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Teacher Tips and Answers

Warm-Up for Analyzing a Character

Try to describe an object. That's fairly easy: a stout coffee cup with a robin-egg blue interior and a matte-black exterior that advertises the "Crossroads of Civilization" exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum. Objects are often straightforward. What you see is what you get.

Try to describe a person. That can be incredibly difficult. In fact, some authors have written whole novels describing a person such as Jane Eyre or Oliver Twist and still felt like they only scratched the surface. And yet, sometimes, you must read a great work of literature and write an effective character analysis in just a few pages.

What Is a Character Analysis?

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Writing Character Analyses
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A character analysis is a response to literature that looks closely at one or more characters and connects them to the major themes of the story or novel. A successful analysis considers different aspects of a character, provides textual evidence about the person, and explains what these details mean in the larger picture of the work.

In this unit, you will write a character analysis that focuses on one or more key characters in a work of fiction. You need to select a work that you know well. Then you must think deeply about it and unearth evidence to support your position.

Thinking About People

Characters are, of course, just fictional people. You can warm up your character-analysis muscles by analyzing people you know and like. (Be kind!) You can describe the person physically and psychologically, and you can think about what motivates the person. For example, this table records details about a student's best friend since third grade:

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