlooks. Seems pretty logical, since personages in essays are those of the first importance, doesn't it? This type of essay is special: it helps widen your vocabulary of useful words, know many possible synonyms. Isn’t it great talking about people in an interesting way? Why students should limit themselves with, for example, good and funny, when there are several interpretations for every word: kind, nice, gentle/amusing, cheerful, gay. Main hero could be described with many meaningful words, and this article will show how.

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What Is a Character Analysis Essay?

The main task of a character analysis essay is showing in detail key characteristics and certain person’s traits. Essay includes not just ordinary situations. It shows possible occasions for describing fictives fully and circumstantially.

This type of essay helps understand how a hero will act in this or that situation, why would he do so, what were his reasons for these deeds? Analysis helps in figuring out what role a person plays in a story: great one or just secondary. Moreover, knowing the needed words of an analysis essay will enlarge students’ spoken literature.

What Is a Purpose of Character Analysis Essay?

Main purpose of a character analysis essay is helping the reader understand who's the bad one and who is among the good guys. This helps catch the idea of the story from the beginning. Knowing how a hero acts in this or that separate case, speaks a lot about his point of view.

Essay divides all characters into main and minor ones. Detailed character analysis essay helps readers understand the nature of personages from an early beginning. Very often the story has several chapters, so the reader could discover much about a certain person from his doings/opinions.

Types of Character Using in Character Analysis Essay

While writing a character analysis essay, students have to remember two central personages: protagonist (key person) and antagonist. These are the main ones. The most striking roles are divided between them. Additional (minor) figures:

  • stock;
  • round;
  • foil;
  • flat;
  • dynamic;
  • confidante.

Each hero has special traits and behaviors. The round one is described as a person of passion having depth in feelings. Foil one is opposite one to positive, main one. Flat one is another side of round one: no vivid emotions, no changes while the story is being told.

Protagonist — The Main Character

Protagonist in character analysis essays is the main story’s hero. This is a person all situations revolve around. They are the bearer of truth, the spokesman for the author's ideas, the main drive behind the plot. They don't have to even be a positive hero. After all, there is also an antihero - a protagonist with morally ambiguous or straight-up negative traits. Protagonist is a key figure, all other personages are considered minor ones.

For better understanding of the protagonist, consider these examples: Romeo and Juliet, Katniss («Hunger Games»), Harry Potter, MacBeth. You can also consider Walter White («Breaking Bad»), Dexter Morgan («Dexter») and Hannibal Lecter («The Silence of the Lambs») to be antiheroes. All these examples are dynamic.

Antagonist — Character in the Opposite Position

Antagonist in character analysis essays is an opposite one to the protagonist. This type of character belongs to the dark side. Often, this can be a jealous, envious, bad, villain gossip person. They don't have to be the one ruining good protagonist’s plans, but they alway get in hero's way. Actually, there may even be more than one antagonist who may become hindrance for the protagonist. And if they are neutral in present, in the nearest future they will show their nature. Opposition between both protagonists and antagonists is clearly seen throughout the whole story.

There is, of course, a catch. As with protagonists, there's more to know about antagonists' traits. After all, an anti-villain is also a thing! Basically it's when an antagonist has some heroic traits or can be sympathized with. One can also say that it's that type of person who has good intentions or their goal is pretty good, but their methods took a very wrong turn at some point.

Othello, Captain Hook and Lord Voldemort — great antagonists’ examples. And those like John Silver, Khan («Star Trek») and Erik Lensherr («The X-Man») can be called anti-villain basically.

Major Characters

Major characters in character analysis essays are those who create a story. They play main (and clearly - important) parts, and have key roles. They make a so-called key set of personages. They are close confidants to the protagonist. If some conflict appears, major figures are mentioned first. Robinson Crusoe is a bright example.

Minor Characters

Minor characters in character analysis essays are often called supporting. They are important, but rarely are described in the story as key ones. This kind of fictives is represented by Yoda, Samwise Gamgee, Jabba the Hutt. They don’t remarkably influence the actual plot. Why flat? Because of no vivid progression.

Dynamic Characters

Talking about dynamic characters in character analysis essays - Shrek is a fine example. He is a dynamic personage because he changes: becomes softer and opens his heart to people. Fictives like him influence the story and make changes in the course of events. Their main feature: they change and grow throughout the story, making the reader sympathize with them. Another good example: Aladdin, Merida, Simba, Anakin Skywalker.

Static Characters

Static characters in character analysis essays do not change throughout whole story. They remain the same with their thoughts and opinions. Static personages are best described with the likes of Indiana Jones, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes. These personages are positive ones - though, unchangeable. Their points of view and tastes remain identical until a story ends.

Foils

Foils in character analysis essays are based on stereotypes and are opposite of main heroes. They have several key characteristics: they are wicked, distracted, conniving and scrooge. At the same time main personages are principled, focused, generous, and well-meaning. Foils are depressed and pessimistic, while main heroes — optimistic, kind, and good.

How to Analyze Characters in Character Analysis Essay?

While writing a character analysis essay, you should give a hero a general picture. Description has to grab appearance peculiarities and traits. Students must depict whether personage is good or bad. Are they pessimists or optimists? Do they have negative or positive thoughts?

There are 3 main steps for analysis:

  • Describing personality.
  • Determining type of protagonist.
  • Defining role in story.

To explore tiny personage’s quirks, all characteristics are taken into account. Just like in any literary analysis essay, you will need to pay special attention to literary devices that help reveal the true nature of a character.

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay Outline?

Character analysis essay outline includes 3 main parts: introduction, body, conclusion. Below you can find short description to understand some peculiarities:

  1. Introduction should be meaningful and brief. After reading this piece, essay’s idea should be understood.
  2. Main body is one that should be divided into paragraphs with described main heroes. It should give detailed answers to different questions concerning personality and appearance. Pay attention, separate paragraph depicts what we learn from hero or situation.
  3. Conclusion is the one where you should draw the final line of analysis. Summarize points you've given above, loop to your thesis statement or give your reader some food for thought. Just remember that this section should be brief.

Additionally, it will be good to write how a situation changed because of main hero's influence.

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay?

Instruction for writing character analysis essays is based on several steps. First, read a story carefully to find a person whom you are interested in. After reading the book, students should be able to completely grasp a key idea. Next steps include:

  • choosing dynamic hero;
  • taking notes;
  • defining main idea;
  • answering analysis questions.
  • Concerning last point, think over next questions:
  • What is hero's value?
  • What kind of emotions does your hero go through?
  • Does personage have a profound impact on plot?
  • What are relationships between heroes and other significant figures?

Understanding an effect that main hero has on plot, it is easy to grasp the meaning the author put in their work.

How to Begin a Character Analysis Essay?

Character analysis essay introduction is the first step to start. It should describe whole essay in miniature. It's kind of a catchy hook for readers to get interested and proceed to explore chosen book. Introduction shows a completely full story in several paragraphs.

To show all necessary information, make use of the thesis statement. These are rounded with text. It is fine to describe some catchy scenes and episodes to fuel readers’ interest.

Character Analysis Essay Body Paragraphs?

While introduction is a grand way to actually introduce the hero, character analysis essay body goal is identification of main personages features. Body should depict:

  • Hero’s personality and physical appearance.
  • Conflicts and ways of overcoming them.
  • Lessons readers should learn.
  • Meaning behind hero's actions.

Dynamic figure is key personage. Separate attention is given especially to them. Additional paragraph should describe a reader's feelings: what words are associated with a hero? Brave, modest, lucky, confident? Answers are key points to create a comprehensive description.

How to End a Character Analysis Essay?

Character analysis essay conclusion contains author’s point of view on course of events. Main ideas should be described shortly and clearly. Final part is a kind of review but with student's opinion. Lessons learned are described. For example, a story might teach how to live honestly, help poor people, feel merciful to others, etc.

Remember that sheets’ personages teach us how to behave in real life. Many situations shown will be useful in everyday life. Hero’ deeds teach us how to cope with problems and find ways from tangled situations.

Character Analysis Essays: Final Thoughts

A character analysis essay is used for composing lines between parallel personages. It shows the present course of events that will make sense in future. Important traits and characteristics that are depicted in the book. They have a hidden idea, some kind of lesson.

Comprehensive analysis helps to understand the meaning the author wanted to shed light on. Knowing main heros’ personal characteristics helps to explain their behavior and world perception.

FAQs' for Character Analysis Essay

What is a good thesis statement for a character analysis essay?

Character analysis essay is saturated with essential messages. It appears at the end (in last sentence) of introductory paragraph. Its task is to inform reader about information they will get acquainted with. Every sentence has hidden meaning concerning heroes. Remember, introduction must be brief but meaningful.

Student’s thesis statements should be specific — include only points that will be discussed. Good thesis statement should grab readers’ attention, make them read whole story.

What kind of essay is character analysis?

A character analysis essay mostly deals with certain books’ personages, though, figures from cinematography are involved. Its task is to explain in-depth key features of personages. Antagonist and protagonist are main ones. There also exist additional ones. This kind of an essay explains behavior and state of mind. Personal traits and preferences also make up whole picture described.

How do you write a literary character analysis essay?

Character analysis essay demands describing chosen personage in detail. Firstly though, it is needed to determine personage’s type. Next step include turning to plot for showing examples. Students have to explain why personages decide do act that way, after all.

Daniel Howard is an Essay Writing guru. He helps students create essays that will strike a chord with the readers.

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