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Teacher Tips and Answers

Analyzing Characters

Almost all literature contains characters, the answer to who? in the 5 W's and H. Characters in literature are just like people in real life. You can describe them physically—their facial expressions, body posture, hair color, eye color, build, race, age, and sex. You can describe them psychologically—personality, intellect, education, role in society, desires, and fears. In fact, what characters desire and what they fear tend to be the sources of conflict for them, striving to get what they want and overcome what they dread.

Analyzing Characters in Literature

Sometimes authors describe characters outright, but often they show who characters are through their words and deeds. Your job as the reader is to analyze characters by finding outright evidence in the text and inferring other traits through dialogue and action.

Analyze literary characters.

Closely read the following excerpt from the great American novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. Then answer the questions that follow about the two main characters, Janie Mae Killicks and Joe Starks. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

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