In any TV crime drama or British detective movie, a group of investigators is trying to solve the law case by defining the specific features of the potential offender. It can be noticed in any episode of "Colombo." Even fantastic TV series like "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" or team Fang Gang from "Angel" deal a lot with personality identification. These skills are really useful in real life. However, if you have no idea on how to analyze one's personality, you'll be stuck in many life situations. That is why your school and college teachers often ask to write character analysis or analyze just any other subject.
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Harry Potter, Buffy Summers, Colombo, Sarah Connor, Hamlet, Othello, Thor, ... There are so many wonderful fiction and non-fiction characters to analyze!
Further, in the text, we will cover the best examples of how to write a character analysis, great ideas, structure, and most useful tips that help to write an in-depth literary analysis that works. Read the guide on formatting academic essays to gain extra credit from your tutor. The result of the efficient paper is your "A" and teacher's appreciation.
Types of Character Analysis Essays
Before writing a character analysis piece, students must observe possible types of heroes to discuss. They include:
Protagonist - the central figures in any story. The plot tells about their lives and deeds. In "Buffy" series, a protagonist would be Buffy Summers herself while Angel(us) dominates in his personal TV show.
Antagonists (often defined as villains) - the opposites of heroes who tend to change during the entire story. Thus, their nature is usually more interesting to describe. Keep in mind that each personality you choose does not have to be a human being; it can be a force of nature, animal, not a living creature, etc. In our example, Faith Lehane is one of the antagonists who switches from light side to dark after killing a human and returns to light closer to the show's culmination.
Major - these characters dominate the entire story. On the example of "Buffy," we can say Scooby Gang with its five and more members represent the majors of the show.
Minor - these characters start in a couple of episodes or book chapters. Their role can be significant in the development of other figures and entire plot. In our example, we would pick someone like Amy Madison Witch or Vampire Darla who both have an influence on the main characters of both shows.
Dynamic and static characters are two opposites. The first group keeps changing throughout the story while static heroes remain the same. Willow Rosenberg, the Witch, evolves from a shy straight school girl to the world's most powerful witch with a lesbian context; Harmony remains the same silly, naive blonde even once turned to a vampire.
Stereotypical - we believe everyone knows what a stereotype is. Jonathan represents a member of this category by being a typical high school nerd who has no friends and keeps on studying all the time.
Foils - the role of these characters is to contrast with the majors throughout the story. Faith is the opposite of Buffy, Spike is the opposite of Angel, Draco Malfoy is the opposite of Harry Potter, etc.
Three-dimensional (round) personalities. These are people with double-nature, and multiple characters in their mind are all great examples of 3-dimensonal heroes. Have you watched the movie titled "Split" with the guy who had 23 or more personalities living inside of him? That's what we mean!
Unlike round characters, there are one-dimensional (flat) ones who are boring to discuss and play an insignificant role in the story.
How to Write a Character Analysis: 8 Helpful Tips & Tricks!
Do not confuse personality analysis essay with a simple descriptive essay! This type of academic paper has several peculiar features to consider, and below we share top tips on how to write an analysis of a character.
- Mind Character Analysis Form
There is two possible analysis forms student should consider when he is ready to write such type of paper:
- A part of a literary analysis paper. It means a writer should first write the summary of the story plot, include other details, and end up with the strong character analysis.
- A separate essay that focuses on a single personality. Should the character wisely to write a powerful, interesting analysis paper (it is recommended to choose three-dimensional characters, heroes, villains, or foils).
As you can guess, the first type involves more text and more sections. Write about things like:
- Main idea
- All main heroes
- Compare & contrast
- Other elements of literary analysis
In the first case, you don't have too much space to write a detailed character analysis as you have to write about all elements equally. Thus, if your analysis essay must include more than 1000 words, and you have three literary elements to discuss, you should not write more than 200 words on each topic taking into account introduction and conclusion are always needed. These two parts figure as the summary. At the same time, there is more evidence to support your view on a particular hero.
A separate character paper is a bit less complex, and our article focuses on revealing its main rules and structure. If you are in a hurry, use the crucible character analysis example.
- Begin with the Basic Information
You should start with identifying the hero: name the original story, author, years of publishing, and write a summary. Then recall the hero to whom you wish to dedicate your analysis essay. Write some basic observations first:
- Full name and its interpretation (if any). E.g. name Angel is a short form of the evil vampire's name Angelus; Buffy is a short version of Elizabeth. The name of your target hero may have a different meaning than you expect. E.g., Faith is far from giving hope to people.
- Age - it is easier to explain the actions of different characters by taking into account their age: Dawn Summers often acts silly because she's a 15-year old kid.
- Gender (man/woman/unknown)?
- Social status - write about character's work and role in community he or she is living in (unemployed heroes tend to behave more aggressively than employed ones, for example)
- Physical appearance - it is not enough to write Cordelia Chase is beautiful, and she was a Prom Queen - more details are expected! Small elements of analysis include weight, height, and clothing. They point to the main qualities of your hero. Clark Kent wears glasses and strict suits to hide his Superman nature under the mask of office nerd.
- Speech patterns. See how speech, language, the manner of voice reveals different Shakespeare's characters nature in hamlet character analysis
The primary step is to describe your hero before composing a more detailed analysis. You should have a draft where you mention how each quality influences your chosen character and, perhaps, the whole story.
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- What Would Your Interview Questions Sound Like?
Pretend that you have a chance to talk to your hero: what questions would you write down to conduct an analysis? Read the original story to find some proper quotes to answer these questions; make sure to cite every quote properly. Choose something like:
- Character's background: has Harry Potter's difficult childhood and complicated relationships with family members made him a bad person?
- Write about the way other people talk about your hero. In other words, get and share the feedback from Hermione, Ron, Draco, and Hogwarts teachers.
- Try to imagine how this character would describe his own In case such information is missing in the book, try to guess as the students do with Betty Parris, John Proctor, and other people in the crucible character analysis example.
- The analysis essay requires a short review of the relations with other people. Highlight the name of his friends and enemies (Willow, Wesley, Ron, Hermione, Leonardo) - it may tell a lot.
- Write down the ways your individual acts in different force majeure situations.
- Any good character analysis example involves these recommended questions - take the time to read outstanding examples of expert writing.
- Use Supportive Materials
We recommend using extra study materials and prepared templates to write a character analysis essay every teacher wants to see. The best way to write a perfect analysis essay is to find excellent samples online.
We also encourage you to try one of the worksheets attached. Try to keep your ideas and entire character study organized:
More Tips to Observe
Those were the main tips each student must remember when writing a character analysis essay; it is time to read the last three recommendations. Also, it is interesting to read this article to find ways to write a successful essay of any type as a part of English test.
- Find a Focus
When you write, it is critical to concentrate on something. Even though the main goal is to conduct a character's in-depth analysis, you should still define the main point of the paper. Name all features of your hero and his or her role in the story. Then, highlight only one trait that you find to be the most curious. In other words, define that one thing that made you choose this character (unless you were assigned your topic).
Here is an example of great analysis focus. Both Harry Potter and Buffy Summers have a hard mission they should accomplish by sacrificing their own lives. There is a common term used to describe such heroes as these two and Neo from "The Matrix" - The Chosen One. Write down about this trait in your character analysis.
- Body of Evidence
Present evidence from credible and up-to-date sources to support every aspect of your character analysis. As far as most of the time you will have to provide analysis of fictional character, scientific materials and academic journals won't do. Be ready to find evidence from the piece of literature you're working on. You will have to prove your awareness with the in-text citations and indirect quotes from the book or movie your hero comes from.
- It's All about Powerful Conclusion!
At the end of your character analysis essay, you need to find out whether the information you have provided throughout the text would be useful for detectives. Will they identify a character using your writing? Have you mentioned the most outstanding and important traits of your chosen person? A killer analysis essay conclusion might reveal one more aspect of your target character which would be a shock to the audience. Finally, you must write down the reasons for choosing this character out of all other alternatives.
How to Write a Character Analysis Essay
Do you wonder what to include in a character analysis paper? There are three things that make any character analysis essay specific.
Relationships: Write down the names of people with whom your target character interact most of all during the entire story development. Explain specific goals for choosing these characters to describe the target hero. On the examples of their relationships, a writer can point to the place of the chosen character in the story and explain his actions.
Author's Main Goal: When you write about the personality, it is important to specify the character's type (see the full list of types above). Write down why you think the author has created this specific character. Explain his/her role in the lives of other story heroes and entire plot; conclude with the lesson this character gives.
Organization: The structure of character analysis essay is different from the regular academic paper. If you write about specific fiction personality, there is no need to share any research findings. Follow a five-paragraph formula:
- Introduction paragraph
- Body paragraph number one
- Body paragraph number two
- Body paragraph number three
- Conclusion paragraph
An introduction must be based on the powerful thesis statement, which is the main argument in your essay. Make sure to attract attention from the opening paragraph. Involve a hook sentence, referencing the title of the chosen writing piece along with its author, and revealing the purpose of writing in a clear, concise thesis sentence. A good thesis includes at least three subtopics in the order the writer is going to write his character analysis essay: from the least to most important. The rest of the essay has a typical academic paper structure. Write an impressive conclusion which will motivate the readers to like/dislike the target personality.
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“Although many people consider the character of Darth Vader from “Star Wars” a villain, I have got some arguments that prove his alter-ego, Anakin Skywalker, had all reasons to turn to the dark side. He remained more humanistic than many other characters of the saga.”
That is how a student can guess how to write a character analysis essay. The most important part is choosing the character a writer likes. Unless your teacher assigns a specific, boring topic like the characters of Shakespeare’s (common, that is a chestnut), try to come up with a unique idea based on the favorite story. Read the article to learn how to write a character analysis essay step by step!
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What is a Character Analysis Essay?
“What is a character analysis essay?” That is a good question in case a student faces this type of homework assignment for the 1st time. It is a separate type of academic assignment, usually assigned to the Literature class, which contains a detailed description of the specific character’s appearance, traits, actions, plot development, and other features.
Writing a character analysis might be fun if a student has a right to choose the topic. It is not necessary to discuss only fiction characters – think about taking a person from the real world.
How to Write a Character Analysis Essay: Student’s Mini-Guide
Before we explore how to write a character analysis essay step by step, read a useful advice from an industry expert.
A word from Expert:
“The primary thing to realize if a student wants to learn how to write a character analysis essay is the fact this process involves an in-depth observation of the recommended reading materials along with the intensive research and attention to details that matter. An interview with an expert might give a lot of details too. Reveal the chosen character trough dialogues, narrative, and plot. Remember: distinguished writers develop characters with various facets to focus paper on these complexities.”
Anthony Salvatore, a manager and expert writer at JustBuyEssay
Character Analysis Essay Outline
A character analysis essay outline is a must-have action plan to implement if you wish to succeed in your writing.
- Introduction: Like any other academic papers, start a character essay with an introduction. The introduction must hold together the entire essay. After writing an interesting hook to grab the reader's attention, move to the thesis statement and jump to the body paragraphs.
- Body part. Subdivide the next part of the character essay into several different ideas. A student will have to support each of the objective and subjective judgments with the help of valuable evidence collected from the relevant, up-to-date, trustworthy sources. It is up to the writer to decide which sources to cite and reference in his essay:
- Academic journals
- Scholarly articles
- Documentaries & films
- Conclusion: Shape a final character thesis statement. Do not copy-paste the thesis sentence from the interaction to avoid self-plagiarism. List the main points discussed in the body section in the shape of a summary to remind the reader what you were talking about and why the specific characters were chosen. End up with a concluding sentence that will leave a strong impression on the reading audience.
CHARACTER ANALYSIS ESSAY OUTLINE (5-PARAGRAPH PAPER)
Topic sentence #1
Supporting evidence from primary sources
Topic sentence #2
Supporting evidence from primary sources
Topic sentence #3
Supporting evidence from primary sources
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Character Analysis Essay Introduction
How could a character analysis essay introduction look like? If you describe the characters from “Batman,” for example, start with a hook like “Bruce Wayne was not a protagonist of the story; this character led to the deaths of many people by refusing to invest his money into charity, environmental issues, and more.” It is an intriguing, non-standard hook. Most people tend to view Batman as a positive character. It is a good idea to show another side. Focus on the fact because his rich alter-ego did not support some of the city’s enthusiast like the character of Pamela Lillian Isley who wanted to support the environment, many of those people end up mutating and turning into negative characters. Stress these people had a chance if not Batman.
How to Write a Conclusion for a Character Analysis Essay?
In the body paragraphs of a character analysis, a student has to discuss why he/she believes Batman is not an entirely positive figure as many kids believe by listing the reasons. You may come up with the argumentative points.
- Batman never shared his money with everyone who needed it
- The character felt no sorry for the deaths of villains who used to be human beings before
- A popular character was not even a real superhero as he did not have any supernatural powers
The summary of these points will work for the character analysis essay conclusion; in the body, a writer should also add evidence like in-text citations. Recall some episodes from the movie or comics to support your view.
As for the conclusion, there is no need to write the evidence again: name the 3 arguments from the body paragraphs and restate the thesis. To leave an impression, provide some shocking facts about the characters. It could be: “The next time we will see another Batman-related movie, he might start murdering people.”
There is nothing complicated about writing a character analysis!
Have a look at a brilliant structure of the character analysis essay example; this one is based on “The Great Gatsby” novel. An interesting idea would be to compare & contrast characters or display how one views another.
Main argument/thesis: Tom Buchanan is what the main character Nick calls a scathing reflection of the old money society as unsafe and full of fears even though he seems to have a significant privilege in the shape of beautiful wife and wealth.
Body paragraph #1: The trappings of Buchanan life stress his privilege and unsafety. Supporting evidence:
- Lots of polo horses
- Incredible richness
- Year spent overseas in France (luxury)
- Fancy house
- Gorgeous wife
Body paragraph #2: Tom’s behavior and mood continuously point to his insecurity. Supporting facts:
- Prefers to cheat on his wife with lower-class females as they are easier to dominate
- Remains rather sad that his days of glory in soccer are gone
- Believes the elite is near to be swept off the map
Body paragraph #3:
His ongoing policing of the actions of others points to the fact the man wishes to reinforce social separation by status. Supporting arguments:
- Contributing money to the Gatsby’s criminal affairs thinking he is a bootlegger
- Mocking the pink suit
- Purchasing 10 dogs by throwing cash at Myrtle
Conclusion: Tom Buchanan’s privilege just makes him feel above other people and believe he is a victim whose social status is under the threat of being usurped. Like Nick mentioned, this man is a scathing image of old money royalty.
That was a clear, simple method to understand how to write a character analysis essay. If you need more information or exclusive help with academic character analysis writing assignments, just one group of people can help, and they are available online 24/7!