Learning to write a character analysis requires a deep reading of the literary work paying attention to what the author reveals about him in dialogue, narrative and plot. A literary analyst writes about the role that each character fulfills in the play. The protagonist is the most important, while the one who plays the villain in the conflict against him is called the antagonist. Great writers create multi-faceted characters, so your analysis must focus on these complex issues. Here are some things to keep in mind when writing your own character analysis.
Part 1 of 3: Get Started
Step 1. Choose a character
If you are completing a school assignment, it may have been assigned to you. But if you have a choice, only consider characters who have a dynamic role in a story. Those that seem simple (one-dimensional, meaning they are only good or only bad and have no complex motivations to ponder) are not a good choice for a character analysis.
- For example, if you are reading the Mark Twain classic, Huckleberry Finn, you might choose Huck or Jim the Runaway Slave, because they are dynamic characters who display a wide spectrum of emotions, act unpredictably frequently, and move the plot forward with his actions.
- On the contrary, it might be less effective to choose the duke or the king, the con artists that Huck and Jim encounter in Arkansas, because they have considerably smaller roles in this story, they do not show many different emotions, and, above all, they are just type characters (the story needs a humorous detour and a way to separate Jim and Huck, so that the latter has his infamous moment saying Well then, I'll go to hell, and the Duke and King fill that role.)
Step 2. Read the story with your character in mind
Even if you have read it before, you have to read it again because you will notice new aspects when you have a specific task in mind. Look at all the places your character appears and consider the following:
- How does the author describe it?
For the example of Huck Finn's character, you might think about how he is described as a boy from a remote place, but clearly struggling with bigger problems that have complex social implications, such as slavery and religion
- What kind of relationships does your character have with other characters?
Think about how Huck relates to Jim, the runaway slave, both at the beginning and at the end of the novel. Think about the relationship he has with his alcoholic and abusive father, and how it shapes his identity
- How do your character's actions help the plot move forward?
Huck is the main character, so obviously his actions are important. But what specific aspect is special about the way it acts? How does he make different decisions than someone else would in the same situation? You could talk about how Huck decides to rescue Jim from people trying to return him to his owner because he resolves that slavery is wrong, even if this idea contradicts everything society has taught him
- What struggles does your character face?
Think of the way Huck grows and learns throughout history. At first, he is more likely to participate in charades (such as faking his own death); but later on, he avoids the traps he observes (when he tries to get rid of the duke and king, deceptive characters)
Step 3. Take notes
As you read a second time, write down all the important elements that add to the depth of the main character. Write notes in the margins and underline important passages.
You can also keep a notebook handy as you read to record your thoughts about the character as you go along
Step 4. Pick a main idea
Gather all your notes on the character and try to come up with a main idea that relates to them. This will be your thesis statement for your character analysis. Think about their actions, motivations, and the outcome of their story. Perhaps your thesis will be about how the character embodies the struggle of growing up as a boy or about the inherent goodness of people. Perhaps your character will show readers that even people who make terrible mistakes can and deserve to redeem themselves.
Continuing with the example of Huck Finn, you could choose an idea about the hypocrisy of civilized society because, in essence, the novel is about a boy who was raised to support the slavery of people of color, but who decides, by means of of his experiences with Jim on the river, to value him as a person and friend rather than just seeing him as a slave. In a similar way, Huck's own father captures and "enslaves" him; a situation from which he escapes and that reflects Jim's personal fight for freedom. Society considers Huck's escape to be just and moral, but Jim's escape is seen as a terrible crime by the townspeople. This contradiction is a very important turning point in history
Step 5. Make an outline
Once you've decided on your main idea, make a short outline of all your supporting material. Identify each part of the text in which your character shows the characteristic you have chosen for your thesis. Include complex evidence that allows you to give your character more depth.
An outline will help you keep your thoughts organized and maintain an effective flow as you go through your analysis
Part 2 of 3: Write the Character Analysis
Step 1. Write your introduction
With the idea of your thesis in mind, prepare an introductory paragraph about the character you have chosen and the role it plays in the literary work.
The introduction should provide the topic of the analysis, sufficient contextual information to inform and intrigue the reader, as well as the thesis statement
Step 2. Describe the physical appearance of the character
Describe him physically and explain what his appearance reveals about him as a person. Do not forget to quote or paraphrase the work directly.
Think about Huck's ragged clothes and what it says about him. Write about how he dresses as a little girl to find out about the town news and how this altered appearance influences your analysis of Huck
Step 3. Discuss your character's background
If mentioned, include details about your personal history (some will have to be inferred). Inevitably, a person's story influences their personality and personal development, so it's important to address your character's story, if possible. Where and when were you born and raised? What kind of education do you have? How do the character's past experiences influence what he does or says?
He talks about Huck's relationship with his father, and with the Widow Douglas and Miss Watson, who take him in. How do these characters influence Huck's development? The contrast between her alcoholic father and these conservative ladies who care for him later represents an interesting sequence of social behavior that can be analyzed and serves to consider how Huck's actions and beliefs fit her
Step 4. Discuss the use of the character's language
Analyze the language he uses throughout the work; Is it the same until the end, or does your lexical selection change between the introduction and the conclusion?
Huck is recognized as having a vulgar attitude for being a child and often does not speak in a way that the widow Douglas approves of. In fact, he tries to obey him and act appropriately in the church, but many times he makes a mistake and proclaims himself, through his actions and words, as a character who is much less civilized than he pretends to be or than the widow Douglas. would like it to be
Step 5. Write about the character's personality
Does it act according to emotions or reason? What values do you show through your words and actions? Do you have goals or ambitions? Be specific and don't forget to quote or paraphrase parts of the work.
Huck Finn tries to obey the rules of society, but ends up acting on his emotions in the end. He decides to rescue Jim from being returned to his owner, even when this is against the law, because he believes that his friend does not deserve to be treated as a slave. Huck decides this on his own, in blatant opposition to the values his society taught him
Step 6. Analyze the character's relationships with others
Think about how it interacts with other characters in the story. Do you lead or follow others? Do you have close friends or family? Use examples from the text in parallel with your analysis.
Step 7. Describe how the character changes or grows as the plot progresses
Most of the main characters experience conflict over the course of the story. Some are external (caused by forces beyond their control or by their environment and the people around them), while others are internal (personal struggles the character faces over their own feelings or actions). Has the character gotten worse or better in the end? Memorable characters generally change and grow in a literary work of merit.
Huck's external conflict depends on everything that happens on his journey downstream: the physical strain of the journey, setbacks along the way, getting caught up in various scandals and plans, and so on. On the other hand, the peak of his internal conflict is when he decides to help Jim win his freedom from slavery. This is a crucial moment in history where our character follows his heart rather than his social conscience
Step 8. Collect supporting materials or evidence for your analysis
Be sure to include specific examples from the text that support what you are saying about the character. Enter quotes when necessary to back up what you write. If the author describes the character as careless, you must provide specific details that demonstrate this characteristic, directly quoting or paraphrasing the work.
Part 3 of 3: Use Evidence in Your Writing
Step 1. Support your writing with textual evidence
This means that you should incorporate direct quotes from the text you are writing about to support the ideas that you are developing in your writing.
Using quotes from the text will increase your credibility as an author and support your ideas more effectively
Step 2. Use the PIE method
This means that you will expose a Pdaub it Iyou will lustrará (with a verbatim quote) and ANDYou will explain how this quote supports your idea.
For example, you could write the following: Huck Finn appropriates a new meaningful identity by being a rafter. He insists: "Going as a rafter in a boat like that meant something." This shows the freedom and pride that he associates with his raft
Step 3. Fix the quote in your own words
A quote should never stand alone as a sentence of its own in an academic composition. Rather, you must use your own words to "anchor" it with a phrase, either before or after.
- Incorrect: "Going as a rafter in a boat like that meant something.
- Correct: He insists that "Going as a rafter in such a boat meant something."
- Correct: "Being a rafter in such a boat meant something," Huck emphasized.
Step 4. Don't use too many quotes
In any case, your own words should make up about 90% of your analysis and direct quotes the remaining 10%.
- Create a rough draft to gather your thoughts on the analysis before refining your work for presentation.
- Use specific details from the text to support each of your ideas.
- Organize your analysis carefully. Write an introduction that draws the reader to your work. Make sure each paragraph is unified around a central theme. Tie all your work together with a well-crafted conclusion.
- A character also has negative aspects. Analyze them to get a deeper perspective on their personality.