Character Analysis with Examples in 5 Easy Steps

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Character Analysis with Examples in 5 Easy Steps

Character analysis aims to understand the role, description, and relationships between different characters of a story. Mostly in literature, students are assigned the task of analyzing the characters so they can better understand the art as well as the science of story-telling. Being mindful of clues about the traits, appearances, and roles of given characters can provide better content for your analysis. This article aims to discuss character analysis and ways to write it in five simple steps.

1.      What is character analysis?

Character analysis explains the in-depth traits of certain characters. Most of the time, the characters are from the literature. However, sometimes, characters may be from another art form, such as cinematography. To put it in another way, it is a way to use clues from a story to know more about the characters. 

It helps in understanding the story as well as the plot. It makes the characters of a story real for the reader; thus, its content seems more attractive to the readers. The three main tasks in character analysis include evaluating characters’ traits, their relative roles in the story, and events happening among the characters.  

2.      Ways to write a character analysis?

Writing a good character analysis demands the writer to focus on a few essential components. Moreover, the first step in this process must be a thorough reading of the literary work. The reason is without thorough reading; you cannot gather hidden clues for making your views. Attentive reading helps you better observe what the author reveals about the characters. Reviewing dialogues, narratives, and plots is the mean that one can use to find clues about the personality and other traits of characters. 

It also includes the identification of the antagonist (villains) as well as the protagonist (the central character). In suspense stories, the author often creates characters with many facets. The character analysis becomes a bit difficult in such complex stories. The following are a few simple steps that you can follow to easily write your own character analysis:

 Select the characters for your analysis:

The selection of characters that may be protagonists or antagonists must include in the preliminary steps of character analysis. In the majority of cases, the selection of the characters for analysis solely depends on the writer’s wish. Thus, the writer must choose the characters that play dynamic roles throughout the story. Flat characters are no doubt easy to describe but are not considered a good option for analysis. 

For example, if you want to conduct an analysis of Harry Potter, you must start making a list of characters. Harry Potter will be the protagonist, while Peter Pettigrew, Gellert Grindelwald, and Lord Voldemort are among a few antagonist characters. Crabbe and Goyle are flat characters, while an example of a dynamic character includes Neville Longbottom. Suppose we selected Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom for our analysis.

Read the story by keeping in mind the chosen characters:

Right after the selection of the characters for your analysis, the next step must be to read the story to gather as much information about the chosen characters as possible. You can also start your analysis by reading instead of selecting characters. However, in either case, you must read the story after the character’s selection, again. Notice the plots, relationships, and activities of the characters and move on to the next step of the analysis.

For example:  In light of the above example, the reading must aim to note the minor as well as major details about Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom. 

Make notes and choose a thesis statement:

Step three in this analysis is the lengthiest phase that includes an in-depth evaluation of the character’s traits. At this stage, you must find the answers to some of these questions and note them down for later use:

  1. What traits (physical, mental, or any other) of the characters does the author describe in the story?
  2. What type of relationship do the selected characters have with other characters?
  3. How do the actions of the characters move the plot forward?
  4. What emotions and feelings do the characters depict throughout the story?
  5. What are some minor details about the characters that the author described?  

Once you get all the information related to these or other questions, you must immediately note it down on a blank paper. Then try to recall the role of the characters and make a thesis statement. The thesis statement will allow you to remain clear about the position of the chosen characters in the story. You can also pen down the thesis statement on the same paper.

For example, here, you must note the appearance, stance, and position of both Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom as soon as you read related to them in the text.

 Draft outlines:

The notes you have just taken are the best source of information for outlining your character analysis. If you have taken notes in the form of pointers, it is your outline. In contrast, if you collect all relevant information in the form of flow charts or tree diagrams, then it acts like a mind-map. 

In either case, the more data you collect from the literature review, the better you can analyze the stance as well as the position of your characters. In standard practice, the outline or mind-maps for the character analysis contain three main parts: introduction, points for discussion in the body of the analysis, and conclusion.

Apart from this, you can also use the thesis statement to arrange the structure of your analysis. The thesis statement prevents us from producing an ill-structured draft. 

For example: In the introduction, you can give reasons for the selection of the characters for analysis. In the main body, you must specify different paragraphs for the roles of both characters (Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom) in the play. In conclusion, note down all the strengths and weaknesses of these characters to wrap up the analysis.   

Write your analysis by having all stuff in your hands:  

The last step in the character analysis is to use the outline, notes, and thesis statement to complete the analysis. The structure of the analysis may be in the form of a report as well as an essay. In essay type, your analysis must have three distinct sections without using headings: introduction, body, and conclusion. Simultaneously, in reports, you can use different heads as well as numbered sections. You can use any standard essay and report format for writing the analysis. 

Final thoughts:

Character analysis is not difficult to perform, but yes, you need to do some practice for it. Practice makes a man perfect is true in this case. This article focused on five simple steps to writing character analysis that is good enough to get satisfactory results even in the first attempt. These five steps include a selection of characters, reading the story to gather information regarding the characters, note preparation, thesis writing, outlining the analysis, and final representation of your analysis on a paper.

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