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Character Analysis Essay


How to Write a Character Analysis Essay: Outline, Writing Guide, Examples

In literature, character is a term used in reference to a verbal representation of a person, particularly the inner self of the person which influences behavior, thought and speech. The interaction of circumstance and character are captured by literature through action, dialogue and commentary. These interactions are livened by literature through presenting characters that are worth rooting for, loving and taking care of. However, there are characters that make the audience laugh, hate or dislike.  This essay presents the procedure of writing a character analysis essay.

Related articles: How To Write A Poetry Analysis Essay

Common topics in Character Analysis Essay include completeness of context, literary characters, character appearance, and character presentation. The essay helper must also focus on the role which the characters play, protagonist and villain, main themes of the story, the background of the characters, the character’s personality, and character transformation.

What is a Character Analysis Essay?

Throughout the course of our lives, we are surrounded by favorite characters from the stories we read and the films we watch. The character analysis definition will show that any character has a story to tell whether it is Winnie-the-Pooh from the same-named tale or Alice in Wonderland. 

As a part of a school curriculum, students often have to compose a character analysis paper, especially if they study Literature and Arts as their major. Meanwhile, this essay type will ask you to describe a particular character. Starting with their physical appearance and moving to the character’s motives, aspirations, their relationship with other characters in the story, and challenges they overcome.

Commonly, the character analysis essay format reflects the structure of a traditional essay. You start with an introduction of a character, proceed with the analysis, and finish with a conclusion. Want more details? Keep reading. 

Character Analysis Essay Purpose

To define character analysis, one must think of what it would have meant to write about a person they know. Think of your friend. What makes them who they are? Age, gender, appearance, job occupation? Once you start thinking of all features which make someone in real life distinctive, project these characteristics on the characters from the novel or the movie screen. 

Remember that character analysis meaning is to critically think of what exactly distinguishes a particular character from others. Start with what you see and continue with what might be hidden from the reader’s or the viewer’s attention. 

For instance, Mia Wright from the screen version of Little Fires Everywhere is African-American, a feature shown both in her physical appearance and socioeconomic status. In this particular essay on characters, you can write on how Mia is set in opposition to Elene, a rich white woman who desperately tries to prove she is not a racist. 

Think of the choices the characters make while being mothers. And how these choices are connected to the class and race both characters represent. In this character analysis example, you see that to distinguish your character, you might put them in contrast to others. In such a way, you focus on the essence of the character, which is the main purpose of writing a character analysis essay. 

Types of Characters

Classification is that saving tip when you do not know how to start writing a character analysis. In fact, all stories, whether bookish or on-screen, have essential pairs of characters to brighten up the story. Contrast makes perfect. Imagine how Joanne Rowling would have written such a wonderful story of good and evil if all her characters were gracious and positive? Yes, there would have been no Harry Potter story in this case.  

So, which types of characters make the story tick?

  • Dynamic. These characters change throughout the entire plot fundamentally. Whether it is Neville Longbottom gaining bravery in the last duel between the evil and the good or Ron becoming confident, both main and secondary characters can be dynamic.  
  • Static. If you wonder how to write character analysis on this particular type, do not worry since there is always enough information on these ones. Static characters do not change much, and usually leave the story in the same ‘fashion’ they have entered it. Think of Olivander. Yes, he endures tortures in Voldemort’s place, but in the end, he is the same old Olivander we have seen in the first book. 
  • Protagonist. Obviously, the central character. They are the easiest to write about, since there is a lot of information the reader gets once the plot starts unwrapping. In the notorious Harry Potter saga, Harry is the main character whose life and choices we trace starting from the first pages. 
  • Antagonist. The second element in the protagonist-and-antagonist dichotomy. Antagonists are usually evil characters who aim to destroy the protagonist’s good intentions. Whether it is Voldemort, intriguing with Death Eaters against Harry himself, or Malfoy, sneaking on Harry to professor Snape, the saga has many antagonists to choose from. 
  • Main or Secondary. The main character is not necessarily the central one. For instance, the Harry Potter series has one central character, while other main characters, which are not central, are Hermione and Ron. Meanwhile, secondary characters like Neville or Polumna rarely draw the plot, adding fewer details to the analysis of character.  

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay? 

Read a Story

All essay writing starts with reading. Or watching if you have to write an essay about the character from a movie. So, before choosing which character to write about, check out the story they participate in. While reading or watching, make a list of the main and secondary characters. Any character analysis essay example will be based on a well-explored outline of the entire story. So, check all essential parts like exposition and climax to see how the plot drives the character’s development. 

If you still wonder how to start a character analysis, write down the first impression you had about the character in the beginning of the story and in the concluding scene. Think of Joanne Rowling again. While writing a character analysis essay about Neville Longbottom, you will see that in the first scene when we meet the character, Neville is a clumsy kid who loses his frog. However, with the progression of the saga, we see Neville taking a stand against his friends in the second book and challenging Voldemort in the last one. The story shows how Neville transitions from a clumsy child to a courageous young man. 

Choose a Character 

Choosing the right character seems like the easiest part of the job. In fact, it is not. First, try writing a good character analysis example paragraph: you are good to go only when you finally understand the character and what motivates them. Second, any guide on how to do character analysis will tell you that the best character to choose is the one which triggers the most vivid emotional response in you. Sure, you might not like the Grandmother from Flowers in the Attic, but she is a great villain who triggers your disgust and hatred. So, explore your feelings. 

Take Notes

Another powerful advice for spicing your essay with more details. How can you analyze character in the most effective way? By being attentive to the tiniest details. While reading the story, underline all information which you think is important for introducing the chosen character. Your character report may contain the following criteria: 

  • Childhood Facts. Did any childhood events shaped the character in a distinctive way? Who were the character’s parents? Was the childhood happy, or did it contain abuse?
  • Physical Traits. What is the character’s ethnicity? Do they have a visible illness? Are features like hair color or height symbolic? 
  • Character Traits. If you had to describe the character in one word, what would it be? Does the most distinctive feature change throughout the story? 
  • Intonations and Expressions. How does the character talk? Are they loud or calm? Are they expressionless or emotional? 

Now, when you know how to do a character analysis, think of the main essay idea. 


Choose a Thesis Statement

A thesis statement is the last sentence in your introductory part which contains the main idea you are going to defend. The following is an example of a character analysis: “In ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower,’ Charlie is the main character who embodies the stereotypical teenage problems and successfully overcomes them in the end, adding confidence to the reader who might be an adolescent themselves.”

An effective character analysis thesis statement should contain one idea about the character which you consider important to discuss with the audience. 

Draft an Outline

Leave your character analysis conclusion as the last stage since conclusions commonly summarize the main points of the body. Instead, focus on writing a body, which would traditionally include three paragraphs of evidence to your thesis statement. 

Cite lines from the story which support your ideas. The best evidence is one taken from the primary source.

You may write your character analysis introduction while writing the body of the essay since new details will always occur, making your introduction part a constant work in progress. 

Write a Character Analysis Essay

For a character analysis essay, the character to be analyzed is normally assigned to the student. However, in the event that the character is not assigned, the writer needs to choose only those characters playing a key role in the story. Characters that appear flat in the sense that they are either bad or good with no complex motivations to take into considerations may not be ideal for character analysis.  The writer also needs to read and re-read the story so as to understand it fully as well as all the characters. While reading, it is important to notice each place that the character appears and take into concern the following:

  • How is the character (characters) described by the authors?
  • How does the character relate with others?
  • What is the role of the character in moving the story forward?
  • What challenges does the character undergo?
  • Which words are used to describe the character?

The other aspect of character analysis assignment is to pay a closer attention to the ethics of a character.  This is in terms of whether the character makes unjust or just choices.  For instance, there are characters who make choices which are morally correct only when it is convenient for him or her to do so. However, there are those who can stick to their principles even when life is at a compromise.

Character Analysis Essay Questions

Ever wondered how to analyze a character without an aching thought ‘don’t know where to start from’? Check the list of the questions we have prepared for you. 

  • When is the first time the reader or the viewer meets the character?
  • Does a character have a ‘tale-telling’ name? If the character’s name is Lolita, and the girl strangely reminds of Nabokov’s novel, this is definitely not a lucky coincidence. Respect the author’s smart move. 
  • Do the physical features somehow reflect the essence of the character? Search for witch-like peaky noses and innocent rosy cheeks.
  • What are the fears your character has? One of the best questions in the analysis of characters since fears can tell about the character’s motivation so much. 
  • What are the objects associated with your character? Things around speak loudly. 

Character Analysis Essay Outline

The following outline should be used when writing a character analysis essay


a) Provide background to the story
b) Introduce the author and title
c) Thesis statement (state the traits of the character and how they influence the story)

Presentation of the Character at the Story’s Beginning

a) Identified traits of the character
b) The impact of these traits on the story
c) How does the character’s trait portray him or her?

The transformation of the character in the story?

  • Describe your character
  • Consider changes in beliefs, attitudes, self-concept, the character’s actions
  • The impact of this transformation on the character
  • How the character’s trait influence the story

A Description of the Character at the Story’s end

a). What are the character’s traits at the end of the story?
b). How does the trait influence the story?


What does the character’s experience teach the readers and what are your general feelings towards that character?

Character Analysis Essay


In summary, it is necessary for a writer to study many diverse aspects of a character as possible when writing a character analysis paper. Further, just like any other essay, a character analysis essay ought to be written in an organized manner. Nonetheless, a character analysis essay is a simple task and which should not have many hurdles. Yet, this is only true if a professional essay writer is concerned. If you can’t call yourself that, don’t worry. Just formulate a online assignment help request, buy essay from our pros, and you are good to go.

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