How to Write a Character Analysis Essay

You may think that writing a character analysis essay is an easy task initially, but you soon realize that the process requires much time and effort. To analyze a character, you should dig deeper into a text. Character analysis is more than just talking about a person’s physical appearance or what they have done in the story. You should look at the character’s motivations, significance of their character, and their context to the story. Do not be worried if this sounds like a lot to digest. This guide will show you how to develop a character analysis essay to help you stay ahead in your course.

What is a Character Analysis Essay?

This is an essay that explains the detailed characteristics and traits of a particular character. At most times, the characters under analysis are from the literature, however, it may be derived from other art forms, such as cinematography. When writing a character analysis essay, your primary task is to inform the reader the identity of the character and the role they play in the story. Regardless of your individual preferences and opinion, it is crucial to apply your critical thinking skills and be unbiased towards the character under analysis. The analysis also contains the character’s relationship with other people, their behavior, and way of speaking, their appearance, and many other characteristics.

What is the Purpose of a Character Analysis Essay?

Other than fulfill an academic requirement, a character analysis essay mostly helps the reader comprehend the character and the world they live in. one of the significant purposes of the character analysis essay is to delve into the anatomy of a character in a story and investigate who he/she is. You should study and explain character development and then learn from them.

If you are analyzing a character and realize that your audience has no knowledge of who they are, it is important to include sufficient background information in your essay. Thereafter, you should explain the character through particular situations about them and the things they did. Ensure that you clearly explain to your reader why certain episodes were included in the essay and how they have portrayed the character. Lastly, wrap up everything by clearly stating the purpose of the character and their role in the story.

Types of Characters

To begin with, to comprehend how to write a character analysis essay, you first have to understand the different character types appearing within a story and how to recognize them. The character type you analyze will affect your capability to develop a well-rounded, detailed discussion. You should identify the importance of a character and choosing a wrong character to analyze can be disastrous for your work.

The following are the different types of characters.

  1. The Protagonist

This is the story’s main character. Every story that has ever been told has at least one primary protagonist. A protagonist makes the entire plot of a story to have a leg to stand on.

Some well-known protagonists in TV shows, movies, and books include:

  • Harry Potter in the Harry Potter series
  • Ariel in The Little Mermaid by Disney
  • Alice in Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  • Romeo in Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare

Often, a protagonist is a hero in a story who learns a valuable lesson or goes through a journey.  However, you can also meet an anti-hero as the protagonist. The anti-hero is a primary character who does not always do the right thing or is morally indecisive, or do the right thing but for the wrong reasons. An anti-hero may do bad things, but still have the support of the audience.

You should also remember that, although the protagonist mostly tells the story in first-person, the story’s narrator is not always the protagonist. Sometimes a narrator may be a major or minor character looking into the story or telling the story, for example, Nick in The Great Gatsby.

  1. The Antagonist

Usually the enemy or the villain, the antagonist is the character opposing the protagonist. Although it is a common scenario, an antagonist does not have to always be the villain. It may be someone who presents an obstacle or gets into the protagonist’s way, despite their actions being well-intended.

Some well-known antagonists in TV shows, movies, and books include:

  • Jafar in Aladdin by Disney
  • Lex Luther in Superman
  • Regina George in Mean Girls
  • Macduff in Macbeth by Shakespeare
  • Ursula in The Little Mermaid by Disney
  1. Major Characters

A major character is normally someone who is significant to the story, but not the protagonist. This person could be a parent/guardian, a sidekick, a best friend, or even a teacher or a close confidant. A love interest is an example of a major character, more so if the love interest causes some form of conflict or goes along for the journey for the protagonist.

Examples of major characters include:

  • Lois Lane in Spiderman
  • Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare
  • Jane Bennet in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Marie in The Aristocrats by Disney
  • Baloo in The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
  1. Minor Characters

Minor characters usually play the role of side characters that do not really contribute much to the actual plot of a story. A minor character may be someone who pops in regularly, or someone whose inclusion adds to the progression of the plot. For example, a bus driver or a family member who drives the protagonist to school or to work every day.

Examples of minor characters include:

  • Cinna in the Hunger Games series
  • Aunt March in Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Jock and Trusty in the Lady and the Tramp by Disney
  • Fleur Delacour in the Harry Potter series
  • Wheezy in Toy Story 2 by Disney

Remember that minor characters are also important as they are supportive to the plot and also loveable. If you can locate sufficient information about the background of a minor character and their involvement in the plot, you can do a character analysis of them.

  1. Dynamic Character

A dynamic character is an individual who changes and grows as a person during the story. Typically, the protagonist is a type of dynamic character who learns a lesson to become a better person. But, the changes do not have to always be positive.

  1. Static Character

A static character stays the same in the entire story without undergoing any growth. Normally, there is not too much to discover about a static character, such as their personal history or background. However, they are in the story to play a particular role or be a figurative character. An example of static characters is the minor characters.

  1. Stereotypical

If you understand what generalizations are, you will understand the type of character we are talking about here. Usually, this specific character speaks to the age bunch, sexual orientation, public, and social groups that, as illustrated by the mass view, has a particular arrangement of traits.

Character Analysis Essay Outline

  • Well-Developed Thesis

Your thesis statement should be in the opening paragraph. Take your time developing your thesis statement until it concisely summarizes the purpose of writing the essay. A great thesis provides the essay with context and gives clues about the essay’s purpose to the reader. From a technical viewpoint, the thesis statement should come towards the end of a paragraph. You should use a semicolon to distinguish two aspects; the rationale and the result of that rationale.

  • General Introduction

An introduction paragraph provides a general outline of the character.  As you develop the introduction, focus on how it aligns with your paper’s thesis. Provide general comments, background information and pertinent information on the life of the author or provide a brief account of the story to sustain the thesis’ subject matter.

  • Main Ideas

Emphasize on the primary ideas that you will cover in your character analysis essay. For example, if the essay deals with a mistrustful woman, determine if each primary idea you present emphasizes and offers solid evidence of the woman’s mistrust. Develop a one-word or a two-word concept that summarizes each idea and then convert the ideas into paragraphs. You need to create paragraphs that contain statements about, made by and to the character as they are all suitable. Describe the actions of the character in the story and how these actions strengthen your thesis statement. Search for statements or interviews from the author to strengthen your opinion. Begin every paragraph with a topic sentence and concentrate on a single idea without diverting off to other matters. When providing evidence, be specific and give examples.

  • Detailed Body

The main body of the essay must achieve three things 1) recognize the character type, 2) give a description of the character and 3) discuss the conflict. The characters can either be protagonists or antagonists, major or minor. They can also be stereotypical and contrasting with the primary character, multifaceted, narrow-minded or a combination of traits. Give an actual description of the character’s habits and opinions. If the character changed, discuss the change. Look for the not too obvious details, such as if the character’s name has any significance to the story. Do not forget to give an outline of the conflict and how it affects the outcome.

  • Strong Conclusion

The conclusion does not have to provide new information, since usually you cannot provide new arguments to sustain the information. Alternatively, remind the reader of your thesis statement and summarize the primary idea of every paragraph in the character analysis essay. A conclusion paragraph serves as the final opportunity to persuade the reader of the legitimacy of your character analysis. Conclude strongly by giving a more detailed version of your thesis statement that also includes the story’s conclusion.

  • Effective Title

A good title helps put your character analysis essay in context just like a thesis does. Your title should grab your reader’s attention and make him get interested in the essay. One way to develop a title is to look at your concluding or thesis statement. For example, if your conclusion says that the main character died without experiencing true love, you can have the title: “Living without Love.” The title uses information from the conclusion, strengthens the point of the character analysis and provides a sense of mystery about the essay’s contents.

How to Analyze a Character

The first thing to do when writing a character analysis essay is to pick the character you would like to analyze. Sometimes, your instructor will assign the character to you. If you’re tasked with choosing the character, it would be best to consider a character who plays a vibrant role in the story. Such a character will captivate your reader since you will present sufficient information about the character.

  1. Read the Story

Even if you have already read the book previously, you need to read it again. Now that you want to analyze a character, rereading the book will be very beneficial. It will enable you get a chance to be more detailed while reading the scenes that directly relate to your character and are essential for his/her analysis. While you read the book, take note of every small detail to ensure that you grasp the entire array of your character’s qualities.

  1. Pick a Vibrant Character

Picking a vibrant character is an excellent idea. It does not have to be the protagonist, but someone who undergoes significant changes, has progressed throughout the story, and is not static or boring. This will give you the advantage of fully showing the character and make your essay engaging and interesting for the reader. If your character choice is not very vibrant, your essay may turn out monotonous as the character will end up doing very little and not be involved in the story.

  1. Take Notes

As you read the story, you should take notes or underline/highlight all the crucial components of the story. Doing this will add complexity to your character development and description. By providing specific and vivid examples, you link your reader with the character, and make the character seem real to their eyes.  When you finish reading with the character in mind, go through your notes and develop the main idea concerning your character.

Write a first draft while referring to the character analysis essay outline we provided earlier on in this guide.

  1. Choose a Primary Idea

As you read the story, ensure that you keep track of your notes. Later on, look at the notes and choose the ones that represent your character and establish a pattern. This is going to be your thesis. You should then uphold this idea with situations and examples involving your chosen character. For example, if you chose Jem Finch from “To Kill a Mockingbird” as your character, your main idea would be examining how his individual character is developed through social inequalities, racial conflicts and internal struggles between his own views, public opinion, and what is really right.

  1. Stay away from Static Characters

As we said earlier on in this guide, one-dimensional characters should be avoided for a character analysis essay. You can also refer to them as unchanging characters. Most of them are minor characters that relate with the protagonist to improve their actions and qualities. But, they are not protagonists as what happens to them does not interest their readers.

Essential Character Analysis Questions to Consider

After noting some primary concepts about your character, use the following questions to help you fill some blanks that could be existing:

  • Where are the events involving your character taking place?
  • What is the relationship of your character with other important characters?
  • What primary change has your character undergone throughout the story?
  • What is the background of your character?
  • What is the occupation of your character?
  • What emotions does your character experience?
  • Does your character have any values? If yes, what are they?
  • What is the value of your character?
  • Who are the friends of your character?
  • Has your character learned any lesson by the conclusion of the story?
  • Does your character accomplish his/her goals?

Final Thoughts

To wrap it up, it is essential for a writer to look at many different aspects of a character when developing a character analysis paper. Additionally, just like any other types of essay, a character analysis essay also needs to be crafted in an organized way. Nevertheless, a character analysis essay is not a difficult task to complete and ideally, you should not face many hurdles. However, this is only a reality if a professional custom essay writer does the job. If you can’t describe yourself as a professional writer, do not worry. All you need to do is make a request “write my character analysis essay” or “buy essay online” and you are good to go. is a custom essay writing services specializing in different types of academic essays including a character analysis essay. Our professional writers are all Master’s or PhD degree holders with many years of experience in the academic writing industry. Whenever you place an order for a character analysis essay or any other essay, rest assured that your paper will be handled by someone who has done this before successfully. So, order your essay today or ask any question concerning your character analysis essay.

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