How To Write The Most Impressive Character Analysis In Your Life
A character analysis is a type of written assignment whose main objective is to evaluate and analyze the traits of a specific character from a literary work. The analysis may include the evaluation of the character’s role in the story and the conflicts they go through.
When analyzing a character from a book, it is not enough to just list their traits. You need to do your analysis through a critical approach. There are some effective techniques that can help you write a solid character analysis, which we will talk about later.
Book authors usually go into great detail when describing the appearance and personalities of their main characters. You can find out a lot about the character by simply reading the book and paying attention to the most important parts like the character’s age, body type, ethnicity, and anything else that may be relevant to the story. Usually, even more, time is spent by the author to describe the personality traits, motivation, and views on life, so you just have to be very attentive when studying the piece you are about to analyze. Noting as many qualities as you can help you do a more complete analysis of the character’s image.
What Character Analysis Really Means
A typical well-written piece of literary work will hardly mention any character traits directly. It is the reader’s job to spot those subtle behavior patterns and motivation and deduce the personality traits those patterns can be attributed to. That is why it is so important to be highly attentive when reading the book and looking for clues. You will need to learn to read between the lines to find out exactly what the author meant to say without actually saying it.
Even the most seemingly insignificant moments from the book can signal about essential character traits and motivation of the subject of your analysis. If it is clear that the character has gone through a lot of hardships in their life, then finishing the book with a happy ending has even more significance for the character and our understanding of him. The character may be brave, reserved, hurt, strong, and if the writing is good and you have done your share of analysis, you will know it even without the author mentioning those words even once in the book.
How To Do A Critical Analysis
The job of analyzing a character from a literary work is both fun and challenging. Deducing the motivation and traits of the character can be a very fulfilling task, but you also need to be highly attentive and know certain techniques for analyzing the characters from a book. The good news is that you don’t need any specific knowledge of psychology to do it — just remember to use our helpful tips. Here is a list of things to look for in the author’s description of a character:
- Motivation. What are the primary reasons for causing the character to act the way he does? Does the character act primarily impulsively or are his actions based on logic and ethics?
- Actions. Analyzing the character’s actions can reveal a lot about their personality. What are the types of actions the character prefers throughout the book? Are most of his actions an attempt to correct the wrongdoings of other characters or is the character himself the person with the most wrongdoings? Can the character be called devious or is he often mischievous?
- What the character says. Here you will need to analyze the character’s vocabulary and assess their level of education. Can you say that the character is highly educated or do his words reveal a different picture? Does the character often use slang or job-specific vocabulary, or is his speech clean and correct? Do their phrases reveal their old or young age? Can you tell what job or hobby the character has by the vocabulary they are using?
- Descriptions. For this section of the analysis, you will need for the ways the character is described by other characters in the book and himself. The descriptions can concern physical or character traits. They can also be impartial, emotional, or even judgmental, depending on the opinion about the character.
- Name. If the character in the book is strictly referred to by their name, analyzing the connection of the name to the personality can be tough. However, if the character is named something like Johnny the Mischief, you can instantly tell the place the character has in the story and even the author’s attitude towards the character.
How To Write A Character Analysis
There are dozens of different types of characters to be found in any book. The characters can be minor or major; they can serve as protagonists or antagonists; you can characterize the character as good, bad, or neutral. Here is a list of the most common character types you will likely encounter in your reading:
- Protagonist. The protagonist of a book is often the main character of the story, the one who moves the story forward. Without the protagonist, the story would often stagnate. The protagonist is also someone we are highly interested in from the start.
- Antagonist. The antagonist is, in a way, the opposite of the protagonist. The antagonist is usually someone who instigates the biggest conflict of the story. This is where you can often learn a lot about the character’s motivation.
- Major character. A major character will always have a significant role in the story, but not significant enough to land him the title of the protagonist. A major character also usually has a close connection to the protagonist.
- Minor character. Minor characters are usually static and serve only as a foil to the story development. We don’t see their own actions or motivation, but they can help you analyze the protagonist better.
- Dynamic character. The term “dynamic character” is rarely pointing at a standalone character type. In most cases, the protagonist and the antagonist will also be dynamic characters, which means that they move and act to progress the story further.
- Static character. Static characters hardly show any growth or progression throughout the book. However, that doesn’t always mean they are completely uninteresting. In fact, exploring the reasons for their static state can be a challenge of its own.
- Stereotype. Authors will often add one or several stereotype characters to the story to fill the space and give you some recognizable images. The characters of people who are attractive but dumb, or are geeks, or are hardcore members of any subculture, are usually stereotypes.
How To Analyze A Character
In many cases, the character you are about to analyze falls into two or more character categories. That is perfectly okay and actually was the intention of the author. To do an in-depth analysis of the character and their place in the story, you will need to go through the following steps:
- Describe the character’s personality. Even if the author does not outright describe any personality traits of this particular character, you can usually point them out from the things he does or says, or from the things other characters say about him.
- Talk about the role the character has in the story. Depending on the type of the character and the progression of the story, your character can have anything from a minor to the main role in the book.
- Analyze the development and growth of the character. How has the character and his actions changed since the story began? Has the character become more mature or has he stagnated in his development? There can be several ups and downs for the character throughout the book, and it’s important to analyze them all.
Character Analysis Outline
When it comes to the structure of your critical analysis paper, there are no surprises — your work will consist of an introduction, several body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Here is what every part of your paper should look like.
Introduction. The introduction to your character analysis should generate interest in the audience and convince them to continue reading the story. You should add a brief character description, as well as include a thesis statement, where you will put your main argument regarding the character’s position in the story.
Body paragraphs. In most cases, your character analysis will have three paragraphs, each with its specific purpose. In the first paragraph, you will talk about the character’s physical and personality traits. Here you will also mention their background, which can be a huge influence on their actions. The second paragraph should be dedicated to the conflicts the character goes through and whether he is able to overcome them or succumbs to the negative circumstances. The third and final paragraph will be your analysis of the character’s impact on the story and whether we, as readers, can learn something from the character’s journey.
Conclusion. The conclusion of your story is where you draw a line underneath the story. You can do a brief summary of everything you said in the previous parts of the paper, and then state again why you believe your thesis statement holds true. It is a good idea to strengthen your argument with a relevant quote or fact from the book.