How to Write a Character Analysis
The main character of a novel, a play or a story does not differ that much from the characters of the soap operas or movies we like to watch. Likewise with the books, sometimes we discuss the plot or the action of the main character of a given movie. You know that the classical writers as well as movie directors tend to represent their characters as subtle and changing, so that it is very difficult to describe them completely. The most attractive book character is the person whose psychical condition and mentality have many sides. Otherwise, the book you are reading, or the movie you are watching would have been too boring. Notwithstanding, there are some ways to probe deeply into the character’s soul and mind. Here you will find some useful pieces of advice on how to write a character analysis essay.
How to write a character analysis essay – important tips
Describe the context
As an introduction to your essay you could say a few words about the novel/story/play by telling about its author and the issues it touches upon. Here is the right time to describe the plot and to introduce your thesis. Answer the following questions: why is the character X the main character of the book? What are his/her main traits? What does he/she achieve at the end of the book? How is the main character related to the intentions (messages) of the author?
Interaction with the other characters
A character is also revealed through his/her interaction with the other characters. This is one of the basic tools of writers to describe them. You should observe the main character’s interactions with the others. He/she will reveal different traits, both positive and negative, and will probably show his/her true intentions and goals.
Observe their actions
Usually the reader can gain more information about the characters in two ways: first, by reading the author’s narrative (the writer can tell about some events in the past, or comment on the things happening now); and second, by observing the character’s actions. The subtle characters are able to perform actions pretty different from their usual behavior. That means, the main character may be completely revealed as late as at the end of the book (in the climax).
Values and ideology
The main character probably adheres to a given set of values or a definite ideology (he/she fights against slavery, or defends Christian values, or is a socialist, and so on). Every literary character is representative of a given approach to life of a given worldview. The best works in the history of literature show collisions at an ideological level.
Remember: you are allowed to quote the character’s words. Don’t quote too much of them. Do it only when necessary.
The author has created a message for the reader by creating this character precisely, and not that one. Should we follow his/her example? Should we disapprove his/her behavior and actions? Can we identify ourselves with him/her? You should interpret the message of the author and at the same time apply it to our own life. Having read the book, what has changed inside us? One of the aims of literature is to influence the way people live, or at least to reflect on it. This can be your conclusion. Re-state your thesis again, but in view of showing that it is well-justified.
Everything said above refers to the main character of the literary work. You can also analyze other characters in the same way. Always keep in mind that an analysis should be reliable and logical, with appropriate arguments.
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