Essays based on literary works are challenging but enjoyable to write. You need to read the text, analyze the character, not miss the essential points, draw up a character analysis plan, and, finally, write the essay. The process is long, so our tips will probably come in handy. We will not dwell in detail on how to write a character analysis essay but will discuss the main nuances that are worth paying attention to while analyzing the hero.
What is a Character Analysis?
Everything that can be said about a literary hero based on the text of the work will be his/her characteristic. The image of a character is not only his/her thoughts, statements, or descriptions of the author. Behavior, attitude towards others, lifestyle, environment, manners, etc., tell a lot. To fully characterize a literary hero, you need to consider his/her figure in various circumstances, turning the inner world inside out.
A Character Analysis Plan
While reading the text, highlight the key points that will help you analyze the character. Let's consider the main ones in more detail.
- The place of the hero among other characters in work. Is the hero the main or the secondary?
- The name and surname of the character. Is there any interpretation of them? Many authors put some aspects of character into the name.
- The appearance of the character and the way he/she is dressed. What does the author pay special attention to? How does the hero's appearance compare with his/her character? Several characteristics can be given to the hero by other characters, which is also curious.
- Characteristics of the character's speech. What is the manner of speech? Does it have any features? Are there any phrases the character likes to use? Does he/she have parasite words? What can it point to?
- Description of the hero's dwelling, his/her life. What does the place where the character lives look like? Are there some interesting details that can reveal his/her character, habits, experiences, facts from the past? As in real life, a dwelling speaks of a person, same in literature. One has only to take a closer look.
- The origin of the character. In what family was the literary hero born? How was his/her childhood? How did the peculiarities of the era affect the upbringing of the hero? What is his/her education, occupation? How does he/she relate to his/her work (loves, hates, etc.)?
- The social and material situation of the character. At what stage of society is the literary hero? For the most part, does he/she have to obey or command? Does he/she have financial problems? If so, how does he/she perceive it?
- Character traits of the hero and his/her motivation. What can you say about the hero's outlook? What are his/her interests, occupations, profession? Does he/she have a goal in life? What is he/she striving for? What is he/she dreaming about?
- The character's feelings. What can you say regarding the relationship of the hero with the people around him/her? What are his/her inner experiences, feelings? What triggers the strongest emotions in character?
- The behavior and actions of the character. What critical actions can be distinguished in the text? How does he/she behave with other characters? How do they relate to him/her (and why)?
- How does the character's image develop throughout the entire work? Are there any changes to the hero? If there are, of what kind? Tracking the dynamics of the image of a literary hero is an important task.
- Comparison of the character with other participants in the action. What's the difference between them?
- Assessment of the character by the author. How does the writer relate to the hero? How can one characterize this attitude in a few words (admiration, dislike, indignation, indifference, etc.)?
- Determination of the typical and individual in the personality and behavior of the character. It may relate to his/her origin, status, age, or behavior in certain situations.
- The role of the character. What plot twists are the merit of the character being described? How does he/she affect the plot, its development, and its outcome? How does he/she relate to the central conflict in work?
- Conclusion. Why was the character's image created? What questions and problems does he/she help to solve in work? These are the most exciting findings.
Once the character analysis is ready, you can proceed to write the essay itself.