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What Are the Best Tips for Writing a Character Analysis?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

When it comes to writing a character analysis, there are a number of different approaches that can be taken. In general, however, someone should consider any instructions or requirements a teacher may place on such an analysis and ensure that these are properly met. In writing a character analysis, someone should do a brief overview of the character and his or her various traits, usually by asking questions about the character. Once this information is compiled, then it can be used to construct an overall analysis of the character, usually with a discussion of the action or conflict of the story and how that relates to the character.

Writing a character analysis should begin with an understanding of the requirements or guidelines a student may have. Different instructors may want different types of information represented in an analysis, and students should not assume that what worked for one teacher will work for another. Instructions from a teacher can also present an outline for how the analysis should be written and may even give an example that can be followed by the student.

Woman standing behind a stack of books
Woman standing behind a stack of books

The first step in writing a character analysis should typically be for a person to create an overview of the character before actually writing out the analysis. This can be done in a number of ways, though a few primary concerns should be kept in mind. The student should consider the very nature of the character within the story; this can include if the character is a protagonist or antagonist, minor or major character, static or dynamic character, and how the character ends up in the story.

This can usually be done by asking questions about the character. For example, is the character a protagonist or an antagonist? If it is a main character, then does the character help move the story forward and overcome conflict, or aid the conflict and try to hold back any protagonists? Is the character static or dynamic throughout the story? Static or flat characters do not grow or change over the course of the story, while dynamic or round characters do change; understanding and identifying this can be very important for someone writing a character analysis.

Once these and similar questions are answered, then writing a character analysis should begin. This can typically be done in three simple components, the first of which includes identifying the type of character that is being analyzed in general terms. The second section should be a more in-depth description of the character, including any possible motivations the character may have, how the writer describes him or her, and ways in which the text reinforces the analysis provided. Writing a character analysis can then conclude with a brief description of how the character is important to the overall story, including any ways in which the arc of the story serves to help the character grow or change.

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      Woman standing behind a stack of books