Warm-Up for Analyzing a Character
Who is your favorite character from a story or novel? Someone with amazing abilities who does astounding things? Someone with major flaws who overcomes them in surprising ways? Is the person likable? Intelligent? Funny? Are other qualities more important? You could answer these questions in many ways because great characters, like real people, are multilayered and complex.
In this unit, you will peel back the layers of a character from a story or novel. In addition to the person's actions, you'll analyze the character's mind, body, and spirit to discover what makes the person tick. In the process, you may even get closer to understanding what really makes a great literary character.
What Is a Character Analysis?
Listen to "What Is a Character Analysis?"
A character analysis is a response to literature that looks closely at one or more characters from a 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 context of the work.
In this unit, you will pick a key character from a work of fiction that you know well. The lessons that follow will help you closely analyze the character, express an overarching idea about the person, and find evidence to support your position.
Thinking About Character Traits
One of the challenges of writing a character analysis is drawing conclusions about someone you have met only through words on a page. You have to rely on text evidence, things the character does and says in the story. Of course, we all make similar judgments about people we've met only in other media, for example favorite icons from music, sports, politics, or movies.
You can warm up your character-analysis muscles by answering interview questions from the perspective of a famous person. Create answers as best you can based on what you know about the person. Here's an example to get you started: