How to Write a Character Analysis

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Writing assignments will keep coming up every now and then during your academic curriculum. There will be research papers, term papers and essays of different types and genres. These writing assignments will be concentrated on your main subject even though you will be doing some of them on your languages and other subjects. For English literature students, literature essays will be a regular exercise. They will deal with different types of essays as they are specializing in the language. Character analysis is one type of essay literature students will have to get familiar with.

Writing a character analysis is slightly different from the other essays. The structure will remain the same as other essays with an introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion, but the contents of these will differ from normal essays.

As the name suggests, this type of essay will focus on a particular character or all the characters in a particular book. The guidelines will specify whether you have to study one character and analyze it or you have to give an analytical report of all the characters in that book. If you have been asked to write a character analysis of one character, then the task is relatively simple.

Read the book at least twice to determine the role played by the character in question. Reading once will not give you a focused idea of the character. You have to give a detailed analysis of the character’s nature, the role and its entry and exit in the book, as applicable. Give an analytical review of how the character has influenced the story or the book. Discuss if the character has had a negative impact or a positive one. Give your view on whether the rest of the characters and story has been affected by that. You are allowed to discuss anything and everything that could be directly related to the character.

You will also need to evaluate the relation of the other characters to this particular character. You will need to figure out whether any of them needs to be mentioned in your analysis of the specific character. It is preferable to avoid mentioning other characters when the analysis is to be done on a single character. But sometimes it becomes inevitable to mention one or two of them to justify the analysis of the one in question. That is acceptable but do not detail on any characters other than the one in question. Digressing off into other characters will not only waste your space but also take the focus off the given character, thus making it look less like an analysis of that character and more like that, of all the characters in the book.

Understanding the guidelines and applying them to the point is the key to being able to write a very good essay. A character analysis is a rather simple task and if you just put in a little bit of effort, you can score very well in this particular type of writing assignment. You might also be asked to write research papers which come under the genre of character analysis. But the basic rule remains the same – study the character well and give a detailed analysis.

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