essay on the literary character

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay and Get an A+

essay on the literary character

A character analysis essay is a challenging type of essay students usually write for literature or English courses. In this article, we will explain the definition of character analysis and how to approach it. We will also touch on how to analyze characters and guide you through writing character analysis essays.

Typically, this kind of writing requires students to describe the character in the story's context. This can be fulfilled by analyzing the relationship between the character in question and other personas. Although, sometimes, giving your personal opinion and analysis of a specific character is also appropriate.

Let's explain the specifics of how to do a character analysis by getting straight to defining what is a character analysis. Our term paper writers will have you covered with a thorough guide!

What Is a Character Analysis Essay?

The character analysis definition explains the in-depth personality traits and analyzes characteristics of a certain hero. Mostly, the characters are from literature, but sometimes other art forms, such as cinematography. In a character analysis essay, your main job is to tell the reader who the character is and what role they play in the story. Therefore, despite your personal opinion and preferences, it is really important to use your critical thinking skills and be objective toward the character you are analyzing. A character analysis essay usually involves the character's relationship with others, their behavior, manner of speaking, how they look, and many other characteristics.

Although it's not a section about your job experience or education on a resume, sometimes it is appropriate to give your personal opinion and analysis of a particular character.

What Is the Purpose of a Character Analysis Essay

More than fulfilling a requirement, this type of essay mainly helps the reader understand the character and their world. One of the essential purposes of a character analysis essay is to look at the anatomy of a character in the story and dissect who they are. We must be able to study how the character was shaped and then learn from their life. 

A good example of a character for a character analysis essay is Daisy Buchanan from 'The Great Gatsby.' The essay starts off by explaining who Daisy is and how she relates to the main character, Jay Gatsby. Depending on your audience, you need to decide how much of the plot should be included. If the entire class writes an essay on Daisy Buchanan, it is logical to assume everyone has read the book. Although, if you know for certain that your audience has little to no knowledge of who she is, it is crucial to include as much background information as possible. 

After that, you must explain the character through certain situations involving her and what she said or did. Make sure to explain to the reader why you included certain episodes and how they have showcased the character. Finally, summarize everything by clearly stating the character's purpose and role in the story. 

We also highly recommend reading how to write a hook for an essay .

Still Need Help with Your Character Analysis Essay?

Different types of characters.

To make it clear how a reader learns about a character in the story, you should note that several characters are based on their behaviors, traits, and roles within a story. We have gathered some of them, along with vivid examples from famous literature and cinema pieces:

types of characters

Types of Characters

For example, Othello from Shakespeare's play, Frodo from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, Harry Potter from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, and Elizabeth Bennet from 'Pride and Prejudice' by Jane Austen.

For example, Darth Vader from the Star Wars series by George Lucas, King Joffrey from Game of Thrones, or the Wicked Queen from 'Snow White and Seven Dwarfs.'

On top of being categorized as a protagonist, antagonist, or minor character, a character can also be dynamic, static, or foil.

An example would also be Harry Potter from the book series by J.K. Rowling. Throughout the series, we see Harry Potter noticing his likeness to Voldemort. Nevertheless, Harry resists these traits because, unlike Voldemort, he is a good person and resists any desire to become a dark wizard.
A good example of a static character is Atticus Finch from “How to Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. His character and views do not change throughout the book. He is firm and steady in his beliefs despite controversial circumstances. 
‍ A great example of a foil charact e r is Dr. Watson from the Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle.

How to Analyze a Character 

While preparing to analyze your character, make sure to read the story carefully.

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay?

To learn how to write a character analysis essay and gather a more profound sense of truly understanding these characters, one must completely immerse themself in the story or literary piece.

Meanwhile, if you need help writing a paper, leave us a message ' write my paper .'

How Do You Start a Character Analysis Essay

When writing a character analysis essay, first, you have to choose a character you'd like to write about. Sometimes a character will be readily assigned to you. It's wise to consider characters who play a dynamic role in the story. This will captivate the reader as there will be much information about these personas.

Read the Story

You might think that if you already have read the book, there is no need to do so again; however, now that you know the character you would like to focus on, reading it again will have plenty of benefits. It will give you an opportunity to be more precise while reading the scenes that relate directly to your character and are important for his/her analysis. While reading the book, pay attention to every tiny detail to make sure you grasp the whole array of your character's traits. 

Consider the following things:

For example, when J.K. Rowling describes Harry Potter for the first time, she describes his clothes as old and oversized, his hair untidy, and his glasses as broken. It might seem just like a simple description, but she expresses compassion and pity for an orphan neglected by his only relatives. 

Think about how Harry builds up his friendships with others. First, he and Ron do not like Hermione because she acts like a know-it-all, but when she gets stuck in the dungeons with a horrendous troll, he rushes to save her regardless. 

In 'The Philosopher's Stone,' Harry is very observant of any events taking place at school. He analyzes people's actions, which builds up the plot around the stone and its importance for the magical world.

Get help with your character analysis from our custom writings experts.

Choose a Dynamic Character

Choosing a dynamic character is a great idea. This does not necessarily have to be the protagonist, but a character that undergoes many changes has grown throughout the story and is not boring and/or static. This gives you a perfect advantage to fully show the character and make your paper entertaining and engaging for the reader. If you choose a character that is not very dynamic, your essay might seem monotonous because your character will not end up doing much and will not be very involved in the story.

While you are reading, it is useful to take notes or highlight/underline any of the critical elements of the story. This will add depth to your character description(s). By providing vivid and specific examples, you connect your reader to the character, and the character comes alive in their eyes. Review your notes and formulate the main idea about your character when you're finished reading with your character in mind.

Make an initial draft while taking note of the character analysis essay outline provided by your instructor. You may follow the recommended character analysis essay format if you have not been provided with a sample.

Choose a Main Idea

While reading the story, make sure you keep track of your notes. It is a good idea to look at them, choose the ones that are the most representative of your character and find patterns. This will be your thesis. Then, you must support this idea with examples and situations involving your character. 

If your character were Jem Finch from 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee, the main idea would be how his personal character is shaped through racial conflicts, social inequalities, and internal struggles between public opinion, his own views, and what is actually right. Essaypro offers you history essay help. Leave us a notice if you need to proofread, edit, or write your essay.

Character Analysis Questions


Now that you have jotted down some main concepts about your character, here is a list of questions that can help you fill in the blanks you might still have:

Make a Character Analysis Essay Outline

When you're unsure how to write a character synopsis, remember that creating a literary analysis outline is one of the most critical steps. A well-constructed character analysis outline will keep your thoughts and ideas organized.

Character Analysis Essay Introduction:

Make the introduction to your paper brief and meaningful. It should hold together your entire essay and spark your audience's interest. Write a short description of the character in question. Don't forget to include a character analysis thesis statement which should make a case for the character's relevance within the narrative context.

Character Analysis Essay Body:

Subdivide your body paragraphs into different ideas or areas regarding the character. Look at your professor's rubric and ensure you'll be able to tackle all the requirements. You should also be provided with questions to be answered to formulate your analysis better. The body should answer the following questions:

Character Analysis Essay Conclusion:

It's time to master the secrets of how to write character analysis essay conclusions. Your ending should also hold your ideas together and shape a final analysis statement. Mention things about the character's conflicts that we could experience in real life. Additionally, you can write about how a character should've reacted to a certain situation.

Character Analysis Essay Example

Read our blogs ‘Character Analysis of Jem Finch', 'The Great Gatsby Book Through Daisy Buchanan Character,' 'Analysis of Characters in Beowulf,' or simply use these character analysis essay examples to reference your paper. You might also be interested in a synthesis essay example .

Now that you know what is character analysis, it might be time to choose a character to write about. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to type ' do my homework for me ,' you should contact our writers. You also get a free plagiarism report, formatting, and citing when  buying an essay from us!

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Writing a Character Analysis Essay | Step-by-Step Guide

I’m also going to give you a ton of examples.

This post is split into four parts for easy navigation:

character analysis essay example

In this post, I’m going to explain to you clearly and in a step-by-step way how to conduct a character analysis.

1. What is a Character Analysis Essay?

Let’s get you started with some really simple details about what a character analysis is:

2. What is the best Character Analysis Essay Format?

Character analysis essays do not have just one format.

However, let me offer some advice that might act as a character analysis essay outline or ‘checklist’ of possible things you could discuss:

1. Start with the Simple Details.

You can start a character analysis by providing a simple, clear description of who your character is. Look at some basic identity traits such as:

2. What are the character’s distinctive personality features?

Your character might have some really clearly identifiable character traits. It’s best to highlight in your character analysis the exact traits that this character possesses. Some common character traits include:

I recommend you take a moment to write down what you think the top 3 to 5 words are that you’d use to explain your character’s personality traits. These will be important to discuss throughout your character analysis.

Sometimes a character may start out with some personality traits, but change over the course of the text. This is quite common; and one clear example of this is Lady Macbeth she deteriorates from a cutthroat power player to a guilt ridden shell of a person roaming the halls of the castle. This dramatic character change is something that makes her very interesting, and is worthy of discussion!

3. What are the character’s key relationships?

Does your character have a close relationship with a certain person in the storyline?

You might want to discuss the character’s relationships as a part of your character analysis. These relationships may reveal some key personality traits of your character.

For example, in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, Horatio is the loyal offsider to Hamlet. Through his actions in staying by Hamlet through thick and thin, we learn that he is a deeply loyal character.

Examining the character’s relationships with their friends and foes therefore is very useful for digging deeper into who this character actually is, and what personality traits they have when they are put to the test within the narrative.

4. What are the character’s motivations?

Another thing you might want to examine are the character’s motivations . What do they desire most in the world? Some common motivations for characters in stories are:

This list really could be endless, but I hope the above examples give you a bit of an idea of the sorts of traits to look out for. By mentioning and examining the motivations of the character, we will come closer and closer to learning exactly what moral message this character might be able to tell us.

5. What are the character’s key conflicts?

Stories tend to have a beginning, a complication, and a resolution.

The complication involves conflicts and challenges that need to be overcome. For Edmund in Narnia, it’s cowardice. For Romeo and Juliet, it’s the conflict between love and family loyalty. Here’s some other common conflicts for characters:

Again, this list is endless.

Knowing the character’s core conflict gets us even closer to knowing the moral that the character is trying to teach us.

For example, in Romeo and Juliet, the challenge of Romeo and Juliet being together despite their families’ objections teaches us something. Personally, I believe it teaches us the importance of letting go of old grudges in order to let love bloom.

This moral lesson was taught to us through conflict: namely, the conflict that Romeo and Juliet were right in the center of.

6. What are the character’s epiphanies?

Sometimes a character has an epiphany. This often happens towards the end of the story and helps the character overcome the challenge or conflict that we discussed in the point above.

Here’s an example of an epiphany:

Not all characters have an epiphany. But, if they do, I strongly encourage you to write about it in your character analysis.

7. Examine the moral message the character teaches us.

Finally, conclude by examining the moral message behind the character. Nearly every character has something to teach the reader. Authors put a lot of thought into creating complex characters with whom we can relate. We relate to the character and say “wow, they taught me a lesson about something!”

The lesson might be something like:

This is the core of your character analysis essay. If you can pick out exactly what moral message the character teaches you, you’ll be well on your way to writing a strong character analysis.

Below I’m going to give you some examples to help you out. I know it can be hard to really get your head around a character, so sometimes the best thing is to look at some samples!

3. Here’s 13 Example Character Analysis Essay Ideas.

Most times when we create a character analysis, we’re exploring the deeper moral stories / aspects of humanity. Here’s some example ideas. I’ve tried to outline in less than a paragraph exactly what your key point will be about each character:

4. Here’s an Example Template for your own Character Analysis Essay

Feel free to use this brainstorming template to get you started with your character analysis essay. I recommend filling out as many of these key points as you can, but remember sometimes you might have to skip some of these points if they’re not relevant to your character.

Once you’ve brainstormed the ideas in Table 1, follow the character analysis essay outline in Table 2 to stay on track for your character analysis essay. Do remember though that each assignment will be different and you should adjust it based on your teacher’s requirements.

Here’s Table 1, which is a brainstorming template for your character analysis essay:

And here’s Table 2, which is an example character analysis essay outline. This is for a 1500 word character analysis essay. Change the word count according to how long your essay should be:

Read Also: 39 Better Ways to Write ‘In Conclusion’ in an Essay

Character analyses can be really tough. You need to know your character really well. You might even need to re-read (or watch) your book or movie a few times over to get to know the character really well.

I recommend when you re-read or re-watch the text before you write your character analysis, have the checklist I provided above handy and take notes. Then, use the essay outline I provided above to put all of those notes together into a clear and thorough final character analysis essay.


Chris Drew (PhD)

Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.

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Issue Cover

Article Contents

E.M. Forster and the Character of ‘Character’

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Laura Marcus, E.M. Forster and the Character of ‘Character’, The Cambridge Quarterly , Volume 50, Issue 2, June 2021, Pages 159–172,

In ‘Notes on the English Character’, first published in the American journal Atlantic Monthly in 1926 and reprinted as the opening essay in the 1936 collection Abinger Harvest , E.M Forster outlined, both humorously and poignantly, his perceptions of the defining features of Englishness. ‘I had better let the cat out of the bag at once’ (a favourite Forsterian expression), he writes at the essay’s opening, ‘and record my opinion that the character of the English is essentially middle-class’. Whereas Russia is symbolised by the peasant, and Japan by the samurai, ‘the national figure of England is Mr Bull with his top hat, his comfortable clothes, his substantial stomach, and his substantial balance at the bank’. It is, Forster continues, the public-school system that is at ‘the heart of the middle classes’; an institution, he argues, found only in England: ‘How perfectly it expresses their character…. With its boarding-houses, its compulsory games, its system of prefects and fagging, its insistence on good form and on esprit de corps , it produces a type whose weight is out of all proportion to its numbers’. 1

The Old Boys go forth into a diverse and complex world ‘with well-developed bodies, fairly developed minds, and undeveloped hearts’. This last aspect is illustrated by Forster with an experience of his own; that of a temporary leave-taking from an Indian friend (known to be Syed Ross Masood, whom he had tutored in 1907 and with whom he developed a close and lasting relationship). The friend expressed his desolation at the parting, while Forster pointed out that ‘I could not see what there was to make a fuss about.’ ‘“Buck up,” I said, “do buck up.” He refused to buck up, and I left him plunged into gloom’. When they met again, an argument ensued, in which the friend accused Forster of measuring out his emotions like potatoes. Forster’s rejoinder was that this was preferable to ‘slopping them about like water in a pail’. The difference between their responses, Forster concludes, was determined by their national characteristics:

I spoke as a member of a prudent middle-class nation, always anxious to meet my liabilities. But my friend spoke as an Oriental, and the Oriental has behind him a tradition, not of middle-class prudence, but of kingly munificence and splendour. He feels his resources are endless, just as John Bull feels his are finite. 2

This comparison, which draws largely on Masood’s patrician status, is the first of many that Forster makes in the essay. It offers a glimpse of his much lengthier representations of ‘the Indian national character’ (in essays, in his travel book The Hills of Devi (1953), and in A Passage to India (1924), dedicated to Masood) and of his numerous fictional representations of English reserve.

‘Notes on the English Character’ began life as a talk given by Forster to a group of Indian students at Cambridge in 1913, following an invitation to deliver a lecture ‘that dealt with the relations between east and west’. The lecture opened in this fashion:

Having little knowledge of politics and none of Economics or Science I had to neglect the great forces that are driving East and West together and mixing them up whether they wish it or no: and I am keeping to psychology only. I offer for your consideration a few remarks on the historical character of the English … You will be coming across Englishmen all your lives and it is right that you should ask yourselves what manner of men they are, and I being by profession a novelist, have to ask myself the same question. 3

The draft of the lecture, unlike the published version, contains, as a prelude to the discussion of the differences in emotional response between Forster’s Indian friend and himself, an insistence that the English character is not ‘cold’:

Now that the English character is undemonstrative is true enough; the public schools throwing their shadow far into life are responsible for this. But a very warm emotion lurks behind, and though this sounds like a paradox – the Englishman often doesn’t express that emotion because he values it so highly. He does not feel that it should be exposed to the light of common day […] There’s a reticence in him, a delicacy that’s easily misunderstood. And there’s also involved his keen sense of the appropriate. He likes emotion to be appropriate to the occasion. 4

Both the lecture draft and the published essay contain further illustrations of national character. The anecdote of Forster and his Indian friend is used to make a general point about ‘the English character’ and the misunderstandings that its characteristic reticence generates, with a claim for his own ‘typicality’ with which Forster expresses unease. It is, however, the only one with an obviously personal charge. In Autumn 1913, when the talk was delivered, Forster had recently returned from India, where he travelled widely and spent time with Masood, who, though his affection for Forster was clearly intense, did not return his sexual feelings. ‘Will [his love] ever be complete? Is the enigma him or his nationality?’, Forster had written of Masood in his diary in 1909. 5

In letters to Masood, Forster discussed the question of the English character, as in correspondence written during a visit to Dublin (11 February 1912): ‘The Irish view of the English character resembles the Indian: they say we are such hypocrites, and that we should be better, if we did not pretend to be so good. For my own part, I think that we should be worse: hypocrisy is a sort of cement that holds one’s wretched little character together’. 6 Here ‘character’ is ambiguously situated between the nation and the individual, and while the term ‘wretched little character’ summons up the image of a person, it appears in the letter in relation to the nation as a whole.

The question of English hypocrisy is also explored, though to rather different ends, in ‘Notes on the English Character’. Forster chose to illustrate it with a lengthy discussion of the scene in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility in which John Dashwood and his unsympathetic wife, over the course of a conversation, become increasingly parsimonious in their proposed provision for Dashwood’s widowed mother and sisters, until, as Forster writes, ‘nothing is done, nothing’. 7 They illustrate, for Forster, neither villainy nor, in any true sense, ‘hypocrisy’, but characteristic English ‘muddle-headedness’ (‘muddle’ is a word that features largely in all Forster’s novels): ‘the state of mind of Mr and Mrs John Dashwood seems to me typical of England—they are slow—they take time even to do wrong; whereas people in other lands do wrong quickly’. 8 The essay, in this as in other instances, is at once a condemnation and an exculpation of ‘the English character’, with a tone that encompasses both satire and conviction.

The 1913 lecture contained further material which was omitted from or altered in the later published version, including discussion of the English indifference to criticism, by comparison with both the German and the French sensitivity to critiques of their nations. Forster makes reference in the latter context to the Dreyfus affair, which came to stand, in the English press of the late nineteenth century, for French indifference to justice and for an apprehension of‘the long-standing defects of French civilization and the French national character’. 9 In fact, Forster is critical of the English press’s campaign against the French political and judicial system, not because he wishes to query Dreyfus’s innocence but because ‘anyone who knows the French—so sensitive, so thin-skinned and resentful—can imagine how they suffered under our bludgeoning’. The French sought revenge, Forster writes, through a press campaign against English military action in the Boer War, but this was a matter of indifference to the English: ‘Our consciences were clear, as always, I remember myself, when a little boy threw a stone at me in the streets of a French town, and shouted “rosbif.” I was not the least annoyed. “How like the French,” I thought, and passed majestically on’. 10 Forster adduces from this an ‘unwillingness to learn from criticism and the spoken or written word’, the positive side of which is that it makes the Englishman ‘level-headed’: ‘He has limited but real appreciation of character and his judgments can be surprisingly acute, because he is not carried away by an outward show of words’. 11

The second comparison is used to illustrate his view of the slowness of the English character: ‘The Englishman appears to be cold and unemotional because he is really slow. When an event happens, he may understand it quickly enough with his mind, but he takes quite a while to feel it’. 12 Here the contrast is illustrated by a tongue-in-cheek anecdote about a group of Frenchmen and Englishmen who were travelling in the Alps when their coach came perilously close to falling into a ravine: ‘The Frenchmen were frantic with terror: they screamed and gesticulated and flung themselves about, as Frenchmen would. The Englishmen sat quite calm’. Yet later, in safety, the ‘situations were exactly reversed. The Frenchmen had forgotten all about the danger, and were chattering gaily; the Englishmen had just begun to feel it, and one had a nervous breakdown and was obliged to go to bed’. The story exhibits, Forster argues, ‘a clear physical difference between the two races—a difference that goes deep into character’:

The Frenchmen responded at once; the Englishmen responded in time. They were slow and they were also practical. Their instinct forbade them to throw themselves about in the coach, because it was more likely to tip over if they did. They had this extraordinary appreciation of fact that we shall notice again and again. When a disaster comes, the English instinct is to do what can be done first, and to postpone the feeling as long as possible… It acts promptly and feels slowly. Such a combination is fruitful, and anyone who possesses it has gone a long way toward being brave. And when the action is over, then the Englishman can feel. 13

The anecdote, with Frenchmen and Englishmen riding in horse-drawn coaches in the Alps, belongs to an earlier age. It draws on a long tradition of comparison between the national characteristics of the French and the English, elaborated throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with France as ‘England’s great defining Other’. 14 Stefan Collini identifies the central terms of the contrasts drawn by the English between their own national characteristics and those of the French: ‘stability and practical good sense against revolution and political overexcitability; pragmatic empiricism against abstract rationalism; irony and understatement against rhetoric and exaggeration; and so on.’ The contrasts continued to be deployed ‘even when the assumptions behind them could no longer withstand the scrutiny that would follow from their being made explicit’. 15 Forster uses them, but with a satirical touch that indicates how fully he is aware of their ossification. The contrast is also not unambiguously in John Bull’s favour. While the anecdote suggests that in a crisis it is more useful to have the Englishman on board or on hand, and that he is not without feeling but rather creates a proper time and space for its expression, he could also be understood to suffer from a bad case of Nachträglichkeit ; to ‘postpone’ feeling is to be belated and sundered from one’s truer self. The belatedness, or anachronism, of the anecdote itself and the well-worn aspects of the national contrast again become conspicuous at the end of the essay, when Forster indicates the contemporary urgency of the topic: ‘The nations must understand one another, and quickly; and without the interposition of their governments, for the shrinkage of the globe is throwing them into one another’s arms’. 16

Forster’s central claim about the English character is that it is not only ‘slow’ but ‘undeveloped, incomplete’. It is in literature—the Elizabethan dramatists, the Romantic poets—that he finds an indication of a fuller sense of being, submerged but powerful: ‘Since literature always rests upon national character, there must be in the English nature hidden springs of fire to produce the fire we see … English literature is a flying fish. It is a sample of the life that goes on day after day beneath the surface; it is a proof that beauty and emotion exist in the salt, inhospitable sea’. 17 Looking to the future, he states his hope and belief ‘that in the next twenty years we shall see a great change, and that the national character will alter into something that is less unique but more lovable’. 18

That the ‘undeveloped, incomplete’ nature of the English character is, for Forster, inextricably linked to the public-school system places his argument alongside commentaries by George Orwell and Cyril Connolly, amongst many others, on the damaging effects of prep- and public-school experience. Writing in the late 1930s, Connolly, in the autobiographical section of Enemies of Promise , in which he focuses near-exclusively on his school-days, wrote of his prep-school, which he calls St. Wulfric’s: 19

The school was typical of England before the last war … based on that stoicism which characterized the English governing class and which has since been underestimated. ‘Character, character, character’, was the message that emerged … Muscle-bound with character the alumni of St. Wulfric’s would pass on to the best public schools … and then find their vocation in India, Burma, Nigeria, and the Sudan, administering with Roman justice those natives for whom the final profligate overflow of Wulfrician character was all the time predestined. 20

This is ‘character’ as conceived by numerous writers of the nineteenth century, including Samuel Smiles, whose study Character (1876) barely defines the concept of ‘character’ except to connect it with other cognate values: duty, self-restraint, self-reliance, truthfulness, energy, integrity. ‘In its highest form’, Smiles wrote, ‘it is the individual will acting energetically under the influence of religion, morality, and reason … Energy of will—self-originating force—is the soul of every great character’. 21 Collini, in a discussion of Victorian political thought, notes the crucial part played by ‘character’ in an economically and socially turbulent society, ‘which paradigmatically envisaged the individual …confronting the task of maintaining his will in the face of adversity’. 22 The task is understood to be at the heart, as Connolly’s description of the Wulfrician project endorses, of the colonial experience and the imperial project.

The dominance of discussion of ‘character’ in both its individual and national dimensions in the early twentieth century represents both a continuation and a break with the character-discourse of the nineteenth century, whose centrality to the period is emblematized by John Stuart Mill’s proposal for an entire new field of study—‘ethology’, or the science of the formation of character—to be devoted to it. 23 Some twentieth-century commentators on character drew on discussions of the earlier period—the influential study by the political scientist Ernest Barker, National Character and the Factors in its Formation (1927) was, Barker wrote, inspired by Charles Henry Pearson’s National Life and Character: a Forecast (1893) 24 —while situating the question of national character in the new contexts of interwar nationalisms and internationalism. Barker, whose study was based on lectures delivered in 1925–6 in Glasgow, was criticised for equating England and Britain, but the book received praise as, in Leonard Woolf’s words, ‘a sober antidote to chauvinistic nationalism’. 25 At the close of his study Barker expresses a hope very similar to that put forward by Forster at the end of his essay: Barker writes of the need for ‘a new depth and a new breadth of national character as nations learn the adjustments which they are bound to make, for their own sake and for the sakes of other nations, under a system of international cooperation’. 26

‘Is there such a thing as “the English character”? Can one talk about nations as thought they were individuals?’, George Orwell wrote in ‘The English People’, imagining these as the questions that would be posed by ‘an intelligent foreign observer’ seeking to construct ‘a reliable picture of the English character’. 27 Three such observers produced studies of national character near contemporary with Forster’s essay: the Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana, the Spanish academic and ambassador Salvador de Madariaga, and the French novelist and biographer André Maurois, an acquaintance of Forster’s with links to Bloomsbury.

Santayana, in a series of texts published during the war years, published as Soliloquies in England in 1922, explored the paradoxes of ‘The British Character’, including that of the co-existence of ‘convention’ and ‘individuality, eccentricity, heresy, anomalies, hobbies and humours’. More critically, he wrote: ‘One is tempted at times to turn away in despair from the most delightful acquaintance—the picture of manliness, grace, simplicity, and honour, apparently rich in knowledge and humour—because of some enormous platitude he reverts to, some hopelessly stupid little dogma from which one knows that nothing can ever liberate him’. 28 The Anglophile Maurois, who served alongside British troops in WW1, produced his study Les Anglais in 1927, reprinted in a popular edition in 1935. He wrote more tentatively than Santayana or Madariaga on the topic, focusing substantially on acculturation: ‘To analyse a national character is always an exercise in temerity. I know this or that English person well; I do not know the Englishman. However, centuries of history and common traditions, a climate, customs, a religion, can impose common traits on beings with very different origins’. 29 He was nonetheless prepared to make a claim for ‘the essential trait of the English, a natural confidence in life’. 30

Madariaga’s 1928 study Englishmen, Frenchmen, Spaniards was written while he was working as Director of the Disarmament Section of the League of Nations. He warned against the elevation of ‘national worship amounting to a rite’ 31 that he saw as defining the era, but did not reject the concept of ‘national psychologies’ 32 , arguing that there needed to be greater understanding of the relationship between the qualities of the nation and the individual, and of the ways in which they might be constituted in opposition to each other rather than in accord. ‘A nation’, he writes, ‘is a character.’ 33 He depicted his three nationalities—English, French, Spanish—in terms of untranslatable idées - forces : fair play, le droit , el honor— each to be understood as ‘a characteristic impulse, manifesting itself in a complex psychological entity, an idea-sentiment-force peculiar to each of the three peoples, and constituting for each of them the standard of its behaviour, the key to its emotions, and the spring of its pure thoughts’. 34 He defines ‘character’ as, ‘in its essence’, ‘a given set of tendencies’, whose ‘relative strength and mutual interplay’, differences in quantity , produce, within any given individual, ‘that distinctive difference in quality which we call character.’ 35

This fact, Madariaga argued, ‘explains not only the underlying unity of the human race but also the inconsequence of individual character’:

There is a curious assumption – much resorted to by literary critics – that a character must be consequent. The principle is most useful for writing novels of the ‘distinguished talent’ as opposed to the ‘genius’ type. It is all like a mathematical calculation. You start with a given number of equations; you shuffle them according to the rules and you find yourself conveniently carried on by a ready-made logical mechanism which safely deposits you at your conclusions. Characters thus calculated are to the great creations of art what automatons are to men. Hamlet, Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, Tom Jones are not consequent, because they are living. 36

In logic, the term ‘consequent’ relates to the second part of a proposition whose truth is implied by its antecedent part. Madiaraga’s argument is that lesser novelists produce characters whose characteristics and responses are ‘ready-made’, rendering them automatic creatures rather than ‘living’ characters with all their inconsistencies (or ‘inconsequences’) and complexities. He used a Bergsonian model of creative evolution – ‘Each moment of life brings a wholly original set of circumstances, and therefore gives rise to a wholly original act’ – while arguing that ‘there is unity, a coherence in human character without which it would vanish into the cloudy realm of the undefined’. 37

Madariaga’s turn to literary examples to define the nature of ‘character’ and to differentiate between the ‘ready-made’ (the stereotype, the bundle of fixed and pre-determined characteristics) and the complex being both coincides with and bears in interesting ways on Forster’s writings in this context. In 1926, the year in which ‘Notes on the English Character’ was published, Forster was preparing the eight-part series of Clark Lectures at Cambridge, which appeared in book form in 1927 as Aspects of the Novel . Forster devoted two chapters of this text to the topic of ‘People’. In the first, he drew the distinction between ‘Homo Sapiens’ and ‘Homo Fictus’. The former is the province of the historian, who can only adduce the nature of character from his or her actions. This relationship to individuals extends to our knowledge of people in everyday life: ‘The hidden life is by definition hidden’. 38 By contrast, a character in a book is real ‘when the novelist knows everything about it … in the novel we can know people perfectly, and, apart from the general pleasure of reading, we can find here a compensation for their dimness in life’. Characters in fiction—such as Moll Flanders or Emma – ‘are people whose secret lives are visible or might be visible; we are people whose secret lives are invisible’. 39 Forster’s distinction has not often been queried, though it raises many questions about whether and how we can ‘know’ literary characters, including the part played in that understanding by first-person and ‘omniscient’ narration in fiction. There are undoubtedly strongly personal dimensions to Forster’s sense of the opacity of ‘real’ persons and to the charged aspects, in a context in which his sexual identity was concealed from all but his intimates, of the ’hidden’ and ‘secret’ life.

In the second of the two chapters, Forster developed his influential distinction between ‘flat’ and ‘round’ characters. The former, he writes, are otherwise known as ‘types’ or ‘caricatures’, and they are, in most cases, easily recognized whenever they enter the story through a trait, gesture or turn of phrase. ‘Flat’ characters are, Forster writes, ‘little luminous discs of a pre-arranged size, pushed hither and thither like counters across the void or between the stars; most satisfactory.’ 40 His sense of their narrative utility and fittingness contrasts with Connolly’s acerbic account (which resonates more fully with Madariaga’s model of the lesser novelist and the ‘consequent’ character) of novelists who ‘

can only sling a few traits on to the characters they are depicting and then hold them there. ‘You can’t miss So-and-so’, they explain, ‘he stammers and now look, here he comes – “What’s your name?” “S-s-s-so and s-s-s-so.” There you see, what did I tell you!’ Nearly all English novels are written to this prescription.’ 41

The stammerer lacks character, in both the Wulfrician and the literary senses of the term.

Forster spends little time on delineating the obviously ‘round’ character, whose test ‘is whether it is capable of surprising in a convincing way’, and rather more on characters who, while they may appear and behave as flat ones, exhibit, if only fleetingly, the potential for roundness. All Jane Austen’s characters, Forster writes, ‘are round, or capable of rotundity. Even Miss Bates has a mind, even Elizabeth Elliott a heart, and Lady Bertram’s moral fervour ceases to vex us when we realize this; the disc has suddenly extended and become a little globe.’ 42

The potential for, and the actualisation of, development is clearly an aspect which differentiates the round from the flat character, the former being able to act ‘out of character’. What bearing might this have on Forster’s delineations of ‘national character’ and of the English character as ‘undeveloped, incomplete’? It is tempting to say that in this the English character resembles a ‘flat’ character, though Forster makes it clear in Aspects of the Novel , as we have seen, that he does not identify the quality of flatness with incompleteness or lack of development. Flat characters have their own, limited integrity, ‘have not to be watched for development, and provide their own atmosphere.’ 43 In ‘Notes on the English Character’, the Englishman is, by contrast, represented as having a buried life, buried from himself as well as others: ‘It has a bad surface—self-complacent, unsympathetic, and reserved. There is plenty of emotion further down, but it never gets used. There is plenty of brain power, but it is more often used to confirm prejudices than to dispel them. With such an equipment the Englishman cannot be popular’. 44 .

The use of national characters, or types, to explore different modalities of literature was also central to Virginia Woolf’s ‘Character in Fiction’ (1924), whose most frequently quoted claim is that ‘on or about December 1910 human character changed’, and in which Woolf writes that ‘I want to make out what we mean when we talk about ‘character’ in fiction’. 45 She produces her own representations of ‘national character’, in the familiar form of the joke in which people of different nationalities respond in different ways to the same situation, their characteristics defined by the national context from which the joke emanates. Describing the ways in which an English, a French, and a Russian writer would variously depict the elderly woman she calls Mrs Brown, Woolf asserts:

The English writer would make the old lady into a ‘character’; he would bring out her oddities and mannerisms; her buttons and wrinkles; her ribbons and warts. Her personality would dominate the book. A French writer would rub out all that; he would sacrifice the individual Mrs Brown to give a more general view of human nature; to make a more abstract, proportioned and harmonious whole. The Russian would pierce through the flesh; would reveal the soul – the soul alone, wandering out into the Waterloo Road, asking of life some tremendous question which would sound on and on in our ears after the book was finished. 46

Like Forster, in his ‘Notes on the English Character’, Woolf both points up the clichés of national character types and calls upon descriptions that she elsewhere uses without satire: in ‘Modern Fiction’ she wrote of ‘the inconclusiveness of the Russian mind. It is the sense that there is no answer, that if honestly examined life presents question after question which must be left to sound on and on after the story is over.’ 47

In a 1927 review-essay on Forster’s novels, Woolf took up the question of character in his fiction. She suggested, in her discussion of Howards End , that, while ‘the characters are extremely real to us’, 48 it is the minor characters, such as Tibby Schlegel and Mrs Munt, who, ‘though thrown in largely to amuse us, bring a breath of fresh air in with them. They inspire us with the intoxicating belief that they are free to wander as far from their creator as they choose’. By contrast, the central characters—Margaret and Helen Schlegel, Leonard Bast – ‘are closely tethered and vigilantly overlooked lest they may take matters into their own hands and upset the theory. But Tibby and Mrs Hunt (sic) go where they like, say what they like, do what they like’. 49 The critique is very close to the one that Forster had made of Henry James, in whose novels, he wrote, character, ‘human life’, is subordinated to pattern. 50 Turning to A Passage to India , Woolf suggests that Forster needed to leave England in order to give his major characters, and by extension his readers, these freedoms. In India, Forster, Woolf writes, ceases to act towards the latter like a ‘careful hostess’ and allows them ‘to ramble over this extraordinary continent almost alone’. His Indian characters, too, share this independence from the cautious control formerly exerted by the author. Woolf writes that ‘Aziz is a free agent. He is the most imaginative character that Mr Forster has yet created, and recalls Gino the [Italian] dentist in his first book, Where Angels Fear to Tread ’. 51 The good novelist has become a great one, in Madariaga’s terms, by writing from outside the boundaries, and boundedness, of England and the English character.

In recent years, there have been a number of important studies of the concept and role of character in fiction, a topic less examined, from the mid-twentieth century onwards, than almost any other dimension of literary texts. Forster’s discussions of character in Aspects of the Novel have been a starting point for many of these works. 52 The approaches they take are primarily formalist or, in the case of Blakey Vermeule’s recent book, use cognitive science as a route to an understanding of affective engagements with literary characters. The dimension of character-study that awaits fuller exploration is that of the relationships between concepts of literary and national character which were so prominent in the interwar years.

A possible explanation for Forster’s greater concentration in Aspects of the Novel on the deceptively flat rather than the round character, the character which may gradually, under certain circumstances, reveal its depths, might be that this is his conception of the English character. In this hypothesis, it is an emotional register, rather than, say, the political character of a state, which creates the link between national and literary character. In Forster’s analysis, as in Madariaga’s, this dimension complements the recourse by both writers, and many others, to literary characters as emblematic of putative national character. The connection was further forged in the ‘new biography’, of which Maurois and Woolf were prominent exponents, which drew on recent psychology to rethink the notion of character and which blurred the distinction between ‘real’ and ‘fictive’ characters, with the former treated in a novelistic fashion. It could also be argued that reference to a common European literary heritage was a way of internationalising the concept of national character in a period in which it was already under a suspicion which became yet stronger after the Second World War. At the same time, the hope appears to have been that a more sophisticated awareness of the complexities of literary character could provide a conduit to a more ‘rounded’, less stereotypical, and less ideologically fraught model of character in its national contexts.

E.M. Forster, ‘Notes on the English Character’, in Abinger Harvest and England’s Pleasant Land , ed. Elizabeth Heine (London 1996) pp. 3-13: 3-4.

Ibid., pp. 4-6.

Ibid., p. 404.

Ibid., 406.

Locked Diary, Dec 31 st , Kings College Cambridge Modern Archives, quoted by Wendy Moffat, E.M. Forster: A New Life (London 2010) p. 102.

Selected Letters of E.M. Forster , ed. Mary Lago and P.N. Furbank (London 1983) p. 132.

Forster, Abinger Harvest , p. 11.

Ibid., pp. 11-12.

Stefan Collini, Absent Minds (Oxford 2006) p. 81.

Forster, Abinger Harvest , p. 407.

Ibid., p. 408.

Ibid., p. 6.

Ibid., pp. 6-7.

Collini, Absent Minds , p. 81.

Ibid., p. 69.

Forster, Abinger Harvest , p. 13.

Ibid., p. 8.

Ibid., p. 13.

The school was in fact called St. Cyprian’s, at which Orwell was also a pupil.

Cyril Connolly, Enemies of Promise (Harmondsworth 1961) p. 175.

Samuel Smiles, Character (London 1876) pp. 12, 15.

Collini, ‘The Idea of “Character” in Victorian Political Thought’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society , 5 th series, 35 (1985) pp. 29-50: 47.

Mill, A System of Logic , vol. ii (London 1868), pp. 445-460.

Barker, National Character and the Factors in its Formation (London 1927) pp. 1-2; Pearson, National Life and Character: a Forecast (London 1893).

Leonard Woolf, Nation and Athenaeum , 41 (11 June 1927) p. 339. See Julia Stapleton, Englishness and the Study of Politics: The Social and Political Thought of Ernest Barker (New York 1994) p. 6.

Barker, National Character , p. 281.

George Orwell, Orwell’s England , ed. Peter Davison (London 2004) p. 296.

George Santayana, ‘The British Character’, in Soliloquies in England and Later Soliloquies (New York 1922) p. 31.

André Maurois, Les Anglais (Paris 1935) p. 12.

Ibid., p. 22.

Salvador de Madariaga, Englishmen, Frenchmen, Spaniards , 2 nd edn (London 1970) p. 228.

Ibid., p. 231.

Ibid., p. xi.

Ibid., p. 4.

Ibid., p. xiii.

Ibid., p. xiv.

Forster, Aspects of the Novel , ed. Oliver Stallybrass (London 1990) p. 55.

Ibid., pp. 69; 70.

Ibid., pp. 73; 74.

Connolly, Enemies of Promise , p. 65.

Forster, Aspects , p. 78.

Ibid., p. 74.

The Essays of Virginia Woolf, vol 3: 1919 to 1924 , ed. Andrew McNeillie (London 1988), p. 421.

Ibid., p. 426.

Woolf, ‘Modern Fiction’, Essays , vol iv, ed. Andrew McNeillie (London 1994) pp. 157-165: 163.

Woolf, ‘The Novels of E.M. Forster’, Essays , vol iv, pp. 491-506: 498.

Ibid., p. 499.

Forster, Aspects , pp. 142-3.

Woolf, ‘The Novels of E.M. Forster’ p. 500.

See, for example, Alex Woloch’s The One vs. the Many: Minor Characters and the Space of the Protagonist in the Novel (Princeton 2003), Blakey Vermeule’s Why Do We Care About Literary Characters? (Baltimore 2010) and Martha Figlerowicz’s Flat Protagonists: A Theory of Novel Character (New York 2016). John Frow’s compendious Character and Person (Oxford 2010), which also takes a formalist approach, does not reference Forster. On the history of the concept of character, see Susan Manning, Poetics of Character: Transatlantic Encounters 1700-1900 (New York 2013), and Marjorie Garber’s Character: The History of a Cultural Obsession (New York 2020).

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essay on the literary character


essay on the literary character

Characterization Definition

What is characterization? Here’s a quick and simple definition:

Characterization is the representation of the traits, motives, and psychology of a character in a narrative. Characterization may occur through direct description, in which the character's qualities are described by a narrator, another character, or by the character him or herself. It may also occur indirectly, in which the character's qualities are revealed by his or her actions, thoughts, or dialogue.

Some additional key details about characterization:

Characterization Pronunciation

Here's how to pronounce characterization: kar-ack-ter-ih- zey -shun

Direct and Indirect Characterization

Authors can develop characterization in two ways: directly and indirectly. It's important to note that these two methods are not mutually exclusive. Most authors can and do use both direct and indirect methods of characterization to develop their characters.

Direct Characterization

In direct characterization, the author directly describes a character's qualities. Such direct description may come from a narrator, from another character, or through self-description by the character in question. For instance, imagine the following dialogue between two characters:

"That guy Sam seems nice." "Oh, no. Sam's the worst. He acts nice when you first meet him, but then he'll ask you for money and never return it, and eat all your food without any offering anything in return, and I once saw him throw a rock at a puppy. Thank God he missed."

Here the second speaker is directly characterizing Sam as being selfish and cruel. Direct characterization is also sometimes called "explicit characterization."

Indirect Characterization

In indirect characterization, rather than explicitly describe a character's qualities, an author shows the character as he or she moves through the world, allowing the reader to infer the character's qualities from his or her behavior. Details that might contribute to the indirect characterization of a character are:

Indirect characterization is sometimes called "implicit characterization."

Indirect Characterization in Drama

It's worth noting that indirect characterization has an additional layer in any art form that involves actors, including film, theater, and television. Actors don't just say the words on the script. They make choices about how to say those words, how to move their own bodies and in relation to other character. In other words, actors make choices about how to communicate all sorts of indirect details. As a result, different actors can portray the same characters in vastly different ways.

For instance, compare the way that the the actor Alan Bates plays King Claudius in this play-within-a-play scene from the 1990 movie of Hamlet, versus how Patrick Stewart plays the role in the same scene from a 2010 version. While Bates plays the scene with growing alarm and an outburst of terror that reveals his guilt, Stewart plays his Claudius as ice cold and offended, but by no means tricked by Hamlet's little play-within-a-play into revealing anything.

Round and Flat Characters

Characters are often described as being either round or flat.

Whether a character is round or flat depends on their characterization. In some cases, an author may purposely create flat characters, particularly if those characters will appear only briefly and only for a specific purpose. A bully who appears in a single scene of a television show, for instance, might never get or need more characterization than the fact that they act like a bully.

But other times authors may create flat characters unintentionally when round characters were necessary, and such characters can render a narrative dull, tensionless, and unrealistic.

Character Archetypes

Some types of characters appear so often in narratives that they come to seen as archetypes —an original, universal model of which each particular instance is a kind of copy. The idea of the archetype was first proposed by the psychologist Carl Jung, who proposed that there were twelve fundamental "patterns" that define the human psyche. He defined these twelve archetypes as the:

While many have disagreed with the idea that any such twelve patterns actually psychologically define people, the idea of archetypes does hold a lot of sway among both those who develop and analyze fictional characters. In fact, another way to define round and flat character is to think about them as they relate to archetypes:

Good characterization often doesn't involve an effort to avoid archetype altogether—archetypes are archetypes, after all, because over human history they've proved to be excellent subjects for stories. But successful authors will find ways to make their characters not just archetypes. They might do so by playing with or subverting archetypes in order to create characters who are unexpected or new, or more generally create characters whose characterization makes them feel so unique and individual that their archetype feels more like a framework or background rather than the entirety of who that character is.

Characterization Examples

The characters of nearly every story—whether in literature, film, or any other narrative—have some characterization. Here are some examples of different types of characterization.

Characterization in Hamlet

The famous literary critic Harold Bloom has argued in his book The Invention of the Human that "Personality, in our sense, is a Shakespearean invention." Whether or not you agree with that, there's no doubting that Shakespeare was a master of characterization. One way he achieved such characterization was through his characters delivering soliloquies . The excerpt of a soliloquy below is from Hamlet , in which Hamlet considers suicide:

To be, or not to be? That is the question— Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And, by opposing, end them? To die, to sleep— No more—and by a sleep to say we end The heartache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to—’tis a consummation Devoutly to be wished! To die, to sleep. To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub, For in that sleep of death what dreams may come When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause.

Hamlet's soliloquy is not simply him saying what he thinks. As he delivers the soliloquy, he discovers what he thinks. When he says "To die, to sleep. To sleep," he is all-in on the idea that suicide is the right course. His words "perchance to dream" flow directly out of his thoughts about death as being like "sleep." And with his positive thoughts of death as sleep, when he first says "perchance to dream" he's thinking about having good dreams. But as he says the words he realizes they are deeper than he originally thought, because in that moment he realizes that he doesn't actually know what sort of dreams he might experience in death—they might be terrible, never-ending nightmares. And suddenly the flow of his logic leaves him stuck.

In showing a character experiencing his own thoughts the way that real people experience their thoughts, not as a smooth flow but as ideas that spark new and different and unexpected ideas, Shakespeare gives Hamlet a powerful humanity as a character. By giving Hamlet a soliloquy on the possible joy of suicide he further captures Hamlet's current misery and melancholy. And in showing how much attention Hamlet pays to the detail of his logic, he captures Hamlet's rather obsessive nature. In other words, in just these 13 lines Shakespeare achieves a great deal of characterization.

Characterization in The Duchess of Malfi

In his play the The Duchess of Malfi , John Webster includes an excellent example of direct characterization. In this speech, the character Antonio tells his friend about Duke Ferdinand:

The Duke there? A most perverse and turbulent nature; What appears in him mirth is merely outside. If he laugh heartily, it is to laugh All honesty out of fashion. … He speaks with others' tongues, and hears men's suits With others' ears; will seem to sleep o’th' bench Only to entrap offenders in their answers; Dooms men to death by information, Rewards by hearsay.

Ferdinand directly describes the Duke as deceitful, perverse, and wild, and as a kind of hollow person who only ever laughs for show. It is a devastating description, and one that turns out to be largely accurate.

Characterization in The Great Gatsby

Here's another example of direct characterization, this time from The Great Gatsby . Here, Nick Carraway, the narrator of the novel, describes Tom and Daisy Buchanan near the end of the novel.

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy—they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.

But The Great Gatsby, like essentially all other literature, doesn't solely rely on direct characterization. Here is Nick, earlier in the novel, describing Gatsby:

He stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him, I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward—and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away, that might have been the end of a dock.

This is an example of indirect characterization. Nick isn't describing Gatsby character directly, instead he's describing how Gatsby is behaving, what Gatsby is doing. But that physical description—Gatsby reaching out with trembling arms toward a distant and mysterious green light—communicates fundamental aspects of Gatsby's character: his overwhelming yearning and desire, and perhaps also the fragility inherent such yearning.

Why Do Writers Use Characterization?

Characterization is a crucial aspect of any narrative literature, for the simple reason that complex, interesting characters are vital to narrative literature. Writers therefore use the techniques of characterization to develop and describe characters':

Such characteristics in turn make characters seem realistic and also help to drive the action of the plot, as a plot is often defined by the clash of actions and desires of its various characters.

Other Helpful Characterization Resources

The printed PDF version of the LitCharts literary term guide on Characterization

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essay on the literary character

How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay

10 May 2021

Quick Navigation

❓What is a literary analysis essay?

📑What literature essays include?

✍️How to write a title and introduction?

✒️How to write a body paragraph?

📝How to write a conclusion?

✅Literary Analysis Essay Tips

In order to write an essay, you need the plan to adhere to the correct structure and composition. When the idea of ​​writing appears in your head, write it because inspiration is fleeting. It may seem that a literary essay is much more difficult to write than any other type, but with our advice, you will surely succeed. So, how to write a literary analysis essay?

What is a literary analysis essay and what is its purpose?

The purpose of a literature essay analysis is to evaluate and examine a particular literary work or some aspect of it. It describes the main topic or idea of the book you have read. You need a strong thesis statement, and you always have to make a proper literary analysis outline.

This can be achieved by breaking the work down into composite analyses. In order to better understand a particular literary work, it is necessary to study its main elements. And in different genres of literature, you will refer to different schemes. For example, in the analysis of the poem, you will touch upon various types of paintings in the poem or the relationship of the content and form of the work. When analysing the play, you can revise the whole plot and describe its analysis or, for example, study the main tragic hero, his shortcomings or advantages that will be visible in his development along with the text.

How to start a literary analysis? When you just read a book, it draws more attention to your own emotions and experiences that provide the pleasure of reading. But while writing a literary analysis essay, the main thing is to consider these points:

Writing is a pointed, focused expression of thought and study. When you develop in writing, then along with this, your perception of the world develops and your critical thinking and analysis skills improve. You develop creative thinking and ideas because without them there would be no writing. The main goal in a literary and analytical essay is to appeal to the reader in such a way that he sees what position you hold and goes over to your side. There must be concrete development, the writing of the text must be decisive and has no right to stumble.

As you can see, control, structure, and adherence to the rules for writing an essay are important. The first thing you need to find is the main idea. In other words, a thesis in which there should be several paragraphs. This is necessary in order to show the gradation of thought: how thoughts grow and develop from one central idea. You must do everything to develop the thesis and to convey your main idea to the reader. Ideally, the reader would be inclined to accept your idea correctly and be on your side.

Here are the basic principles of this essay:

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What must literature essays include?

The main thing here is to avoid having to write all the thoughts that come to your mind after reading the book. Always stick to the structure.

✏️Examples of literary analysis:

In “A Worn Way”, the author Eudora Welty creates a fictional character, Phoenix Jackson, who collects traits such as determination, faith, and cunning to illustrate the indestructible human spirit.

This is a very strong thesis because everything is collected here: the work itself and its author are indicated, and character as well to be analyzed. The emphasis here is on the word "creates." Because here the author of the work will explore the character of the hero and his main characteristics. This element emphasizes what the hero’s analysis will be based on created determination, faith, and cunning.

✏️Other examples of literary analysis:

The image and character of the Nurses in Romeo and Juliet envelops the main character - Juliet - with warmth, joy, and wit, but at the same time helps the reader realize the tragic catastrophe.

The works of poets such as Rumi, Hafiz and Kabir use such strong emotional symbols as the lover's longing and the destroyed inn, which demonstrate the desire of a person (his soul) to reunite with the Creator.

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How to Write a Title and Introduction to a Literature Essay?

A proper literary analysis essay would require you to have the following:

How to write literary analysis paper title

Before you think of choosing a title, you need to read the given literature carefully, as your title must highlight the content of the literature. Aside from that, it normally comprises the author's name and the texts you are evaluating. However, you will need to make it as brief and interactive as you can.

Additionally, the usual way of writing a literature essay title is to make use of a significant phrase from the given literature. Afterward, include a colon, followed by the remaining parts of your chosen title. Although finding a proper title might seem a bit difficult initially, it will get more straightforward as you continue your analysis.

How to write an introduction for a literary analysis essay

After choosing an appropriate title for your literary analysis, a well-structured intro should be your first paragraph. Writing an introduction for a literary analysis essay gives an instant outline of the areas your argument is concentrated on. Therefore, you must write your introduction creatively to get the attention of anyone reading it. Don't use too many transition words! Write a literary analysis that is fun to read.

The normal procedure of writing an introduction for your literary analysis essay outline is to start with brief facts about the author and the literature. These provided facts would be instrumental in presenting the rest of your essay.

In addition, you can mention a frequently discussed point in the literature and indicate how your thesis will dispute it. Aside from that, you can choose to briefly discuss a specific phrase your essay is based on.

Afterward, you can finish writing the introduction to a literary analysis essay with a clue about the content of the essay's body. This style of writing is known as signal posting. Signal posting should be done more elaborately while writing longer literary essays. However, it shouldn't be multiple sentences in a 5 paragraph structured essay.

If you are facing a time crunch and need assistance with writing your literary essay, there is an  online essay service that can help you. PapersOwl has been providing expert help to countless students with their literary essays for many years. Their team of professional writers is highly qualified and experienced, ensuring that you receive top-quality work. With PapersOwl's assistance, you can rest assured that your literary essay will be well-written and thoroughly analyzed.

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How to Write a Body Paragraph for a Literature Essay?

The body of a literature essay is all that is within the literary analysis essay introduction and its conclusion. It comprises your thesis and the textual evidence that backs them. There are some factors you need to consider on how to start off a literary analysis essay while writing. These factors are as follows:

Paragraph Structure

Normally in high schools, the structure of a literary essay comprises 5 paragraphs. One of the paragraphs is used in writing the introduction, 3 paragraphs for the body, and the remaining paragraph for the conclusion.

In the main body of the essay, every paragraph must concentrate on a topic. While writing a five-paragraph structured essay, you need to split your thesis into 3 major topics of analysis connected to your essay. You need not write all the points derivable from the literature but just the analysis that backs your thesis.

You don't need to think too deeply about how to write a literary analysis thesis extensively as it is similar to a short 5-paragraph thesis. For instance, the main body of your essay might consist of 2 or 3 paragraphs, with each of the paragraphs with multiple paragraphs.

Topic Sentences

You must utilize a topic sentence while starting every paragraph to maintain the focus of your points. Using a proper topic sentence would allow every person to understand the content of your paragraph at a glance.

Utilizing Textual Evidence

One of the vital parts of doing a literary analysis is to support your thesis statement with fitting textual evidence. Using textual evidence involves bringing in clauses from the literature you are analyzing and describing their relevance to your dispute.

Additionally, you must interpret every clause you state in the essay and state the reasons you chose to use them. Your chosen clauses must be well introduced and examined to convince the professor.

Applying clauses from the literature to your essay is not required often, although it is effective while analyzing the author's language. However, at times you might need to discuss plot topics or structural factors that are impossible to capture in a brief clause.

In such situations, rephrasing or summarizing parts of the literature is the right thing to do. In other words, you will need to discuss the significant parts of the texts in your way.

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Editors on PapersOwl can edit your paper and give recommendations on how to improve your writing:

How to Write a Conclusion for a Literature Essay?

While writing a conclusion of your essay, it should be about putting the finishing touches on your essay. In this section, all you need to do is to rephrase your aforementioned main points and try to make them clearer to the person who reads it.

Additionally, one of the best ways to go about this is to summarize your disputes and then discuss the conclusion they brought about. You should visit the write my essay for me portal if you don't understand how to write a conclusion for a literary analysis. At the aforementioned portal, you are guaranteed to have your analysis done by expert writers ahead of your deadline. 

Note that while working on your conclusion, you do not need to discuss any disputes or points you did not discuss previously in your analysis.

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Literary analysis essay tips to use.

There are a lot of things you need to know when crafting a literary analysis paper. But there are a few tips that can make a massive difference. These will help you start writing in no time, form proper body paragraphs and include all literary elements your paper needs. When you cover all major points and structural elements, you can look at the best grade, which is something you want. Even the best writers have been using the same tips!

Literary analysis is complicated. Before you even start, you will need to read the novel, story or etc. You will need to understand it as well. A good literary analysis is only possible if you know and understand the topic. Yes, you need theoretical knowledge as well, and you need to get the main ideas at this point. How you can create a book report or a book review if you don't understand the masterpiece?

Collect all the pieces of evidence you can. These are key points, and a core argument can make a massive difference. This is the same as with other research paper stories you have. A specific character, work's structure, and third-person narrator are all some of the facts you need to pay attention to.

Here we must add that you have to gather contradictory evidence as well! Even one sentence can be important. In a short story, this is harder to find but still present.

Try this tip as soon as you are done reading. You will want to write down dramatic irony, confusing facts, the main point of the book, interesting things, and all the rest that might be needed during the next steps. One aspect here is to form a list of all the things you have discovered. One idea can be to try and clarify all the facts.

A thesis statement must be debatable. What this means is that you cannot use a fact for this purpose. Literary analysis essay must be open for debate, and as such, you need to make your academic assignment open for discussion.

Maybe other students have a different opinion. Your analysis aims towards creating your own opinion and defending it. You can start with this in the first sentence, and you can use figurative language or narrative voice.

At this time, you should have arguments and evidence. Now you have to organize them. Literary analysis implies that you have covered all the arguments. Different analyze literature techniques will allow you to try different things. But, always start with the strongest argument. Provide strong evidence, then.

Once you are done with the literary analysis introduction and the first argument, you can proceed to the next one. All of this means that the critical analysis was successful, and you understood the main goal. This is author's opinion of you, so keep that in mind as well. You need to present a new perspective and try to cover different scenes main themes and an appealing introductory paragraph.

No matter which literary techniques you are using, start with the draft. This will be a preview of your work. If you have made a mistake with the last paragraph, three paragraphs or even a single sentence long section mistake, you can correct them. Try all of this as first-person narrator and check analysis essay before you proceed.

Odds are high that you have made a single mistake. Now you can correct all of them. Maybe some arguments will look better in a different part of the paper. Perhaps the supernatural forces arguments you have used should be explained in detail. Refine the paper, and you will see the difference.

Readers understand that your paper was tough. But this doesn't mean you can make a mistake. The only thing you can do to remedy this is to proofread the five paragraph essay and correct any issues. Even if you use all literary devices, you still have to proofread it.

The literary analysis step by step guide will tell you that you can start with the main section. Once you are done with the final paragraph, you can go to the beginning and write it. You can use this on other essay tasks as well. Why? Because you will have a much better grasp in the end than in the beginning.

Now when you have an original thesis, have used literary criticism properly, and used narrative voice alongside different literary devices, you need to do one thing more. Ask a friend or even a family member to read it. Most of the time, they can find a mistake in the three paragraphs or how characters speak. Once you correct analysis essay, you can get a better grade!

Final Thoughts

Educational institutions use literary analysis essays to improve the learning abilities of students. Although it might seem complex, with the basic knowledge of how to go about it and the help of experts, you won't find it difficult.

Creating a proper literary analysis essay requires you to know how to choose a title and an appropriate introduction. Besides that, you also need to know the appropriate manner of crafting a body for short or longer essays. Aside from that, you must learn how to write a fitting conclusion for your analysis.

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essay on the literary character

I. What is Character?

A character is a person, animal, being, creature, or thing in a story. Writers use characters to perform the actions and speak dialogue, moving the story along a plot line. A story can have only one character (protagonist) and still be a complete story. This character’s conflict may be an inner one (within him/herself), or a conflict with something natural, such as climbing a mountain. Most stories have multiple characters interacting, with one of them as the antagonist, causing a conflict for the protagonist.

II. Examples of Character

A popular television series that just ended is the show “Glee.” Each season had popular characters who had to learn to work together to create a good musical production. Various characters underwent a change, making them a dynamic character, such as Noah Puckerman. He appears to carry out the stereotype of a jock (strong but not so smart), but his character changes as it’s revealed that he can be hard working and intelligent.

A movie that features one character throughout most of it is “Castaway” with Tom Hanks. His character is on board a shipping plane when it crashes. He’s the only survivor, trapped on an island for four years. This movie focuses on his psychological (mental) and physical condition as he slowly adapts to a life of isolation, living alone on an island that is off all regular sea and airplane routes. It’s a great example of how a story can work with only one character, although many minor characters appear in the beginning and end.

III. Types of Character

A. major characters.

These are the most important characters in the story. There are two types, of which there may be a couple for each.

b. Minor characters

These are the other characters in a story. They are not as important as the major characters, but still play a large part in the story. Their actions help drive the story forward. They may impact the decisions the protagonist or antagonist make, either helping or interfering with the conflict.

Characters can have different traits. Major characters will usually be more dynamic, changing and growing through the story while minor characters may be more static.

IV. The Importance of Character

Characters are what make stories. Without a character, there is no story to tell, only a lot of scenery. Many characters in literature, television series, and movies have a huge impact on people. Some people like to live their lives through these characters, who appear to have more exciting lives.  Also, these characters may seem so real and inspirational, that people forget they are fictional.

Characters become so important to the audience, that cities across the country hold conventions in which people pay a lot of money to dress and act as their favorite characters from multiple types of shows, particularly of the comic magazine genre (type of literature).

V. Examples of Character in Pop Culture

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been keeping the city safe since the 1980s, but are still just as popular today. They each have their own special fighting method as well as personality. Originally simple, small turtles, they became super human, err turtle, after an accident in which the fish bowl of water they were in got knocked out of their owner’s hands and fell down a sewer grate, along with a canister of radioactive material. The rest is history. Nickelodeon has brought the characters back to fame, as can be seen on the channel and in the Nickelodeon Hotel in Orlando, Florida. The hotel features suites based on characters from the Nickelodeon shows for kids, and kids can interact with their favorite characters, including the Turtles, during breakfast and fun events. It’s clear that characters are an important part of our culture.

The characters are named after famous painters, and each turtle has his own personality to which different kids may relate. For example, Leonardo is the wise leader, the one who can keep the group focused. Raphael is the hothead. His temper wants to get the best of him, just as most of us would like to jump into things! Michaelangelo is the comedian. Like our class clowns in school, he’s the group clown. Finally, no group is complete without the geeky nerd. Donatello is always inventing things to help our turtle heroes in their adventures .

VI. Examples of Character in Literature

A book whose character was inspired by a real teenage girl is “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green. The protagonist is 16-year-old Hazel, who meets Gus, a fellow 16-year-old cancer patient, at a camp. Their young romance is doomed as they are fighting a losing battle with cancer. Their strong spirits overcome their parents’ fears as the determined Hazel gets her wish to go overseas to meet an author she has long admired. The book has both characters undergoing change, very dynamic, as they struggle to adapt to their fate. The minor characters are impacted by the decisions Hazel and Gus make, giving depth to the story line. This book is an example of how authors take real life situations to create believable and interesting characters. Green’s inspiration for the story, Esther Earl, was a young fan with cancer who had wanted to meet him. He became friends with her and her family. She was diagnosed with cancer at 12 and died at 16.

John Green Discusses the Touching Inspiration Behind 'The Fault in Our Stars'

VII. Related Terms

Archetype: A standard or stock type of character that appears in fiction, such as the villain, the hero, the damsel-in-distress, or the sidekick. Each archetype has more categories within, as well. For example, the villain could be a tyrant, devil, schemer, etc. The hero could be the warrior, proto-female, scapegoat, etc. These are especially common in fairy and folk tales.

VIII. Conclusion

Characters are the whole reason for any story. They can be used to help teach a lesson, to entertain, to educate, and even to persuade, depending on the author’s goal for the story line. Characters can be based on real people and events, or be totally unrealistic, such as space aliens. People become attached to characters as if they are real, may develop favorites, and relate to those that have faced similar situations.

List of Terms

A Look at the Roles Characters Play in Literature

A Helpful Guide to Character Types Found in Fiction and Nonfiction

Every great story has great characters. But what makes a great character? The main character is central to a story and needs to be “round” or complex, with depth and distinctive qualities. A cast of supporting characters can be of various types—even “flat” or uncomplicated ones, who nonetheless help move the story along.

A character is an individual (usually a person) in a narrative  in a work of fiction or creative nonfiction . The act or method of creating a character in writing is known as characterization .

In British author E.M. Forster's 1927 “Aspects of the Novel,” Forster made a broad yet worthwhile distinction between flat and round characters. A flat (or two-dimensional) character embodies “a single idea or quality.” This character type, Forster wrote, “can be expressed in one sentence.”

In contrast, a round character responds to change: he or she “is capable of surprising [readers] in a convincing way,” Forster wrote. In certain forms of nonfiction , particularly biographies and autobiographies , a single character may serve as the primary focus of the text.

The word character comes from the Latin word meaning "mark, distinctive quality” and ultimately from the Greek word that means "scratch, engrave."

Observations on Character

In “Essentials of the Theory of Fiction,” Michael J. Hoffman and Patrick D. Murphy wrote:

Mr. Spock as a Round Character

Thackeray’s Description of Lord Steyne

Narrator as a Character in the Personal Essay

Details of Character

Composite Characters in Nonfiction

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How to Write a Character Analysis Essay: Examples & Outline

A character analysis is an examination of the personalities and actions of protagonists and antagonists that make up a story. It discusses their role in the story, evaluates their traits, and looks at their conflicts and experiences. You might need to write this assignment in school or college. Like any other essay, your character analysis should contain an introduction, a conclusion, and a thesis.

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Want to know how to write a character analysis essay? Not sure how to start? We understand. Whichever piece you choose – Lady Macbeth, A Rose for Emily, or something else, – analyzing a character for the first time might be challenging. No worries, we are here to help! In this guide by our custom writing experts, you will find a step-by-step guide, outlining and writing tips, as well as a number of character analysis examples.

📑 Character Analysis Essay Examples

📔 what is a character analysis essay.

A character analysis essay is an assignment where you evaluate a character’s traits, behaviors, and motivations. It requires critical thinking and attention to detail. Unlike descriptions, analyses focus on a character’s personality and internal drives. It explains how those factors shape the narrated events.

The picture shows the definition of character analysis.

So, what you need to do is to see the characters as if they were real people who feel and act just as we do. Ensure there are no baseless assumptions and interpretations: the ideas you present should be supported by quotes from the text.

Character: Definition (Literature)

How do you define a character? It is a person, a creature, or an animal that makes up the story’s world. A character can be based on a real-life person, or it can be entirely fictional. It is someone who thinks, feels, and acts.

We use the word “character” in many different contexts. For instance, it can denote someone eccentric or worthy of our admiration. In both contexts, the term “character” means a distinctive personality. Similarly, in an analysis, your task is to show what makes a character stand out.

Characterization: Literary Definition & Examples

Characterization is the process by which a character’s personality is revealed. It presents characters’ traits, feelings, and motives to the reader. For this reason, characterization is closely connected to character analysis. It helps us to understand the characters better throughout the reading process.

Characterization can be direct and indirect .

Here are some examples of direct characterization taken from Patti Smith’s Just Kids :

“But he always suppressed his real feelings, mimicking the stoic nature of his father.”

Here we see a direct description of a character. The author straightforwardly talks about Robert’s feelings. In comparison, look at the description of a woman taken from John Steinbeck’s The Snake :

“He looked around at her again. Her dark eyes seemed veiled with dust. She looked without expression at the cat’s open throat.”

These lines don’t directly reveal anything about the woman, but the reader can understand that she is cold and dangerous. It’s an indirect characterization that focuses on looks and actions to convey the message to the reader.

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🧙 Types of Characters for Your Essay

When it comes to characters, they can be divided into several groups. For example, characters can be:

These types define how much the characters change through the course of the story and their role in it.

Character Type: Definition

In psychology, a character type is defined by a combination of personality traits that coexist in an individual. Authors incorporate different types of characters into their works to convey the message and make the story more exciting or relatable to the reader.

There are three ways to categorize a character type:

If you are about to write a character analysis essay, being familiar with character archetypes is essential. They have been categorized by a generation of writers, including the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung and the American literary theorist Joseph Campbell. A lot of characters we see in today’s literary works are rooted in them.

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Archetypes include the Trickster, the Ruler, the Lover, the Sage, and others. The Hero is one of the most notable archetypes. Hercules or Achilles can be good examples of heroic protagonists. They are strong and courageous; they meet challenges and save the day by helping others.

Main Character: Definition & Examples

The main character and the protagonist often get mixed up. Most narratives also have the figure of the antagonist , whose actions affect the plot and stimulate change. Let’s have a look at the similarities and differences between these types.

The main character is central in the narrative. We experience the story through their eyes. They don’t necessarily have to be protagonists, though it happens in many cases.

The crucial difference between the main character and the protagonist is that the protagonist goes through changes throughout the story. The main character, however, is there to guide the reader through the experience. Often they help to show a different, darker side of the protagonist.

To understand the difference better, let’s turn to some examples.

What’s a Static Character?

Now that we’ve learned about the main character and the protagonist, we will closely look at other types of character classifications. One of the ways to categorize a character is by their ability to change throughout the story.

A static or simple character is someone who undergoes little or no significant changes. They often exist for comedic purposes. Here are some examples:

Complex Character: Definition & Examples

Complex or dynamic characters are the opposite of static characters. Characters of this type change as the book progresses. They display different qualities, emotions, and motives. They become more complicated and interesting to the reader as the story unfolds.

Check out these examples of dynamic characters:

Other Kinds of Characters

You already know about several ways to define a type of character. Now, let’s go over some other types, starting with flat and round characters.

Similar to dynamic and static ones, round and flat characters represent two different ends of a spectrum. Round characters usually come with an in-depth background. They are traditionally protagonists, antagonists, or those close to them. In contrast, flat characters are two-dimensional, and there is not much depth to them.

For the examples, we will turn to the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Finally, here are some bonus character types for you:

Characterization Essay: Which Character Type to Choose

Before you start writing a paper, it essential to decide on the character you’re going to analyze. There are different types of characters in every story, so you need to choose which one suits your essay topic the best.

Usually, it’s best to choose a dynamic and round character . With static and flat ones, there may not be enough substance for you to analyze. However, some such personalities can be interesting to work with. For instance, a flat character such as Mr. Collins can be symbolic of something. Then, you can talk about how it embodies a specific idea or notion. You can also look at how they affect other characters in the story.

📝 How to Write a Character Analysis Step by Step

Now, we’re going to discuss how to write your paper step-by-step. But first, here are some pre-writing steps for you to consider:

How to Analyze a Character: Description Examples

Knowing how to organize your work is an essential skill. Certain things need special attention if you are describing a character:

When you analyze a character, try to look at them as if they were a real-life person. You want to know their motive, learn about how they feel, and understand why they think in a certain way. Ask yourself:

Now, let’s look at the character of Franklin from the short story Just Before the War with the Eskimos by J.D. Salinger:

Character Profile Template for Writing

When writing your essay, use this character analysis template:

The picture shows the main steps in writing a character analysis essay.

In the following sections, we’ll discuss each step in detail.

Character Analysis Outline: How to Start a Character Analysis

The beginning of your essay is its crucial part. It sets the mood and grabs the reader’s attention. There are many different ways to write a character analysis introduction, but here are the most effective ones:

The final part of an introduction is a thesis statement.Read on to learn how to write one!

Character Analysis Thesis Statement & Examples

A thesis is the key component of every essay, and character analysis is not an exception. It’s crucial to develop a good and clear thesis statement that includes all the aspects of your paper. For instance, if you plan to write a 4-paragraph body, including 4 points in your thesis.

What should a character analysis thesis include? Well, try to think of any trait that the character possesses that has to do with their downfall or somehow influences the story. Think about how this trait affects the character’s relationship with others or how it contributes to their motive or aspiration.

Take a look at the following examples:

How to Write Character Analysis Paragraphs for the Main Body

The main body of your essay can include as many paragraphs as you need. In this part, you introduce the character and analyze them. We have already talked in this article about what kind of questions should be answered in these paragraphs. The most important points are:

Keep in mind that every paragraph should have a topic sentence that captures its main idea.

Tsukuru Tazaki’s spiritual rebirth also affects his physical appearance.

Character Analysis Conclusion: How to Write

The conclusion part of your essay summarizes all the information you have mentioned and restates the thesis. Here is some advice for your conclusion paragraph:

🖥️ Character Analysis Essay Format

Most college assignments and essays are written according to the APA or MLA format. Both styles have the same formatting, which requires:

While writing an essay on characters, pay special attention to quotations. Here are some tips for APA in-text citations:

As for MLA format:

Below you’ll find a collection of character analysis essay examples and a downloadable sample to inspire you even more.

Character Analysis Example (Downloadable)

Roald Dahl’s  Matilda  is one of the most famous children’s novels of the 20th century. The protagonist of this tale is Matilda Wormwood, a five and a half-year-old girl with a brilliant and lively mind that distances her from the rest of the family. Matilda’s character is particularly interesting as she has a powerful personality with extraordinary mental abilities, and she manages to overcome all the obstacles that surround her.

Character Analysis Essay Topics

Now you know everything necessary for writing an excellent character analysis. What character would you like to analyze? Let us know in the comments!

Further reading:

❓ Character Analysis FAQ

A character analysis involves:

1. description of a character; 2. explanation of how they change throughout the story; 3. their role in the narrative; 4. relationships with other characters; 5. what idea the author wanted to convey through the character.

A character analysis creates a description that contains their most important qualities. It provides a new perspective of a character that reveals more about what it’s like to be human. It can also point to a moral or a lesson.

Literary analysis uses the technique of tracing the character development. This technique is usually used to understand the theme of the work better. Through tracing a character’s development, we can learn more about the story’s message and how it’s conveyed.

A summary paragraph in a character study should include answers to the questions “what,” “who,” “where,” and “why.” You should mention who narrates the story, where the story is set, its theme, and the message it conveys.

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How to Write a Character Analysis Essay: Guide with Examples

How to write a characters analysis essay

Table of contents

A character analysis is a type of essay that requires you to analyze and evaluate the characteristics, traits, motivations, and decisions of a literary character. It involves closely examining such aspects as their personality, thoughts, behavior, and development. You should further explain how a character contributes to the overall meaning of the work.

When writing a character analysis essay, it is important to think critically and look beyond basic understanding of the character. For example, instead of simply describing their physical traits or explaining what happens in the plot, focus on how the characters think, feel, and interact with other characters. Examine the motivations behind their decisions and actions, as well as how they reflect a larger theme or idea in the work. 

In this blog, we will explain how to write a character analysis essay. You will find a strtucture, outline and step-by-step guidelines along with examples.

If you don’t have much time for reading, we’ve got an easy solution for you. Entrust your assignment to essay writing services by StudyCrumb and get a custom paper tailored to your specific requirements.  

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 circumstantial. 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:  

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. Use our  college essay writing service to turn in the best character analysis your instructor has ever seen.

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 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:  

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:

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:

Concerning last point, think over next questions:

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:

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?

How to write a conclusion paragraph for an 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. Buy essays for college in case this assignment isn't what you wanted to do this evening.  

FAQs' for Character Analysis Essay

1. 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.  

2. 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.

3. 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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The Four Main Types of Essay | Quick Guide with Examples

Published on September 4, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on December 6, 2021.

An essay is a focused piece of writing designed to inform or persuade. There are many different types of essay, but they are often defined in four categories: argumentative, expository, narrative, and descriptive essays.

Argumentative and expository essays are focused on conveying information and making clear points, while narrative and descriptive essays are about exercising creativity and writing in an interesting way. At university level, argumentative essays are the most common type. 

In high school and college, you will also often have to write textual analysis essays, which test your skills in close reading and interpretation.

Table of contents

Argumentative essays, expository essays, narrative essays, descriptive essays, textual analysis essays, frequently asked questions about types of essays.

An argumentative essay presents an extended, evidence-based argument. It requires a strong thesis statement —a clearly defined stance on your topic. Your aim is to convince the reader of your thesis using evidence (such as quotations ) and analysis.

Argumentative essays test your ability to research and present your own position on a topic. This is the most common type of essay at college level—most papers you write will involve some kind of argumentation.

The essay is divided into an introduction, body, and conclusion:

The example below is a paragraph from the body of an argumentative essay about the effects of the internet on education. Mouse over it to learn more.

A common frustration for teachers is students’ use of Wikipedia as a source in their writing. Its prevalence among students is not exaggerated; a survey found that the vast majority of the students surveyed used Wikipedia (Head & Eisenberg, 2010). An article in The Guardian stresses a common objection to its use: “a reliance on Wikipedia can discourage students from engaging with genuine academic writing” (Coomer, 2013). Teachers are clearly not mistaken in viewing Wikipedia usage as ubiquitous among their students; but the claim that it discourages engagement with academic sources requires further investigation. This point is treated as self-evident by many teachers, but Wikipedia itself explicitly encourages students to look into other sources. Its articles often provide references to academic publications and include warning notes where citations are missing; the site’s own guidelines for research make clear that it should be used as a starting point, emphasizing that users should always “read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says” (“Wikipedia:Researching with Wikipedia,” 2020). Indeed, for many students, Wikipedia is their first encounter with the concepts of citation and referencing. The use of Wikipedia therefore has a positive side that merits deeper consideration than it often receives.

An expository essay provides a clear, focused explanation of a topic. It doesn’t require an original argument, just a balanced and well-organized view of the topic.

Expository essays test your familiarity with a topic and your ability to organize and convey information. They are commonly assigned at high school or in exam questions at college level.

The introduction of an expository essay states your topic and provides some general background, the body presents the details, and the conclusion summarizes the information presented.

A typical body paragraph from an expository essay about the invention of the printing press is shown below. Mouse over it to learn more.

The invention of the printing press in 1440 changed this situation dramatically. Johannes Gutenberg, who had worked as a goldsmith, used his knowledge of metals in the design of the press. He made his type from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony, whose durability allowed for the reliable production of high-quality books. This new technology allowed texts to be reproduced and disseminated on a much larger scale than was previously possible. The Gutenberg Bible appeared in the 1450s, and a large number of printing presses sprang up across the continent in the following decades. Gutenberg’s invention rapidly transformed cultural production in Europe; among other things, it would lead to the Protestant Reformation.

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A narrative essay is one that tells a story. This is usually a story about a personal experience you had, but it may also be an imaginative exploration of something you have not experienced.

Narrative essays test your ability to build up a narrative in an engaging, well-structured way. They are much more personal and creative than other kinds of academic writing . Writing a personal statement for an application requires the same skills as a narrative essay.

A narrative essay isn’t strictly divided into introduction, body, and conclusion, but it should still begin by setting up the narrative and finish by expressing the point of the story—what you learned from your experience, or why it made an impression on you.

Mouse over the example below, a short narrative essay responding to the prompt “Write about an experience where you learned something about yourself,” to explore its structure.

Since elementary school, I have always favored subjects like science and math over the humanities. My instinct was always to think of these subjects as more solid and serious than classes like English. If there was no right answer, I thought, why bother? But recently I had an experience that taught me my academic interests are more flexible than I had thought: I took my first philosophy class.

Before I entered the classroom, I was skeptical. I waited outside with the other students and wondered what exactly philosophy would involve—I really had no idea. I imagined something pretty abstract: long, stilted conversations pondering the meaning of life. But what I got was something quite different.

A young man in jeans, Mr. Jones—“but you can call me Rob”—was far from the white-haired, buttoned-up old man I had half-expected. And rather than pulling us into pedantic arguments about obscure philosophical points, Rob engaged us on our level. To talk free will, we looked at our own choices. To talk ethics, we looked at dilemmas we had faced ourselves. By the end of class, I’d discovered that questions with no right answer can turn out to be the most interesting ones.

The experience has taught me to look at things a little more “philosophically”—and not just because it was a philosophy class! I learned that if I let go of my preconceptions, I can actually get a lot out of subjects I was previously dismissive of. The class taught me—in more ways than one—to look at things with an open mind.

A descriptive essay provides a detailed sensory description of something. Like narrative essays, they allow you to be more creative than most academic writing, but they are more tightly focused than narrative essays. You might describe a specific place or object, rather than telling a whole story.

Descriptive essays test your ability to use language creatively, making striking word choices to convey a memorable picture of what you’re describing.

A descriptive essay can be quite loosely structured, though it should usually begin by introducing the object of your description and end by drawing an overall picture of it. The important thing is to use careful word choices and figurative language to create an original description of your object.

Mouse over the example below, a response to the prompt “Describe a place you love to spend time in,” to learn more about descriptive essays.

On Sunday afternoons I like to spend my time in the garden behind my house. The garden is narrow but long, a corridor of green extending from the back of the house, and I sit on a lawn chair at the far end to read and relax. I am in my small peaceful paradise: the shade of the tree, the feel of the grass on my feet, the gentle activity of the fish in the pond beside me.

My cat crosses the garden nimbly and leaps onto the fence to survey it from above. From his perch he can watch over his little kingdom and keep an eye on the neighbours. He does this until the barking of next door’s dog scares him from his post and he bolts for the cat flap to govern from the safety of the kitchen.

With that, I am left alone with the fish, whose whole world is the pond by my feet. The fish explore the pond every day as if for the first time, prodding and inspecting every stone. I sometimes feel the same about sitting here in the garden; I know the place better than anyone, but whenever I return I still feel compelled to pay attention to all its details and novelties—a new bird perched in the tree, the growth of the grass, and the movement of the insects it shelters…

Sitting out in the garden, I feel serene. I feel at home. And yet I always feel there is more to discover. The bounds of my garden may be small, but there is a whole world contained within it, and it is one I will never get tired of inhabiting.

Though every essay type tests your writing skills, some essays also test your ability to read carefully and critically. In a textual analysis essay, you don’t just present information on a topic, but closely analyze a text to explain how it achieves certain effects.

Rhetorical analysis

A rhetorical analysis looks at a persuasive text (e.g. a speech, an essay, a political cartoon) in terms of the rhetorical devices it uses, and evaluates their effectiveness.

The goal is not to state whether you agree with the author’s argument but to look at how they have constructed it.

The introduction of a rhetorical analysis presents the text, some background information, and your thesis statement; the body comprises the analysis itself; and the conclusion wraps up your analysis of the text, emphasizing its relevance to broader concerns.

The example below is from a rhetorical analysis of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech . Mouse over it to learn more.

King’s speech is infused with prophetic language throughout. Even before the famous “dream” part of the speech, King’s language consistently strikes a prophetic tone. He refers to the Lincoln Memorial as a “hallowed spot” and speaks of rising “from the dark and desolate valley of segregation” to “make justice a reality for all of God’s children.” The assumption of this prophetic voice constitutes the text’s strongest ethical appeal; after linking himself with political figures like Lincoln and the Founding Fathers, King’s ethos adopts a distinctly religious tone, recalling Biblical prophets and preachers of change from across history. This adds significant force to his words; standing before an audience of hundreds of thousands, he states not just what the future should be, but what it will be: “The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.” This warning is almost apocalyptic in tone, though it concludes with the positive image of the “bright day of justice.” The power of King’s rhetoric thus stems not only from the pathos of his vision of a brighter future, but from the ethos of the prophetic voice he adopts in expressing this vision.

Literary analysis

A literary analysis essay presents a close reading of a work of literature—e.g. a poem or novel—to explore the choices made by the author and how they help to convey the text’s theme. It is not simply a book report or a review, but an in-depth interpretation of the text.

Literary analysis looks at things like setting, characters, themes, and figurative language. The goal is to closely analyze what the author conveys and how.

The introduction of a literary analysis essay presents the text and background, and provides your thesis statement; the body consists of close readings of the text with quotations and analysis in support of your argument; and the conclusion emphasizes what your approach tells us about the text.

Mouse over the example below, the introduction to a literary analysis essay on Frankenstein , to learn more.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, protagonist Victor Frankenstein is a stable representation of the callous ambition of modern science throughout the novel. This essay, however, argues that far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to portray Frankenstein in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as. This essay begins by exploring the positive portrayal of Frankenstein in the first volume, then moves on to the creature’s perception of him, and finally discusses the third volume’s narrative shift toward viewing Frankenstein as the creature views him.

At high school and in composition classes at university, you’ll often be told to write a specific type of essay , but you might also just be given prompts.

Look for keywords in these prompts that suggest a certain approach: The word “explain” suggests you should write an expository essay , while the word “describe” implies a descriptive essay . An argumentative essay might be prompted with the word “assess” or “argue.”

The vast majority of essays written at university are some sort of argumentative essay . Almost all academic writing involves building up an argument, though other types of essay might be assigned in composition classes.

Essays can present arguments about all kinds of different topics. For example:

An argumentative essay tends to be a longer essay involving independent research, and aims to make an original argument about a topic. Its thesis statement makes a contentious claim that must be supported in an objective, evidence-based way.

An expository essay also aims to be objective, but it doesn’t have to make an original argument. Rather, it aims to explain something (e.g., a process or idea) in a clear, concise way. Expository essays are often shorter assignments and rely less on research.

The key difference is that a narrative essay is designed to tell a complete story, while a descriptive essay is meant to convey an intense description of a particular place, object, or concept.

Narrative and descriptive essays both allow you to write more personally and creatively than other kinds of essays , and similar writing skills can apply to both.

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essay on the literary character

Character Analysis

How would you explain a character like Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol? Would you begin by describing his frail, elderly appearance? Or would you start with his miserly behavior? Charles Dickens wrote Scrooge with many characteristics to express his rude, selfish nature, so a character analysis could take several approaches to explain this classic character. Keep on reading for…

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How would you explain a character like Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol ? Would you begin by describing his frail, elderly appearance? Or would you start with his miserly behavior? Charles Dickens wrote Scrooge with many characteristics to express his rude, selfish nature, so a character analysis could take several approaches to explain this classic character. Keep on reading for the outline of a c haracter analysis , its meaning, and more.

Character Analysis Meaning

A character analysis is a deep dive into the traits and personality of a particular character, as well as a discussion of the character’s overall role in the story. Some authors choose to infuse their characters with many layers of meaning, while others simply use them to convey a message about something or move the story along. Either way, understanding a particular character gives great insight into the work as a whole.

Character Analysis, Character Analysis Definition, Ebenezer Scrooge and Ghost, StudySmarter

Why is Character Analysis Important?

Authors use their characters to express meaning and convey messages to their audience. Daisy Buchanan’s ( The Great Gatsby ) ambivalence represents an upper class that has deadened itself to the humanity outside its sphere. Jo March’s ( Little Women ) carelessness with her wardrobe expresses her defiance of traditional femininity. Even Bertha Rochester, who is barely described as a character in Jane Eyre , is essential to Charlotte Brontë’s message about misogyny in her time.

When writing a character analysis, you must pay close attention to the things both stated and unstated about the character. Authors don’t always explicitly tell you what they want you (the reader) to know about the character—sometimes, the writer wants you to come to realize things about the character for yourself.

For example, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, Harry sacrifices himself to save his friends and win the battle against the evil Voldemort. J.K. Rowling never describes Harry as a martyr or tells the audience to admire his bravery—you should come to understand these character traits by reading about his actions.

Authors typically give direct descriptions of characters sparingly. They usually provide an explanation of the character at the beginning of a story or when a character is introduced. This gives the audience a clear sense of who the character is and what they look like physically.

Just because an author doesn’t devote a lot of time to explicitly describing a character doesn’t mean there aren’t things to learn about them throughout the story. A character analysis should include many details given directly from the author’s description —if one is given at all—as well as any relevant information revealed about the character in the story.

Because much of what can be known about a character is not explicitly stated, a character analysis must be thorough enough to pick up all the details the author hides in the action and body of the story. This means you must remain critical of every detail related to the character you’re analyzing.

Here are some details to pay close attention to while analyzing a character:

Behavior – What does the character do? How do they act?

Motivation – What makes the character behave the way they do? What underlying details drive them to make certain decisions?

Personality – The things that make the character unique. This includes their perspective and any other distinguishing details and characteristics.

Relationships – Their habits with other characters. How do they interact with other characters? Does the character you’re analyzing play a specific role in any relationships?

What they say – What they say and how they say it can communicate important details about the character. Are they educated? Does what they say make sense, given what readers know about the character? Are they being forthcoming, or are they hiding anything?

Sometimes what a character doesn't say is just as meaningful as what they do say. An omission on the part of a character can indicate many things to the reader; it could be that they are conniving, deceitful, vengeful, or perhaps just shy.

Purpose of a Character Analysis

A character analysis aims to gain a deeper understanding of the piece of literature. Because you’ll have to investigate the story's details to gather information about the character, you’ll also get insight into the story and the author.

Sometimes it’s easy to read about a character and take their qualities at face value, not really appreciating all the nuances given to them by the author. For example, consider the title character Emma from Jane Austen’s Emma . It’s easy to read Emma as a selfish, entitled daughter of the aristocracy, but if you look closely at Emma’s character, her motivations to create love connections are more nuanced than they might initially seem.

A character analysis will help you understand the author’s intent for the particular character and the whole story. The point of a character analysis is not only to better understand the character, but also the mind that created the character (i.e., the author).

How to Write a Character Analysis

You may have to write a character analysis essay as a school assignment. If so, the first thing to do is to read the text. To conduct a rich character analysis, you need to know the context of the character, which means reading the entirety of the story.

While reading the story, take notes about any specific details that you think are important to discuss in the character analysis (refer to the list above for things to pay attention to). This will make it easier for you to remember the significant details of the character and their personality.

You may have already read the story, so perhaps all you need to do is to find a few key passages that shed some light on the character you’re analyzing.

Character Analysis, How to Write a Character Analysis, Faces Carved in Stone, StudySmarter

Types of Characters

There are several types of characters found in literature, and each type has a few defining characteristics that may help you better understand a character.

This is the main character in the story. They must act for the story to move forward.

Mary Lennox ( The Secret Garden ) is the protagonist whose actions drive the story of The Secret Garden.

This character exists to create conflict for the protagonist, even just for a short time in the story. Similar to a villain, but not necessarily evil.

Mr. Darcy ( Pride and Prejudice ) begins as an antagonist to Elizabeth Bennett.

Major Character

This is a character who plays a significant role in the story. They may fall under one or more other character types.

Samwise Gamgee ( The Lord of the Rings ) is a major supporting character.

Minor Character

This is a character who does not play a large role in the story.

Gollum, also known as Sméagol ( The Lord of the Rings ), is not a major character, but he is seen frequently in the story.

Dynamic Character

A dynamic character transforms in some way(s) over the course of the story. The protagonist and antagonist tend to be dynamic characters.

Dorian Gray ( The Picture of Dorian Gray ) changes from a charming young socialite to a heinous murderer.

Static Character

This is the opposite of a dynamic character; static characters stay mostly the same throughout the story. That is not to say they are boring or not worth analyzing; they simply do not evolve.

Sherlock Holmes ( Sherlock Holmes series) has a static personality that doesn't change much, if at all, from book to book.

Stock Character

Stock characters could also be called stereotypes—this is a character that represents a type of person that is recognizable as belonging to a certain group.

Lady Macbeth ( Macbeth ) is an example of the “dark lady” stock character type, meaning she is tragic and doomed.

Some characters may fit into more than one category.

Character Analysis Main Idea

The next step is to choose the main idea for character analysis.

The main idea of an essay is the writer’s position or principal concept they would like to express.

The main idea of your character analysis will be whatever message you’d like to express about that character. That could be a comparison to another well-known character or a contrast between another character in the book. Your main idea could be a new perspective about the character; perhaps you see the hero as a true villain.

The main idea of your character analysis might go beyond the scope of that character to reveal some insight into ideas and themes that the author uses that specific character to communicate. Regardless of the message, you must be prepared to defend your character analysis with supporting evidence from the text.

The best support for the main idea of a character analysis is evidence from the text. Quotes and examples to illustrate your point will be the most effective tools at your disposal. You may also find it helpful to use outside facts, data, or statistics to support your idea.

Character Analysis Outline

An entire essay may be devoted to character analysis. In this case, your main idea will also serve as your thesis statement .

A thesis statement is a single, declarative sentence that summarizes the main point of an essay.

An outline for a character analysis essay could look like this:

Introduction to the literary work and character, thesis statement

Body paragraphs

1st body paragraph : description of physical appearance and background

2nd body paragraph : discuss strengths and weaknesses as seen in the story

3rd paragraph: conflicts involving the character, and their role in conflict resolution

Conclusion: summary of key points, including the thesis and final thoughts on the character

You could also discuss the character according to their characteristics and write your body paragraphs characteristic by characteristic—as seen in different scenes of the story.

Character Analysis Example

Here is an example of a character analysis essay outline . This essay will analyze the character Jem Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) by Harper Lee.

Introduce the novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

Brief description of plot synopsis

A short list of major characters (Atticus Finch, Scout Finch, and Jem Finch)

Thesis statement : Jeremy Finch, known to his friends and family as “Jem,” represents that difficult evolution every child must undergo, from naive and innocent to knowledgeable and worldly.

Body paragraph 1: Jem’s background and physical appearance

Jem is athletic and, like many other boys his age, loves football.

Jem is adventurous, but his definition of adventure is childish.

Jem is a good big brother. He protects Scout from things that are within his realm of influence (as a child).

Body paragraph 2: Jem’s strengths and weaknesses

Jem’s strengths are a lot of his father’s strengths.

Respectful - always defers to adults

Doesn’t back down - he exhibits bravery in their childish games.

Empathetic - he is empathetic toward people he understands.

Jem’s weakness is that he is naive and believes the best in people

Thinks people in his town are all friendly.

Doesn’t believe/ understand the implications of racism.

Body paragraph 3: Jem’s idea of bravery changes as he matures

Jem used to think that bravery meant doing something scary without flinching (like touching the side of Boo Radley’s house).

Jem learns about real-world bravery, as seen in the people around him

Atticus faces the mad dog.

Scout stands up to the mob.

Mrs. Dubose’s fight with addiction.


Jem Finch is a young, confident, athletic boy.

He takes after his father in many ways, including his love and protection of Scout, but his empathy and bravery haven't been tested in the "real world."

He starts off with a childish belief in the goodness of people.

After seeing many examples of bravery around his hometown in the face of true hardship, Jem comes to understand what it means to have courage.

This character analysis will be effective because it will describe the character Jem according to how he is portrayed in the book. Each body paragraph supports the thesis by examining Jem's character in some way.

Even more importantly, the analysis will dig into some deeper themes of maturity and what it means to be brave. Harper Lee undoubtedly wanted the reader to consider these significant themes in the book.

Analysis of literary characters - Key takeaways


Frequently Asked Questions about Character Analysis

--> what is character analysis.

A character analysis is a deep dive into the traits and personality of a particular character, as well as a discussion of the character’s overall role in the story.

--> How do you start a character analysis essay?

To start a character analysis essay, begin with an introduction to the text and the specific character.

--> What does character analysis include?

Character analysis includes a discussion of the character’s behavior and their role in the story. You may also mention what type of character they are (e.g., a stock character, antagonist, etc.).

--> What are 5 methods of analyzing character?

The 5 methods to analyzing a character are to pay close attention to their behavior, motivations, relationships, what they say, and their personality. 

--> How many types of characters are there? 

Generally speaking, there are 7 types of characters:

Final Character Analysis Quiz

Character analysis quiz - teste dein wissen.

What is a character analysis?

Show answer

A character analysis is a deep dive into the traits and personality of a particular character, as well as a discussion of the character’s overall role in the story. 

Show question

When writing a character analysis, you have to pay close attention to the things both ________ and ________ about the character.

Stated, unstated

Why do authors not explicitly state everything they want you to know about their characters?

Sometimes, the writer wants you to come to realize some things about the character for yourself. This requires the reader to take a closer look at the text as a whole to determine the characters' impact on it.

True or false: a character analysis shouldn't include any details about their physical appearance.

There are 5 details about a character to pay close attention when writing a character analysis. Which is missing from the list below?

What is the main purpose of a character analysis

The purpose of a character analysis is to gain a deeper understanding of the piece of literature. 

A character analysis will help you understand the _______ intent, not only for the character, but for the entire story. 

What are two things can a character analysis help you understand better?

The character and the author

What is the first thing to do when you begin a character analysis?

Read the text

True or false: even if you've already read the entire book, you must read it again before starting a character analysis. 

What are the seven types of characters found in literature?

What is the second step to creating a character analysis (after reading the text)? 

Choose a main idea

True or false: the main idea of a character analysis essay is the same thing as the thesis statement.

What is the main idea of a character analysis?

The main idea of a character analysis will be whatever message you’d like to express about that character.

Where does the best support for a character analysis come from?

The text (i.e., quotes, examples, etc.)

Paul’s teacher asks him to analyze the main character in the novel he is reading. In particular, she asks him to analyze the character’s personality. What should he look for?  

He should look at the things that make the character unique. This includes their perspectives and any other distinguishing details and characters.  

Luke’s teacher asks him to analyze the main character in the novel he is reading. In particular, she asks him to analyze ether character’s relationships. What should he look for? What questions should he ask?

Luke should look at the character’s habits with other characters. How do they interact with other characters? Does the character play a specific role in any relationships?  

In Shakespeare’s Othello (1603), the character Iago creates conflict for the main character, Othello. What type of character is Iago?


What is a stock character?

A stock character is a character that represents a type of person that is recognizable as belonging to a certain group.   

What are 5 methods of analyzing character?

The 5 methods of analyzing a character are to pay close attention to their behavior, motivations, relationships, what they say, and their personality.   

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essay on the literary character

Tips and tricks of writing the best character analysis essay

Nov 12, 2019 | Writing guide , Essay Writing , Writing

writing character analysis essay

How well do you know your favorite character in a movie or a book? Some people have numerous favorite characters that they love so much. They know how these characters act. Even though you might not have the best knowledge of these characters, you can write a good analysis of them. This analysis is better when you want to learn more about your favorite characters. As such, you have to write a character analysis essay as a way to bring to life the character of your choice. Sometimes you have to write about a character you have more idea about if you get an assignment of this essay from your instructor.

What is a character analysis essay?

A character analysis essay evaluates the specific traits of a literary character. You have to include the additional elements like the role they play in the story and the conflicts they experience in the process. Your essay needs to be very critical of the character. You have to ask concise analysis questions and anchor your conclusions about every character of three areas. You have to use detail as you describe the outward appearance of the character. The writer can deduce the age of the character, body size, and ethnicity, and so on. You also need to look at any available character analysis essay example to get an idea of how this piece of writing is done.

What is character analysis?

Character analysis goes beyond picking up on the subtle hints likely to be used any the author and encompasses reading between the lines by noticing mundane details that are seemingly insignificant at face value. However, sometimes, the writers tend to mention the traits of their characters in these books indirectly. This makes it mandatory for the audience to be mindful of catching these traits as the storyline continues.

what is character analysis

The tricks of writing a successful character analysis essay

If you aim at writing a successful character analysis essay, you have to engage in thorough reading o the literary work paying attention to the revelations of the author regarding the character. This can be through dialogue, narrative, or even a plot. The idea is to bring to the fore what every character does at work. The protagonist is the most significant character, whereas the villain is the one in conflict with the main character, usually referred to as the antagonist. Writers can create characters with many facets, and as such, your character analysis essay ought to focus on these complexities.

Before you can start writing your analysis of a character, it will be useful to look at one character analysis example, so that you have a good idea of how to navigate the assignment. Now, to write your essay, keep in mind the following tips:

Choose your character wisely

If this is a class assignment, you may get your character dictated to you by the instructor. However, you can also choose the character you want to write about, and as such, you can consider a character that as a very dynamic role. The character who seems one-dimensional in that they are either good or bad completely but have no complex motivation would be a bad choice. The character you choose can either be the protagonist or the antagonist .

Read the story keeping your character in mind

Even though you might have read the story before, you need to reread it because you are likely to notice new things since no, you have a very specific task in mind. In every place that your character appears, you need to consider some important aspects.

How the author describes them

This is necessary to help you get a better understanding of the character. It will also enrich your analysis of the character as you write your essay . Look at how the author shows how the character tackles the complex issues in the story.

How the character relates to another character in the story

You have to think of how the character interacts with the other characters, especially in the beginning and at the end. This will help you come up with the best-balanced character analysis essay in the end.

How the actions of the character advance the plot of the story

If you are dealing with the protagonist, his actions are crucial to the sorry. However, you need to be very specific with the actions that help in advancing the plot. Pay attention to now. He makes decisions that are unique from someone else in the same situation. You may talk about how some of his ideas contradict everything that he has been taught.

The struggles of the character

As you read the work, think of how the character grows throughout the story. Show how he moves around dig things that enhance the story and how he observes the trickery within the story.

struggles of the character

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Avoid static characters.

As earlier said, you need to avoid one-dimensional characters in your character analysis essay. They are also called unchanging characters. These are mostly minor characters that interact with the protagonist to enhance their qualities and actions. They are not protagonists because what happens in their wolf is of no interest to the readers.

Take notes as you read

If you want to have an effective reading, you need to take notes of all the significant elements. This adds to the depth of the character, especially when you are reading the work for the second time. You can make notes in the margins and underline crucial passages. As such, you need a notebook as you read to monitor your thoughts about the character.

Choose a major idea

Gather all your notes on the character and think of the main idea that relates to them. In other words, you are developing a thesis statement for your character analysis essay. Pay attention to their actions, motivations, and the outcome of their storyline. Your thesis statement may appear on anchor in how a character embodies the struggles of growing up poor or any other aspect that brings out the person in him. It can be about anything important that shows how the character enhances the story and the outcome.

Formulate your character analysis essay outline

This is how you know the reading process was crucial. The notes that you have taken ensuring this process are necessary for formulating the best character analysis essay outline . Developing the outcome is necessary because it saves you a lot of time during the writing process. Now that you have the main idea, you can outline all the supporting material that you have. Not every place in the text where your character showcases the traits you have chosen for your thesis statement. You might also include complicating evidence to give your character more depth. With an outline, your thoughts will remain organized throughout the analysis of character.

formulate character analysis essay outline

Developing the character analysis essay structure

writing the introduction

Without forgetting about your thesis statement , prepare a good introduction paragraph about the character you are analyzing. You also have to consider the role that the character plays in the literary work. In your introduction, give the analysis of your topic, enough background information to inform, and perturb the audience. Your introduction needs to close with your thesis statement. Your introduction needs to spark interest in the target audience. It should give them an idea of the character in question. In other words, the introduction of your character analysis essay needs to be striking and brief.

Even though you have to describe the character here, ensure that not all the details appear in the introduction. The idea is to whet the appetite of the audience to continue reading the character analysis essay that you have written.

writing the body

You can describe their physical appearance that reveals the as a person. You can quote directly from work. You also have to discuss the background of the character using details about their personal history. The history is important because they influence their personality and personal development. It can be about where he or she was born, their level of education, past experiences, or what the character says or does. You can also discuss their language use throughout the work. Does he use the same language, or does he change from the introduction to the conclusion? Their personality is also important because it shows emotions or reasons for their actions. You can discuss the values they exhibit through actions and words. The goals of the character or their ambitions are also important. You need to be very specific with the quotes and paraphrases that you get from the literary work.

Take about how the character relates to other characters — the interaction of the character that you are analyzing. Show if the character leads or follows others in the story; he has family and friends. Use instances from the text to validate your claims. If you character analysis essay, you need to describe how the character changes or grows throughout the story. In most cases, protagonists experience conflict through the course of the story. The conflict can be external. Making it is something out of his control. The conflict can also be internal, meaning he has personal struggles with their actions and feelings. Describe if the character is better or worse at the conclusion. In any wok of merit, the characters change or grow.

You have to use examples from the text to validate whatever that you are saying. It can be quoted where applicable. If the author has described the character as sloppy, provide specific details to who this character trait. Use quotes or paraphrased directly from work. Textual evidence is important because it incorporates these quotations from the work in a bid to support your thesis. It also enhances the credibility of your work. However, you are not supposed to over quote because it would make your character analysis essay look lazy. You should look at a character analysis essay example to see how quotes are used in the most reasonable way possible.

writing conclusion

As you conclude your character analysis essay, you can restate every section on your work. You should not copy your thesis statement verbatim. You have to paraphrase and ensure you do not negate its meaning. This helps you to avoid self-plagiarism. The idea is to help you with all the ideas of your paper. This will help you to come up with a very strong concluding statement on your character. The conclusion is the place of active cooperation with the audience as you lay dons your major point of view. This is the last time you are making an effort to convince the readers about the character. You have to give them closure so that your analysis of the character achieves its purpose.

The above tips are important, especially if you are looking forward to writing an excellent character analysis essay. If you want to help writing an analysis of character, you can also consult our professional writers at any time. We are open to help you in any writing way possible. Try our services now to advance in your writing skills.

conclusion of character analysis essay

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How to Write a Character Analysis Essay With Examples and Tips

Essay writing is an exciting and valuable academic exercise for students at all levels of learning. Basically, the practice helps in developing students’ critical thinking skills. For example, when writing a character analysis essay, students use these skills to cover a specific character’s personality and mannerisms objectively. Moreover, this type of essay aims to analyze a character in a story in such a way that readers can develop a mental picture of them. In this case, the secret of writing a good character analysis essay involves choosing a dynamic character, such as a protagonist or an antagonist. Then, another tip is writing the first draft and reading it at least twice to identify and correct errors and mistakes. In turn, the final draft should reflect a perfect document. Hence, students need to learn how to write a good character analysis essay with its features.

Definition of a Character Analysis Essay

Among many different types of essays is a character analysis essay, a text that describes a particular character in a story. When writing this essay, students analyze relationships between characters in question and other characters, paying particular attention to their mannerisms. Also, these mannerisms are exemplified by their behaviors, styles of speaking, physical appearances, and many other characteristics. Even though students may offer their personal opinions when analyzing specific characters, they must employ critical thinking and be objective. In essence, what matters in a character analysis essay is factual information about a character in question. In this case, the writer’s opinion should support rather than challenge the specific traits and characteristics of a character. Hence, a student writes this type of essay when instructions require them to discuss how a particular character is shaped in a story.

How to write a character analysis essay

Types of Characters

When analyzing a character in a story, writers must first understand what kinds of characters are their subjects. Typically, there are different types of characters whose distinctions are based on particular behaviors, traits, and roles that they exemplify within a story. In turn, the main character types fall under five categories: major, minor, dynamic, static, and stoic.

1. Major Characters

In a story, major characters run a storyline, and they define a plot of this story. For example, there are two types of major characters: protagonists and antagonists. In this case, the former represents typical heroes, those characters that the audience is likely to admire. Then, the latter represents characters that take the role of a villain. Basically, the audience is likely to despise this type of character. Moreover, it is easier to spot protagonists because a story’s plot revolves around them. In literature, examples of protagonists include Harry Potter from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Othello from the tragedy Othello by William Shakespeare, Elizabeth Bennet from “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, and Frodo from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. On the other hand, examples of antagonists from the literature include King Joffrey from Game of Thrones , Darth Vader from the Star Wars series by George Lucas, and the Wicked Queen from “Snow White and Seven Dwarfs.”

2. Minor Characters

As opposed to major characters, minor characters do not run stories. However, they are ones that help major characters to shine storylines. In other words, minor characters in the course of their activities help main characters to create situations and circumstances that reveal the central characters’ personalities. As explained, this personality is defined by mannerism. Then, examples of minor characters in the literature include the whole Fellowship of the Ring in J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings . Individually, these characters help Frodo, a protagonist, to deliver the Ring to Mordor. In turn, another example of minor characters in the literature is the duo Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. On several occasions, they help Harry Potter, a protagonist, in his battle against Voldemort.

3. Dynamic, Static, and Stoic Characters

Dynamic characters are those characters that change the course of a story in certain respects. In many cases, a protagonist is a dynamic character. Moreover, an example in the literature is Harry Potter from J.K. Rowling’s book series, who notices that he is similar to Voldemort in many ways throughout a storyline. Nevertheless, he resists “dark” traits that define Voldemort because he is a good person. As such, he resists any temptation to become a dark wizard. On the other hand, static characters never change in a story. Also, an excellent example in the literature is Atticus Finch from “How to Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. Despite finding himself in controversial circumstances, he remains firm in character and worldview throughout a story. Further on, stoic characters draw attention to the main character(s), and their role in a story is to fortify the protagonist’s role and image. In turn, a great example of a stoic character in the literature is Dr. Watson from Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Step-by-Step Guidelines on How to Write a Character Analysis Essay

Like any other academic exercise, essay writing requires students to adopt an approach that guarantees high-quality work. Basically, this approach involves four activities: preparation, setting up the stage, actual writing, and wrapping up. Moreover, these activities are essential in ensuring that writers have a frame of mind that considers academic writing rules. When writing a сharacter фnalysis essay, each of the above activities helps students to produce a document that truly reflects an academic text.

Step 1: Preparation

Preparation is the starting step in writing a critical analysis essay. In essence, this step involves planning how to go about writing. Basically, a student reads a story, chooses a character, defines a topic, prepares ideas, and considers the audience and its needs. In this case, the essence of preparation is that it enables students to “get it right” from the beginning. Moreover, it is by preparing that students take into consideration requirements and seek clarification as necessary.

A. Reading a Story

In most instances, instructors guide students on which story to read and a character to analyze. However, if such guidance is not provided, a student should – as a matter of priority – choose a story and a character in this story to write about. About a story, writers should read it at least twice to have a good understanding of a plot and each character’s role.

B. Choosing a Character

The standard practice is that a character analysis essay focuses on major characters (protagonist and antagonist) as subjects of analysis. However, as indicated, an instructor may require students to analyze a specific character. In this case, instructions can require students to explore how a minor character enhances a major character’s image in a story. Also, the writer’s issue is to identify characters for analysis and read all about them in an assigned story.

C. Defining a Topic

Like any essay, a character analysis essay should have a topic. Basically, even though the goal is to analyze a specific character, writers must have a topic that underscores their work. When defining a topic, students may follow the instructor’s prompt or develop their own approach. Ultimately, a character analysis essay topic should align with the paper’s goal, which is to analyze a specific character.

D. Preparing Ideas

Typically, students get ideas about their work as soon as they read prompt requirements given by their instructors. When writing a character analysis essay, a student should generate ideas after reading instructions and reading through it. However, it is the latter exercise that serves as the foundation of ideas for writing a text. Indeed, this aspect exemplifies the essence of a character analysis essay, focusing on how a character emerges from a story. As discussed, a character can only be a protagonist, antagonist, minor, dynamic, or stoic. Understanding where characters fit helps a writer to generate ideas about effects of their roles in a story. Here, students should apply critical thinking to dissect characters objectively.

E. Considering an Audience

Every form of writing has an audience – readers that writers have in mind when writing their texts. In essay writing, the main audience is the instructor. However, in an application essay for college , the audience is the admission board of a college or university. Since instructors determine the quality of a character analysis essay, students should consider their requirements. Ideally, these requirements reflect what instructors, as the audience, needs regarding a character analysis essay.

Step 2: Setting Up the Stage

The second step in writing a character analysis essay is setting the stage for the actual writing of a text. Here, students engage in several activities, including finding credible sources , making notes, creating an essay outline , and creating an annotated bibliography. As an academic text, a character analysis essay should satisfy all academic writing conventions, including backing up claims and arguments with evidence. Although a learner can write about a character in a story by simply reading a story, a character analysis reflects an in-depth discussion about a specific character. Hence, students should write about what others (scholars) have said about a story and a character.

A. Finding Sources

Reliable sources are external texts that writers rely on to find evidence supporting what they intend to write. Basically, when writers make claims or observations when composing a text, they must back it up with evidence to avoid making what they write seems like a personal opinion. Notably, subjective opinion is not encouraged in academic writing, unless writers are using it objectively. Moreover, the only way that students can demonstrate that their essays are free of bias is by providing evidence to their claims, arguments, opinions, and observations. In turn, this evidence comes from external academic sources – books and journal articles.

B. Making Notes

After finding sources, a student should read through them while making notes. Basically, these notes should be relevant to a task at hand. Therefore, when authors of a character analysis essay find sources pertinent to their mission, they should make notes as they read through them and write down what they find interesting about their characters. Given that the task at hand involves analyzing a character in question, students’ notes should reflect a deeper understanding of this character, such as what others say about their manner of speaking or effect in a story.

C. Creating an Outline and an Annotated Bibliography

Like any other academic text, such as a research paper , a term paper , a Master’s thesis , or a dissertation , essays have outlines that provide a structure. Typically, this outline involves having three main sections: introduction, body, and conclusion. When writing a character analysis essay, a student should stick to this essay structure . Then, an annotated bibliography summarizes study sources that writers intend to use to get evidence that backs up their claims and arguments. Although it is not needed in an essay, students who write a character analysis essay can develop one based on credible sources that they identified in the second step of essay writing. In this case, annotated bibliographies would provide quick access to evidence that learners need to strengthen their papers.

Step 3: Actual Writing of a Character Analysis Essay

After preparing and setting the stage, authors of a character analysis essay begin the actual writing of a paper. Here, students begin with the first draft, which provides an opportunity to organize thoughts, make mistakes, come up with new ideas, find ned sources that back them up, and alter a critical analysis essay outline. Basically, this stage is about putting everything together to develop an essay that addresses the instructor’s requirements.

A. Writing a First Draft of a Character Analysis Essay

When writing a character analysis essay, students are likely to make numerous spelling and grammatical errors and other mistakes, such as inconsistent arguments and illogical conclusions. As such, writing the first draft provides writers with this allowance since they would have an opportunity to perfect their work. Nonetheless, the first draft’s content should mirror the expected work, which is dissecting a character’s personality. 

Step 4: Wrapping Up

After writing the first draft of a character analysis essay, students must read and reread their work to identify all mistakes and errors. As discussed above, the chances of the first draft having spelling and grammatical errors, illogical conclusions, and inconsistent arguments are high. In turn, this fourth step in writing a character analysis essay provides students with an opportunity to perfect their work. Here, learners revise and edit the first draft to eliminate all errors and mistakes and ensure that their papers reflect a format of an academic text in all aspects. Also, body paragraphs should have topic and concluding sentences, transitions, and right formatting. Additionally, writers should subject their work to peer review and then write the final draft.

A. Revising and Editing the First Draft

The purpose of reading the first draft at least twice is to identify all errors and mistakes, as explained above. Basically, once writers note them down, they should revise their papers accordingly, ensuring that all inconsistencies are corrected. Moreover, students should edit all spelling and grammatical mistakes to give a written document to look like a professional appeal.

B. Topic Sentences.

The first statement that a student writes in every paragraph in the main text (body) should reflect a topic sentence. Basically, this sentence aims to introduce a single idea that a writer intends to develop in a paragraph. By considering a character analysis essay, this idea can be a claim or an observation about a subject under analysis. In this case, the standard practice is that a single idea that a writer expresses in a topic sentence should align with a paper’s thesis statement , as it is developed in the introduction part of a character analysis essay.

C. Concluding Sentences

While a topic sentence introduces a paragraph, a concluding sentence brings it to a close. For example, a reason why a student writes a concluding sentence is to finalize an intended message captured in a section. As such, it provides the writer’s concluding thoughts about a topic sentence and how it advances a thesis statement. Also, the content that comes between topic sentence and concluding sentences reinforces a sandwich rule: making a claim, backing it up with supporting facts, elaborating on it, and indicating its relevance in a context of a thesis.

D. Transitions

In writing a character analysis essay, students need to create a document with a natural flow from a beginning to an end. Basically, the aspect that enhances this flow is the use of transitions, which involve words and phrases, like “consequently,” “hence,” “thus,” “nonetheless,” “as such,” and “put differently.” In this case, a writer can use these words and phrases in any part of a text. However, using them in the main text is more appropriate as it is where writers need to create linkages between claims, evidence, and elaborations. Hence, transitions make such connections flawless and logical.

E. Formatting

When writing an academic text, it is critical for students to observe all academic writing rules. For example, one of these rules is writing a character analysis essay according to assigned rules that guide a paper format that learners are using to write their work. In this case, the main paper formats are APA 7, MLA 8, Harvard, and Chicago/Turabian, all of which differ in certain ways. For instance, they all have different requirements for citations and paragraph formation. Therefore, when writing a character analysis essay, a student should format a paper according to the appropriate writing format. Although learners may observe this rule when writing the first draft, they should certainly do so when creating the final draft.

F. Peer Reviewing

When writing a character analysis essay, students should ensure that their work is of high quality. Basically, what makes an academic text of high quality is peer review, which means subjecting a written work to a critical review by a friend, tutor, or mentor. For example, journal articles are regarded as peer-reviewed scholarly sources for a simple reason that they have been reviewed and made perfect. In turn, this perfection entails ensuring the absence of errors and mistakes and the use of credible and reliable sources.

Step 5: Writing a Final Draft of a Character Analysis Essay

The final draft represents the final work of a student in writing a character analysis essay. Basically, it is a document that students hand over to the audience by way of submission or publication. As such, writers must ensure that their texts are of the highest standard to eliminate the possibility of attracting penalties, such as a low grade or lousy review in case they publish their work on online platforms. Also, to be clear that what students have is of the highest quality, they should read and reread their papers. In turn, it is the only way in which they can be sure that there are no errors or mistakes.

Simple Outline Example of a Character Analysis Essay

As indicated in the previous section, students should take time and create an outline for their work when writing an essay. This outline comprises three main sections: introduction, body, and conclusion as below.

I. Introduction Paragraph II. Body Section (this part may include several paragraphs) III. Conclusion Paragraph

While most academic texts follow this outline, some papers differ on features that writers address in each section. Basically, when writing a character analysis essay, students should ensure that the introduction section highlights its thesis. In turn, this statement guides the entire writing, meaning that it is the central claim or idea in a paper. In body paragraphs, writers should ensure that topic sentences open each paragraph while concluding sentences end them. Moreover, learners should ensure sufficient and appropriate use of transitions and observance of a sandwich rule. In the conclusion section, students should restate the thesis and summarize the paper’s main points.

How Students Know That They Write a Character Analysis Essay

Generally, the purpose of a character analysis essay is to provide an in-depth analysis of a specific character. As such, writers know that they write a character analysis essay if their texts describe a given character’s personality and mannerisms. In turn, the latter entails how a character in question behaves, speaks, looks like (physical features), and their familial and social relationships, as it is covered in a story.

How a Character Analysis Essay Differs From Other Papers

When it comes to an outline, a character analysis essay is similar to other types of papers . However, regarding the content, this type of essay differs from other papers significantly. For example, an argumentative essay focuses on making the writer’s argument acceptable to the audience, meaning that the content revolves around the writer’s perspective regarding an issue. In contrast, a character analysis essay focuses on providing the audience with a detailed picture of a specific character in a story, meaning that the content revolves around a subject (character). In an informative essay , the writer’s goal is to educate the audience about a topic or an issue, meaning that the content revolves around explaining concepts relating toa specific theme in question. Therefore, the point of difference between a character analysis essay and other essay types is content more than structure.

Easy Strategies of Writing Each Section of a Character Analysis Essay

When it comes to the introduction, authors of a character analysis essay should provide a hook, which can be a statement, quote, or a joke. Basically, a hook sentence aims to grab the reader’s attention and make them interested in reading the entire paper. Then, if students know how to write a hook , they provide a brief background of a text after it. Also, it is where they introduce a story and a character under investigation. In turn, writers should conclude this section with a thesis, thus outlining the purpose of writing. About the main text (body), if learners are familiar with the rules of how to write a topic sentence , they begin each paragraph with it, which establishes a claim. Further on, the feature that follows is evidence (supporting facts) and then an explanation. As a result, the last element is a concluding sentence. 

1. Paying an Attention

Based on the above information, it is evident that authors of a character analysis essay must pay attention to several things. In the introduction, writers should pay attention to the thesis, and, in the body paragraphs, they should follow a sandwich rule. Basically, this rule reinforces the claim-evidence-explanation approach. In the conclusion section, students should pay attention to the main points’ summary to make sure no new information is captured in this paragraph. Additionally, learners should ensure that they provide closing remarks, which emphasize their objective opinions about subjects matter.

2. Major Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Besides spelling, grammatical and other mistakes, writers of essays make other mistakes, leading to the fact that their work becomes less than high-quality. In writing a character analysis essay, one mistake that students make is to focus on a single aspect, such as personality, thereby undermining the subject’s full image. In this case, the solution to this mistake for a writer is to focus on the character’s mannerisms – behavior, speaking style, and appearance. Then, another mistake that learners make is to focus on aspects that do not advance an in-depth analysis of a subject, such as a story’s plot. In turn, the solution to this mistake for students is to focus on the subject’s roles in a plot’s context.

An Example of Writing a Character Analysis Essay

Topic: Frodo and His Heroic Weakness

I. Sample Introduction of a Character Analysis Essay

In literature, characters play an essential role in enhancing the plot of a story. Basically, they do this through their actions, behaviors, relationships, and other aspects of personality. Moreover, their mannerisms define who they are within the context of a story. In The Lord of the Ring , J.R.R. Tolkien captures a heroic conscience that characterizes human existence. Then, the author reveals the destructive power of greed and envy, mainly where promises are concerned. Nonetheless, Tolkien shows how friendship and courage overcome these vices. At the center of a story , The Lord of the Ring, is Frodo Baggins, a protagonist, who, despite undergoing a series of challenging adventures, emerges as a hero.

II. Example of a Body in a Character Analysis Essay

A. frodo as a hero.

Tolkien develops Frodo as a young hobbit with a remarkable character. As a ring-bearer of a fellowship, Frodo has the Ring that belongs to Sauron, the Lord of the Rings. As such, Sauron is an antagonist in a story. For example, he is “a dark lord who lost the one Ring that held much of his power” (Tolkien, 2003, p. 54). Then, the author describes the Ring as precious and powerful enough to enslave Middle Earth. While everybody is scared of the Ring and no one wants to lead its destruction, Frodo courageously overcomes such fear. Despite a myth that absolute evil and frightening dark forces are likely to victimize anyone who attempts to destroy the Ring, the young hobbit is keen to prove everybody wrong. In turn, it is the anger toward myths and oppressions that they seemed to cause people that motivate Frodo to act to restore safety in Middle Earth. 

B. Frodo’s Weakness

The first indication of Frodo’s inexperience comes when he faces his initial challenges in his quest. Basically, how he deals with them reveals his weak points. For example, when Frodo delays his departure from the Shire, in spite of the urgency of the task ahead, he comes out as an indecisive character (Tolkien, 2003). Although a protagonist has common sense, he lacks wisdom, which is evident when he chooses to face the Old Forest’s dangers. Besides getting himself into harm’s way, Frodo also endangers the lives of his friends. In this case, he comes out as a fool in Bree when he draws unnecessary attention to himself. At Weathertop, the main character gives in to the temptation of putting on the Ring, thus exposing himself to an attack by the Ringwraiths (Tolkien, 2003). Despite all these shortcomings, Frodo survives the dangers of his own mistakes and those of his quest. Moreover, the novel attributes this success to the fact that hobbits are tougher than they look and can endure hardships. More importantly, Frodo himself is not interested in possessing the Ring, which makes him avoid the dark forces it represents. In this respect, he emerges as a hero in the end.

III. Conclusion Example of a Character Analysis Essay

Frodo’s adventure in The Lord of the Ring is a selfless quest to bring good to society despite powerful myths that undermine people’s courage to act when needed. In this case, Tolkien describes specific events that characterize the protagonist’s quest to destroy Sauron’s Ring. Moreover, what is clear is that Frodo is a courageous hobbit who refuses to be defined by his weaknesses. Eventually, his actions display his heroic character, one that defies all odds against him. In turn, a lesson from a story is that people do not need to be perfect to be heroes, but they need to aspire to do what is right.

Arthur, S. (2003). Walking with Frodo: A devotional journey through the Lord of the Rings . Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Summing Up on How to Write a Good Character Analysis Essay

When writing a character analysis essay, students must understand that this type of paper is different from all others. While an argumentative essay focuses on convincing the audience about an issue, a character analysis essay covers telling the audience about a specific character’s personality and mannerisms within the context of a story’s plot. As such, it also differs from an informative essay that focuses on educating the audience about a topic or an issue. Nonetheless, all these essays assume the same outline, which entails three main sections: introduction, body, and conclusion. In turn, when writing a character analysis essay, a student must note the following tips:

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Martin Amis was prolific. Here’s where to start with his writing.

The author, who died friday, wrote more than a dozen novels as well as a memoir and collections of essays and criticism.

Martin Amis, a writer known for novels including “Money” and “The Information,” as well as for his literary criticism and acerbic observations about British and American culture, died Friday at 73 .

Amis, the son of famed British writer Kingsley Amis, became one of the characteristic literary celebrities of his generation. He first broke onto the scene with darkly comedic novels about drugs, sex, finance and media, cutting against what he viewed as the British tendency toward airless, sanitized nostalgia. In middle age, he took on self-consciously grander themes: history, war, the specter of nuclear annihilation, environmentalism. His last book, “Inside Story,” was an autobiographical — and metafictional — reflection on his life, his friendships and some contemporary politics.

“I think there’s a lot of romanticism in my work,” he once told a reporter , “but it’s thwarted by distortion and perversity, false commercial images in TV, literature, porn. The fact is, my satire wouldn’t work if what I’m satirizing were not valued. Like Philip Larkin’s poetry, love is conspicuous by [its] absence.”

Amis was energetically prolific as novelist, essayist, critic and reporter. Here’s where to start:

The major novels

“Money: A Suicide Note” (1984). The first novel of what would become known as Amis’s London trilogy follows an ad man, John Self, as he crosses the Atlantic to make a movie. Amis himself described it as “essentially a plotless novel, … a voice novel.” Here’s how Jonathan Yardley characterized it in his review for The Washington Post : “From first page to last it is one long drinking bout, interrupted only briefly by a period of relative sobriety; it contains incessant sexual activity, much of it onanistic; it has a generous supply of sordid language that would not pass muster in polite society; and it has an unkind word for just about every race, creed or nationality known to exist.” He also wrote that “it is so unremittingly, savagely hilarious that reading it is quite literally an exhausting experience, from which one emerges simultaneously gasping for air and pleading for more.”

“London Fields” (1989). “This is the story of a murder,” the narrator tells us on the first page of arguably Amis’s most widely admired novel. “It hasn’t happened yet. But it will. (It had better.)” The narrator is Samson Young, a chronically blocked American writer. But as with John Self in “Money,” the novel’s most memorable character is the seediest one, Keith Talent, a two-bit thief who aspires to be a champion darts thrower. Amis roasted 1980s New York in “Money” and captures late-20th-century London with the same jaded and very funny eye.

“The Information” (1995). This story of two writer frenemies, one of whom becomes a best-selling success, was overshadowed in the British tabloids at the time of publication by the rumored $800,000 Amis had been paid for it. The author later remarked to an interviewer about his demand for the generous advance: “These things stay with you. For years it was the number one thing people asked about, and it was not my finest hour.” But the book’s reputation has done just fine: In 2019, the Guardian ranked it his second-best novel (behind “Money”), writing: “The comedy is unsparing but affectionate and the existential angst more acute than ever.”

The nonfiction

“The War Against Cliché: Essays and Reviews 1971-2000” (2001). Amis was widely admired by other reviewers for his work as a critic. The Post’s Michael Dirda, reviewing this collection , wrote: “Should you happen to be a writer yourself, or — God help you — a literary journalist, you suddenly know, with numbing clarity, just how Salieri felt when Mozart sashayed into Vienna.” Amis was an “honest and patient” critic, Dirda wrote, and a stylish one: “Whatever Amis chooses to say about a book or a writer seems just right — and lip-smackingly phrased.” This collection includes pieces about Bellow, Nabokov, Kafka, Elmore Leonard and more.

“Experience: A Memoir” (2000). Amis’s memoir, loosely structured but beautifully written and revealing, covers his romantic relationships, his many literary friends, his life with his famous father and his equally famous (or infamous) teeth. (The book’s index entries for “dental problems” are a literary experience of their own.)

“The Moronic Inferno and Other Visits to America” (1986). In addition to literary profiles, this collection of pieces Amis wrote for magazines and newspapers from the late 1970s through the early 1980s also includes his thoughts on Elvis, Ronald Reagan and Steven Spielberg.

“The Second Plane” (2008). Like many other literary writers in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001, Amis produced contentious opinion pieces that were met with, at best, mixed reviews. In the New York Times, Leon Wieseltier wrote of this collection: “The results of Amis’s clumsily mixed cocktail of rhetoric and rage can be eccentric, or worse.”

Other fiction

Amis wrote 15 novels over his lifetime. Here’s a sampling of The Post’s reviews:

“Einstein’s Monsters” (1987), reviewed by Bruce Cook . “‘Some readers might like to read the introductory essay last or later,’ says Martin Amis in an author’s note at the beginning of this short, uneven and rather curious book. Writers are always pulling stuff like that. You wonder why, if that’s the recommended reading order, he didn’t arrange it that way in the first place.”

“Yellow Dog” (2003), reviewed by James Hynes . “The novel reads like a midlife crisis, a writer’s equivalent of buying a sports car and running off with a woman half his age.”

“House of Meetings” (2007), reviewed by Thomas Mallon . “The book gnaws at one’s memory. Amis tries to imagine history with the intimacy and specificity that the greatest historical novelists, including Tolstoy, have always presumed to seek for it.”

“The Pregnant Widow” (2010), reviewed by The Post’s Ron Charles . “In this nakedly autobiographical novel, a handful of topless bombshells and horny college kids spend the summer of 1970 at an Italian castle with nothing to do but plot their next orgasms. The setting is exotic, the subject is erotic, but the story is necrotic.”

“Lionel Asbo” (2012), reviewed by Charles . “Here, Amis seems unwilling to exert more effort than it would take to change the channel from ‘Jersey Shore’ to ‘Half Pint Brawlers.’ He’s ambling years behind The Situation and the Kardashians, serving up blanched stereotypes on the silver platter of his prose as though it contained enough spice to entertain or even shock.”

“The Zone of Interest” (2014), reviewed by Tova Reich . “Amis is a wizard possessing the ambition to take on weighty themes, but he is above all a word wizard. … It’s signature Amis at his most inventive, and it is precisely through such inspired and irreverent fluency that his dead-serious purpose is realized.”

Assorted essays and reviews

“Joan Didion’s style,” 1980. Dubbing Didion “the poet of the Great Californian Emptiness” in the London Review of Books, Amis both praises her originality and criticizes the “hollow places” of her writing — where it’s missing, he argues, social imagination and assured literary references.

“The World According to Spielberg,” 1982. Amis confesses to staggering out of the theater, drained of tears, after “E.T.,” and says in the Guardian: “The rule is: no one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the audience. Spielberg doesn’t need to do this because in a sense he is there already, uncynically.”

“Jane’s World,” 1995. Careening from “Four Weddings and a Funeral” to the BBC television adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice,” Amis reflects on the ’90s wave of the Jane Austen craze — “or more particularly Darcymania” — and the novelist’s enduring appeal.

“A rough trade,” 2001. Amis reported on the American porn industry for the Guardian. What follows — hilarious, shocking, sometimes appalling — should not be quoted here.

Profiles and interviews

The Post’s 1985 profile of Amis . “Money, to British novelist Martin Amis, is in the same vile category as Herpes II, daytime game shows and the Long Island Expressway,” wrote journalist Stephanie Mansfield. She reported that, at the conclusion of their interview in a Washington restaurant, when the check came, Amis did not move; he did not carry a wallet.

… and The Post’s profile from 1991 . On the occasion of Amis’s seventh novel, “Time’s Arrow,” Charles Trueheart had lunch with the novelist and learned that this was the first book that Amis’s father had read in full: “Having gotten completely used to him not reading them, this was a real buzz,” Amis quipped.

A conversation with Salman Rushdie in Interview magazine . The old friends, regarded (along with Christopher Hitchens, Julian Barnes, Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro) as members of the same close-knit literary generation, talked in 2020 about Amis’s autobiographical novel, “Inside Story” — and what Hitchens would have made of Donald Trump.

His Paris Review interview from 1998 . In it, Amis described what he would consider a good day of writing. (He considered it a “part-time job, really,” though also said that, toward the end of a novel, he experienced “hysterical energy” that allowed him to put in six or seven hours at a time.) He also, of course, answered questions about Kingsley: “I’m not at all reluctant to talk about my father, since it’s become clearer to me that it is more or less a unique case.” Amis did, however, breezily profess some resentment of younger writers.

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Opinion: a cerebral rock star is dead.

Legendary, bestselling British author Martin Amis, pictured at the Edinburgh International Book Festival where he talked about his new novel entitled 'The Zone of Interest'. The three-week event is the world's biggest literary festival and is held during the annual Edinburgh Festival. The 2014 event featured talks and presentations by more than 500 authors from around the world and was the 31st edition of the festival. (Photo by Colin McPherson/Corbis via Getty Images)

Editor’s Note: John Avlon is a CNN senior political analyst and anchor. He is the author of “ Lincoln and the Fight for Peace .” The views expressed in this essay are his own. Read more opinion at CNN.

In museums of the future, there will be exhibits dedicated to the literary hero, artifacts from a time when novels were mass entertainment. These celebrated writers were the subject of long-form profiles and occasional tabloid scandals, treated as cerebral rock stars and voices of their generation.

John Avlon

Martin Amis was one of our last literary heroes and his death at age 73 – from the esophageal cancer that also claimed the life of his best friend Christopher Hitchens – feels like a bookend to an era.

An impossibly cool and erudite observer, he chronicled transatlantic culture from the rise of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan through 9/11 to the whiplash between Barack Obama and Donald Trump in novels and essays. Everything he wrote was worth reading. He was not an overtly political writer – his markers were literary, from his father Kingsley Amis to Philip Larkin to Vladimir Nabokov and Saul Bellow, all of whom made frequent appearances in his work, with Martin acting as both witness and keeper of the flame.

His voice was unmistakable, the sound of all synapses firing with nicotine precision, diamond sharp and darkly funny. Gazing through shades, he could capture the sweep of skylines and dark alleys simultaneously. The opening paragraph from his novel “ The Information” shows Amis in full plume:

Author Martin Amis poses for a portrait at the Cheltenham Literature Festival held at Cheltenham Town Hall on October 14, 2007 in Cheltenham, England. (Photo by David Levenson/Getty Images)

British author Martin Amis dead at 73, his publisher says

“Cities at night, I feel, contain men who cry in their sleep and then say Nothing. It’s nothing. Just sad dreams. Or something like that…Swing low in your weep ship, with your tear scans and sob probes, and you would mark them. Women–and they can be wives, lovers, gaunt muses, fat nurses, obsessions, devourers, exes, nemeses–will wake and turn to these men and ask, with female need-to-know, ‘What is it?” And the men will say, ‘Nothing. No it isn’t anything really. Just sad dreams. ’”

Beneath the virtuosic riffs, you could hear an author trying to defy the undertow of despair. It drove him from tragicomic stories of modern folly in pursuit of sex and money to the subjects of Hitler’s Holocaust and Stalin’s gulags, in his works “Time’s Arrow,” “Koba the Dread,” “House of Meetings” and “Zone of Interest.” “Ideology brings about a disastrous fusion,” he wrote, “that of violence and righteousness.”

As a reader, the music of Amis’ best sentences stuck with me. As a writer, I took his work off the shelf not just for pleasure but for renewal, recharging the creative adrenal gland when I was blocked and pacing the floors.

The prose from his non-fiction collections “The Moronic Inferno” and “Visiting Mrs. Nabokov” does not feel dated, despite being written decades ago. It is the rare journalism that inspires regular re-reading, unlocking new insights, while waging a war against cliché.

Like earlier eras of literary heroes, Martin Amis traveled in a generational pack. They were a post-punk crew that migrated from the UK to the US, including Hitchens, Tina Brown and Salman Rushdie.

CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 12: Salman Rushdie, 2019 Booker Prize, shortlisted author, at the Cheltenham Literature Festival 2019 on October 12, 2019 in Cheltenham, England.

Salman Rushdie warns free expression is under threat in a rare public speech

Writers who came up in their shadow and were later lucky enough to work alongside them found their brilliance matched only by their willingness to raise a glass with young people of a similar spirit, if less blessed with raw talent.

I once had the surreal experience of traveling with Amis on a reporting trip to Iowa covering a 2012 GOP debate and having him read my second book “Wingnuts ” on the flight as homework. As I sat in the seat next to him, trying to stay cool while listening for any hint of approval, I wondered if he could hear how many sentences were influenced by his work.

In his final book, “Inside Story, ” part memoir and part novel, Amis returned to his friendship with Hitchens in the 1970s, prior to their becoming famous.  It chronicles a doomed affair, flashing forward at times to the decline of their friend Saul Bellows from dementia, as well as Hitchens’ death. It seemed to hint at a long goodbye of Amis’ own. But the door closed faster than I’d imagined.

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Amis received honors and fame, as well as some jealous disdain – but no Pulitzer or Nobel. He got a lot and deserved more.

As I got word of his passing from an alert on my phone, I happened to be watching my children run around at a playground and I recalled one of the many Amis lines that kicks around my cranium – this one from perhaps his most celebrated novel, “London Fields.”

“Watching children in the park…it occurs to me as I try to account for childish gaiety, that they find their own littleness essentially comic. They love to be chased, hilariously aware that the bigger thing cannot but capture them in time.”

In true Amis fashion, those sentences are about death as well as love – with flashes of laughter punctuating the space in between.

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"Going Public" in Children's and Young Adult Literature and Culture

Children’s Literature and Young Adult Literature Permanent Sections

Session Coordinator: Dr. Amberyl Malkovich 

Dept. of English, Concord University

[email protected]

“Going Public” in Children’s and Young Adult Literature and Cultures

Whether Harry Potter takes up his wand, Ada Twist delves into scientific discoveries, Charlotte pushes Wilbur out of his pen, Esperanza rises above her circumstances, or Aristotle goes in search of Dante, at some point such characters must “go public” to defy societal constructs and establish their own space in the world. In this vein, the concept of “going public” will be explored through a variety of lenses. Questions may arise such as: What is the role of Children’s and Young Adult Literature within public spheres? How do events such as war or pandemic cause reflection and change on societal, cultural, and/or individual levels? We seek papers that explore all aspects of Children’s and Young Adult Literature, as well as those addressing the conference theme of “Going Public.” Considerations may be given to audience, war, race, technologies, body image, sexualities, traumas, identity/-ies, disabilities, politics, diasporas, literacies, socioeconomics, immigration, rural/urban spaces, posthumanism, regionalism, and any other critical issues in children’s and young adult literature from any period and genre. Panel proposals are also welcome. 

The MMLA conference will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio November 2-5h, 2023. Inquiries and/or abstracts of 250-300 words should be sent to Dr. Amberyl Malkovich at  [email protected]  by June 14th, 2023. Please include your name, institutional affiliation, e-mail address, and paper title in your abstract. 

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Florida is investigating a teacher who showed a Disney movie with a gay character

Joe Hernandez

essay on the literary character

Strange World tells the story of a family of explorers. Disney hide caption

Strange World tells the story of a family of explorers.

A Florida teacher is under investigation by the state's Department of Education after she showed her students a Disney movie that features a gay character.

Jenna Barbee, who teaches fifth grade in the Hernando County School District, says a student's mother lodged a complaint with education officials after Barbee showed the film Strange World in her classroom.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs a bill banning DEI initiatives in public colleges

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs a bill banning DEI initiatives in public colleges

Barbee said the movie focuses on humans' relationship to the environment, which was why she chose to show it to her class after a section on ecosystems, plants and animals. She said a subplot about a boy having a crush on another boy never crossed her mind before screening the film.

"It talks about love to all things, and that's literally what this movie represents," Barbee told NPR. "I find it interesting that now I'm getting in trouble for a similar topic."

Strange World , a PG-rated Disney movie released last year, features actors Jake Gyllenhaal and Gabrielle Union among others and tells the story of three generations of a family exploring a dangerous land beneath their world.

Florida rejects some social studies textbooks and pushes publishers to change others

Florida rejects some social studies textbooks and pushes publishers to change others

Karen Jordan, a spokesperson for the Hernando County School District, confirmed to NPR in an email that both the district and the state are investigating the matter.

She said the Hernando County School District sent a note to the parents of children in the class informing them that their children had been shown the film.

"While not the main plot of the movie, parts of the story involves a male character having and expressing feelings for another male character," the note reads in part. "In the future, this movie will not be shown."

When asked why the district would no longer show Strange World , Jordan said there is a school board policy that guides the use of movies in classrooms and that the movie may violate Florida's "Parental Bill of Rights," a law signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis last year.

A Florida principal who was fired after showing students 'David' is welcomed in Italy

A Florida principal who was fired after showing students 'David' is welcomed in Italy

The law — which critics have dubbed "Don't Say Gay" — bars classroom instruction related to sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. In April, the Florida Board of Education approved an expansion of the ban to all grades.

DeSantis has been targeting curriculum and diversity programs in public schools and colleges that he's attacked as " woke indoctrination ."

Cassie Palelis, press secretary for the Florida Department of Education, said in an email to NPR on Monday that the department couldn't confirm or deny whether Barbee is under investigation and pointed to the state's legal process for investigating complaints against teachers.

Disney sues Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, claiming 'government retaliation'

Disney sues Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, claiming 'government retaliation'

The issue came into public view after one of Barbee's colleagues tweeted a photo of the letter Barbee received from state education officials informing her that she was under investigation.

Barbee also posted a video on TikTok explaining her situation, saying investigators have been interviewing students about the matter.

@becomingabetterbarbee I am the teacher. Here is the truth. #indoctrination #disneymovie #disney #strangeworld #viraltweet ♬ original sound - Jenna Lynn

In an interview with NPR, she noted that Strange World also depicts a heterosexual couple kissing, but said that only the same-sex crush was the subject of the parent's complaint.

"You don't get to pick and choose which things you want and which things you don't," Barbee said. "That's the issue with our school system today. It's just this ongoing battle of everybody getting to push what they believe."

  • Gov. Ron DeSantis


  1. Literary Analysis Essay

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  1. How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay

    Table of contents. Step 1: Reading the text and identifying literary devices. Step 2: Coming up with a thesis. Step 3: Writing a title and introduction. Step 4: Writing the body of the essay. Step 5: Writing a conclusion.

  2. How to Write Literary Analysis

    Literary analysis involves examining all the parts of a novel, play, short story, or poem—elements such as character, setting, tone, and imagery—and thinking about how the author uses those elements to create certain effects. A literary essay isn't a book review: you're not being asked whether or not you liked a book or whether you'd ...

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    Introduction: Introduce the character you are writing about using a good hook to get your reader curious. Body: In this section, use a few paragraphs to describe the character's traits, their role, and the transformation they undergo (you could write one paragraph for each of the sections outlined above). Conclusion: Summarize your essay in ...

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    One of the essential purposes of a character analysis essay is to look at the anatomy of a character in the story and dissect who they are. We must be able to study how the character was shaped and then learn from their life. A good example of a character for a character analysis essay is Daisy Buchanan from 'The Great Gatsby.'.

  5. Writing a Character Analysis Essay

    However, let me offer some advice that might act as a character analysis essay outline or 'checklist' of possible things you could discuss: 1. Start with the Simple Details. You can start a character analysis by providing a simple, clear description of who your character is. Look at some basic identity traits such as:

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    Character analysis essay example #1: Character Analysis of Anders in Bullet in the Brain, a Book by Tobias Wolff. The first essay is a brief analysis. It focuses on how readers see the character of Anders in the short story "Bullet in the Brain" develops. *Click images below to enlarge. In the above character analysis essay example, I noted ...

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    The only thing you can do to remedy this is to proofread the five paragraph essay and correct any issues. Even if you use all literary devices, you still have to proofread it. Start with the body paragraphs. The literary analysis step by step guide will tell you that you can start with the main section.

  10. Character: Definitions and Examples

    A character is a person, animal, being, creature, or thing in a story. Writers use characters to perform the actions and speak dialogue, moving the story along a plot line. A story can have only one character (protagonist) and still be a complete story. This character's conflict may be an inner one (within him/herself), or a conflict with ...

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    Narrator as a Character in the Personal Essay "[In a personal essay], the writer needs to build herself into a character. And I use the word character much the same way the fiction writer does. E.M. Forster, in 'Aspects of a Novel,' drew a famous distinction between 'flat' and 'round' characters—between those fictional personages seen from the outside who acted with the ...

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    If the source includes three or more authors, use the abbreviation "et al." after the first author's name. Example: (Collins et al., 1997) As for MLA format: You can write the author's name in the sentence. Example: As Collins mentions in his essay<…>.


    The term regularly used for the development of the central idea of a literary analysis essay is the body. In this section you present the paragraphs (at least 3 paragraphs for a 500-750 word essay) that support your thesis statement. Good literary analysis essays contain an explanation of your ideas and evidence from the text (short story,

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    A character analysis is a type of essay that requires you to analyze and evaluate the characteristics, traits, motivations, and decisions of a literary character. It involves closely examining such aspects as their personality, thoughts, behavior, and development. You should further explain how a character contributes to the overall meaning of ...

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    Final Thoughts on Essays; Literary Element Index; Appendix of Example Papers; Literary Character Analysis A literary analysis on a character can do several things: tell the reader what a character is or is not; show how a character changes throughout a story; compare a character with another similar or dissimilar character, or ...

  16. The Four Main Types of Essay

    Literary analysis looks at things like setting, characters, themes, and figurative language. The goal is to closely analyze what the author conveys and how. The introduction of a literary analysis essay presents the text and background, and provides your thesis statement; the body consists of close readings of the text with quotations and ...

  17. Character Analysis: Definition & Examples

    A character analysis aims to gain a deeper understanding of the piece of literature. A character analysis needs a main idea to drive the discussion. In a character analysis essay, the main idea is your thesis statement. When writing a character analysis, you must pay close attention to the things both stated and unstated about the character ...

  18. Tips and tricks of writing the best character analysis essay

    A character analysis essay evaluates the specific traits of a literary character. You have to include the additional elements like the role they play in the story and the conflicts they experience in the process. Your essay needs to be very critical of the character. You have to ask concise analysis questions and anchor your conclusions about ...

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    Step 2: Setting Up the Stage. The second step in writing a character analysis essay is setting the stage for the actual writing of a text. Here, students engage in several activities, including finding credible sources, making notes, creating an essay outline, and creating an annotated bibliography.

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  21. What to read by Martin Amis: Major novels, essays, reviews

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    In a tribute to his literary hero, John Avlon calls Martin Amis, who died last week, "an impossibly cool and erudite observer," who "chronicled transatlantic culture from the rise of Maggie ...

  23. cfp

    "Going Public" in Children's and Young Adult Literature and Cultures Whether Harry Potter takes up his wand, Ada Twist delves into scientific discoveries, Charlotte pushes Wilbur out of his pen, Esperanza rises above her circumstances, or Aristotle goes in search of Dante, at some point such characters must "go public" to defy ...

  24. Florida is investigating a teacher who showed a Disney movie with

    The film, Strange World, tells the story of a family of explorers and includes a character who has a crush on another boy. The fifth-grade teacher says a student's mother lodged a complaint.