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Writing a Character Analysis Essay | Step-by-Step Guide

I’m also going to give you a ton of examples.

This post is split into four parts for easy navigation:

  • What is a Character Analysis Essay?
  • What is the best Format to Use?
  • 11 Character Analysis Example Ideas
  • Template, Checklist and Outline for Your own Piece

character analysis essay example

In this post, I’m going to explain to you clearly and in a step-by-step way how to conduct a character analysis.

1. What is a Character Analysis Essay?

Let’s get you started with some really simple details about what a character analysis is:

  • A Quick Definition: A character analysis essay zooms-in on a character in a book, movie or even real life. It provides what we sometimes call a ‘sketch’ of a character.
  • The Purpose of a Character Analysis: The purpose of a character analysis is to reveal interesting details about the character that might contain a broader moral message about the human condition. For example, Atticus Finch is not just a lawyer in To Kill a Mockingbird. Rather, he provides us with a moral message about the importance of doing what you believe is right even though you know you will likely fail.

2. What is the best Character Analysis Essay Format?

Character analysis essays do not have just one format.

However, let me offer some advice that might act as a character analysis essay outline or ‘checklist’ of possible things you could discuss:

1. Start with the Simple Details.

You can start a character analysis by providing a simple, clear description of who your character is. Look at some basic identity traits such as:

  • Race (if relevant)
  • Social class (if relevant)
  • Protagonist or Antagonist? A protagonist is the character who is our central character in the plot; the antagonist is often the protagonist’s opponent or challenger.
  • Major or minor character?

2. What are the character’s distinctive personality features?

Your character might have some really clearly identifiable character traits. It’s best to highlight in your character analysis the exact traits that this character possesses. Some common character traits include:

I recommend you take a moment to write down what you think the top 3 to 5 words are that you’d use to explain your character’s personality traits. These will be important to discuss throughout your character analysis.

Sometimes a character may start out with some personality traits, but change over the course of the text. This is quite common; and one clear example of this is Lady Macbeth she deteriorates from a cutthroat power player to a guilt ridden shell of a person roaming the halls of the castle. This dramatic character change is something that makes her very interesting, and is worthy of discussion!

3. What are the character’s key relationships?

Does your character have a close relationship with a certain person in the storyline?

You might want to discuss the character’s relationships as a part of your character analysis. These relationships may reveal some key personality traits of your character.

For example, in Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, Horatio is the loyal offsider to Hamlet. Through his actions in staying by Hamlet through thick and thin, we learn that he is a deeply loyal character.

Examining the character’s relationships with their friends and foes therefore is very useful for digging deeper into who this character actually is, and what personality traits they have when they are put to the test within the narrative.

4. What are the character’s motivations?

Another thing you might want to examine are the character’s motivations . What do they desire most in the world? Some common motivations for characters in stories are:

  • A simple life
  • To serve others

This list really could be endless, but I hope the above examples give you a bit of an idea of the sorts of traits to look out for. By mentioning and examining the motivations of the character, we will come closer and closer to learning exactly what moral message this character might be able to tell us.

5. What are the character’s key conflicts?

Stories tend to have a beginning, a complication, and a resolution.

The complication involves conflicts and challenges that need to be overcome. For Edmund in Narnia, it’s cowardice. For Romeo and Juliet, it’s the conflict between love and family loyalty. Here’s some other common conflicts for characters:

  • Whether to stay loyal to a friend;
  • To overcome obstacles to love;
  • To seek a way out of a challenging situation;
  • To escape war or poverty;
  • To persevere through imprisonment;
  • To overcome personal fear

Again, this list is endless.

Knowing the character’s core conflict gets us even closer to knowing the moral that the character is trying to teach us.

For example, in Romeo and Juliet, the challenge of Romeo and Juliet being together despite their families’ objections teaches us something. Personally, I believe it teaches us the importance of letting go of old grudges in order to let love bloom.

This moral lesson was taught to us through conflict: namely, the conflict that Romeo and Juliet were right in the center of.

6. What are the character’s epiphanies?

Sometimes a character has an epiphany. This often happens towards the end of the story and helps the character overcome the challenge or conflict that we discussed in the point above.

Here’s an example of an epiphany:

  • In the Lion King, Simba runs away from his tribe to live in exile. After a chance encounter with his childhood friend Nala, he has an epiphany that he has a duty to his tribe. This leads him back home to fight Scar and return freedom to Pride Rock.

Not all characters have an epiphany. But, if they do, I strongly encourage you to write about it in your character analysis.

7. Examine the moral message the character teaches us.

Finally, conclude by examining the moral message behind the character. Nearly every character has something to teach the reader. Authors put a lot of thought into creating complex characters with whom we can relate. We relate to the character and say “wow, they taught me a lesson about something!”

The lesson might be something like:

  • Money doesn’t buy happiness;
  • Loyalty to family comes above all else;
  • Love gives life meaning;
  • Honesty is always the best policy

This is the core of your character analysis essay. If you can pick out exactly what moral message the character teaches you, you’ll be well on your way to writing a strong character analysis.

Below I’m going to give you some examples to help you out. I know it can be hard to really get your head around a character, so sometimes the best thing is to look at some samples!

3. Here’s 13 Example Character Analysis Essay Ideas.

Most times when we create a character analysis, we’re exploring the deeper moral stories / aspects of humanity. Here’s some example ideas. I’ve tried to outline in less than a paragraph exactly what your key point will be about each character:

  • Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird: A character who teaches us a lesson about standing up for what’s right, even if you know you’re likely to lose.
  • Huckleberry Finn from Huckleberry Finn: A character who reveals our inner desire for freedom from the elements of society that constrain us.
  • Dudley from Harry Potter: A character whose personality tells us a cautionary tale of the perils of middle-class narcissism, parents’ desire to wrap their children in cotton wool, and the lack of discipline we perceive in contemporary childhoods.
  • Jack from Lord of the Flies: A character who represents the innate desire for power that seems to lurk not too far from the surface of the human condition. When social structures are stripped away, he quickly reverts to violence and superstition to assert control over his peers.
  • Lady Macbeth from Macbeth: Lady Macbeth teaches us a valuable lesson about the perils of contravening our own morality. She starts out a cutthroat killer but is increasingly consumed by the guilt of her own actions. While we may be able to escape full punishment from outside forces, it is the inner guilt that might eat us away to our last.
  • The Boy who Cried Wolf: The boy who cried wolf is a character whose fatal flaw is his desire for attention and adulation. His repeated attempts at gaining the attention of others leads the townspeople to no longer take him seriously, which causes him harm when he actually needs the villagers to take him seriously to save his life. He teaches us the virtue of honest and humility.
  • Nick Carraway from the Great Gatsby: Nick shows us all the inner conflict between the trappings of wealth, glamor and spectacle; and the desire for simplicity, honesty and community. He is drawn by the dazzling world of East Egg, New York, but by the end of the novel sees live in East Egg as shallow and lacking the moral depth of his former life in small town Minnesota.
  • Alice from Alice in Wonderland: In many ways, Alice represents the child within all of us. She is a character of goodwill to all and who looks upon the world (or, rather, Wonderland) with awe. Travelling with a cadre of flawed characters, she learns with them the importance of seeking strength from within.
  • The Nurse in Romeo and Juliet: Like many Shakespearian characters, the nurse’s role is both as loyal confidante to a central character and comic relief. Shakespeare uses minor characters to regale his crowd and sustain viewer interest between scenes.
  • Lucy in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Lucy represents a surprising character whose youthfulness and small stature make her an underrated character by all around her. Nonetheless, she possesses within the bravery and loyalty necessary to carry out the quest for Aslan. Lucy represents the goodness in children and, by extension, all of mankind.
  • Anne in Anne of Green Gables: Anne occupies the typical literary role of young girls in many classical novels: she represents innocence and wonder, and her contraventions of rules are seen through a prism of childhood innocence. This frames Anne not as a deviant but as a precious soul.
  • Simba from The Lion King: Simba’s story follows his struggle with growing up, embracing his destiny and duty to his family, or fleeing towards freedom and a ‘no worries’ lifestyle. Simba flees Pride Rock and goes through an existential crisis with his existentialist friends Timon and Pumba. When he runs into an old childhood friend, he realizes how shallow his new carefree life has become and reflects upon his obligation to his community back home.
  • Woody from Toy Story: Woody starts out Andy’s favorite toy, but when Andy gets a new flashier toy, Woody’s status amongst the toys falls apart. Woody’s key character challenge is to learn to be humble and inclusive living within the group. By the end of the movie, Woody realizes his duty to love and serve Andy is more important than his own status within the group.

4. Here’s an Example Template for your own Character Analysis Essay

Feel free to use this brainstorming template to get you started with your character analysis essay. I recommend filling out as many of these key points as you can, but remember sometimes you might have to skip some of these points if they’re not relevant to your character.

Once you’ve brainstormed the ideas in Table 1, follow the character analysis essay outline in Table 2 to stay on track for your character analysis essay. Do remember though that each assignment will be different and you should adjust it based on your teacher’s requirements.

Here’s Table 1, which is a brainstorming template for your character analysis essay:

And here’s Table 2, which is an example character analysis essay outline. This is for a 1500 word character analysis essay. Change the word count according to how long your essay should be:

Read Also: 39 Better Ways to Write ‘In Conclusion’ in an Essay

Character analyses can be really tough. You need to know your character really well. You might even need to re-read (or watch) your book or movie a few times over to get to know the character really well.

I recommend when you re-read or re-watch the text before you write your character analysis, have the checklist I provided above handy and take notes. Then, use the essay outline I provided above to put all of those notes together into a clear and thorough final character analysis essay.


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How to Write a Thesis Statement for a Character Analysis Paper

Dynamic characters fuel fiction. A character analysis paper analyzes a character’s personality and behavior to draw conclusions about her motivations. The thesis statement of a character analysis paper presents an argument about the significance of the character in relation to the story. A writer gathers evidence for a character analysis thesis not only from the way a narrator describes a character but through the narrator’s portrayal of a character’s actions.

Brainstorm a rough sketch of the character, describing his personality, appearance, preferences, tendencies, beliefs, values and actions.

Consider if any of the character traits you brainstormed are tragic flaws, character traits that lead to a character’s downfall. Think about how the character’s traits affect her relationships with others. Delineate the various relationships the character has with others in the story. Decide what motives contribute to the character’s behavior.

Assess the character’s role or function in the story, based on the evidence you have gathered so far. The answer to this question is your thesis. Perhaps you could argue that the character serves as a foil, a character that brings into relief the traits or motivations of another character. Your thesis should answer the question “Why?” or “To what effect?” in an attempt to reveal something about the significance of the character, ideological assumptions in the story or the extent to which the character’s worldview influences his behavior.

Formulate your thesis in one sentence. State your observations and then give your reasoning. Tidewater Community College suggests the following character analysis thesis about Sherwood Anderson’s “Death in the Woods:” “Mrs. Jack Grimes is a woman who has been denied any love or tenderness; she exists only to be used.” In this thesis, the writer describes the relationships the character has with others, and then proposes why these relationships are the way they are.

  • Wharton County Junior College: How to Write a Character Analysis
  • Tidewater Community College: Guidelines for Writing a Character Analysis Essay

Nadine Smith has been writing since 2010. She teaches college writing and ESL courses and has several years experience tutoring all ages in English, ESL and literature. Nadine holds a Master of Arts in English language and literature from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, where she led seminars as a teaching assistant.

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Character Analysis Essay Guide: How to Write a Good Character Analysis Essay

Writing in high schools or colleges is one endless activity. And while it may be hectic and frustrating for some, to others, it is a sweet experience because essays provide opportunities for students to show their creativity.

A character analysis essay is one of the most essay types you will probably write, depending on your course. These pieces explain and expound on the characters in plays, cinemas, or other literary forms, but they all follow a similar pattern.

And if you’re looking for a guide to help you write your essay, look no further. I’ll walk you through some simple steps to write a character analysis essay.

Tips on How to Write a Good Character Analysis Essay

Writing a character analysis essay is much more than just describing a character. You must look at how that character’s actions affect the story and what it means for them.

Here are some tips on how to write a good character analysis essay.

Read the entire story

Before you start writing a character analysis, you must read the story from beginning to end. This will help you understand the characters better and give your essay more credibility and structure.

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Further, it helps you get an overall idea of what’s going on in the book or movie so that you know how much information is available about each character before writing your essay.

And even if you have ever read the story, reading it a subsequent time is still encouraged. This is because it helps you focus your mind on the characters, setting, or plot development. Generally, ensure you’re familiar with every detail of a character before beginning your essay.

Identify the character to analyze

An effective character analysis essay goes deep into detailing a specific character. And depending on your essay length, character choice will play a significant role.

If your professor requires a large word count, protagonists or antagonists are the best characters to choose from rather than minor characters. This is because the main characters have more details than the others.

However, you do not have to go for the protagonist. Instead, go for a dynamic character who undergoes several changes because it gives you more meat to write on.

Reread or rewatch the story with perspective on your character

Now that you have a clear idea of your story and what kind of character you’re writing about, it’s time to start thinking about how this character will move through space and time.

Further rereading the story with this character in mind helps you focus on them alone. Some of the questions to ask yourself in this stage include;

  • Description of the character by the author
  • What are the character’s actions?
  • What is the relationship between the character and others?
  • What are the character’s failures and successes?

Take notes identifying the central theme

As you read the story, take notes of important themes. The main theme is the story’s central idea and usually involves a problem or conflict that characters face and often resolves itself by the end of the story.

In addition, the central theme plays throughout all three acts of a play or novel, but they’re usually more apparent in Act 1 than in Acts 2 and 3 because those later acts mainly deal with plot complications and resolutions.

Outline and write the paper

Your paper consists of an introduction, body, and conclusion. The opening is a concise brief of the character in question and leads the reader to gain interest in reading the piece. On the other hand, the body has several sections, but it is a good idea to follow your instructor’s guidelines. At the same time, the conclusion ties everything together and summarizes your entire paper.

How Do You Analyze Characters in an Essay

Generally, analyzing a character entails identifying, determining their role, and understanding their actions. Further, you must explore their relationships with others, identify their traits, and finally identify how they evolve through the book or play.

These are six primary ways of analyzing characters in an essay. Let’s now look at each in detail.

  • Character identification

This is a significant step, and you should classify your character as static or dynamic. Additionally, you should identify if they are primary or secondary characters.

  • Role determination

After identifying the character, you should move to determine their role. If you go for the main character, it means their part is to bring out the theme, while the secondary characters’ role is to support the achievement of the theme.

  • Identify the character’s mentioned roles

Next is to identify the mentioned character roles. Some aspects to help you include why the characters are antagonists or protagonists, their first actions in the story, and how they influence the story.

  • Character’s relationships

This entails how the identified character relates with others and the significance of these relationships in the story.

  • Identify personality traits

Traits of the character emanate from their actions and relationships. They may include bravery, self-centeredness, or generosity.

How to Write a Thesis Statement for a Character Analysis Essay

Writing a thesis statement for a character analysis essay entails four major steps. These are drawing a rough sketch of the characters, their main traits, role, and functions, and summing all these points into one sentence.

The thesis statement is the main idea of your paper, so it is vital to make sure that the thesis statement is specific, direct, and clear. The body paragraphs should support your thesis statement with specific examples. In other words, each body paragraph should provide support for your thesis statement.

For your statement to be effective, it must include all four mentioned parts. The first part describes the character’s appearance, actions, values, beliefs, and tendencies. It then comprises their relationship, role, and functions.

The role and function of the character will form the bulk of your thesis statement. And because the statement answers the why and how question, you should ensure you provide an entirely detailed explanation of the character’s role and functions and how it contributes to the theme and plot.

After having all these parts, it is time to sum them into one sentence.

How to Write the Introduction of a Character Analysis Essay

Writing the introduction of a character analysis essay is probably the most important because it determines if a reader will continue reading the paper or not. As such, following these steps will help you write the best introduction.

  • Start with a quote

Quotes are one of the best ways to start an introduction. However, ensure they are related to the character’s trait. For example, if the character is generous, use a quote about generosity.

  • Background information

Next is presenting the literature information. This is where you identify the character’s name, author, and title.

  • Character introduction

Your introduction should then introduce the character being analyzed. Some of the information included here include their role, whether they are protagonist, antagonist, static, or dynamic.

Further, you should have a few lines giving a general look and description of this character.

  • Have a broad assertion

This part of the introduction is the transition between the character description and the thesis statement. It also entails the central theme of the piece of literature being analyzed.

  • Thesis statement

This is the last part of your introduction. It includes your fundamental assertion and thus should be clear. You can also highlight what you will cover in your body paragraphs.

How to Write the Body Paragraphs of a Character Analysis Essay

The body of a character analysis essay is also a significant part because it gives more details about the character. Each paragraph has a topic sentence and specific examples supporting the sentence. In addition, the topic sentence supports your thesis statement.

Further, the body paragraphs are where you will develop your analysis. Each body paragraph should have a topic sentence and specific examples from the work of literature to support that topic sentence.

If possible, include quotations from the text and paraphrases of what other people have said about the character in question.

As you write this section, some of the must-answer questions include the following;

  • How does the character describe themselves?
  • How do others describe the character?
  • What does your character do, and how do they treat others?
  • What motivates the character to behave in a specific way?
  • What lessons can one learn from the character?
  • Does the character encounter conflicts, and how do they solve them?
  • What are the character’s appearance, background, and other physical features?

How to Write the Conclusion of Character Analysis Essay

This is the last part and involves three major areas; stating a summary of the entire essay, your opinions, and your thoughts and predictions. You can also note how the character is relevant in real-life situations.

Also see: How long should a conclusion be in an essay? 

Also, this is where you will elaborate on those points and explain why they are relevant to your topic. Any quotes from the source material that shows how well you understand the material being studied should also be included in this paragraph.

Further, the conclusion concludes the character’s role in the story, how they changed over time or why they were essential to the plot. You could also expand on other characters and how they relate to your character of choice.

Generally, your conclusion should have the following;

  • Give your opinion on the character as well as their role in the book or movie;
  • Mention what you have learned about this character
  • Tell how your opinion changed after reading/watching the work
  • Indicate what other people may think about this character and give your reasons why they might feel differently than you do
  • The application on day-to-day life

how to write a thesis statement about a character

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay

how to write a thesis statement about a character

A character analysis essay is a challenging type of essay students usually write for literature or English courses. In this article, we will explain the definition of character analysis and how to approach it. We will also touch on how to analyze characters and guide you through writing character analysis essays.

Typically, this kind of writing requires students to describe the character in the story's context. This can be fulfilled by analyzing the relationship between the character in question and other personas. Although, sometimes, giving your personal opinion and analysis of a specific character is also appropriate.

Let's explain the specifics of how to do a character analysis by getting straight to defining what is a character analysis. Our term paper writers will have you covered with a thorough guide!

What Is a Character Analysis Essay?

The character analysis definition explains the in-depth personality traits and analyzes characteristics of a certain hero. Mostly, the characters are from literature, but sometimes other art forms, such as cinematography. In a character analysis essay, your main job is to tell the reader who the character is and what role they play in the story. Therefore, despite your personal opinion and preferences, it is really important to use your critical thinking skills and be objective toward the character you are analyzing. A character analysis essay usually involves the character's relationship with others, their behavior, manner of speaking, how they look, and many other characteristics.

Although it's not a section about your job experience or education on a resume, sometimes it is appropriate to give your personal opinion and analysis of a particular character.

What Is the Purpose of a Character Analysis Essay

More than fulfilling a requirement, this type of essay mainly helps the reader understand the character and their world. One of the essential purposes of a character analysis essay is to look at the anatomy of a character in the story and dissect who they are. We must be able to study how the character was shaped and then learn from their life. 

A good example of a character for a character analysis essay is Daisy Buchanan from 'The Great Gatsby.' The essay starts off by explaining who Daisy is and how she relates to the main character, Jay Gatsby. Depending on your audience, you need to decide how much of the plot should be included. If the entire class writes an essay on Daisy Buchanan, it is logical to assume everyone has read the book. Although, if you know for certain that your audience has little to no knowledge of who she is, it is crucial to include as much background information as possible. 

After that, you must explain the character through certain situations involving her and what she said or did. Make sure to explain to the reader why you included certain episodes and how they have showcased the character. Finally, summarize everything by clearly stating the character's purpose and role in the story. 

We also highly recommend reading how to write a hook for an essay .

Still Need Help with Your Character Analysis Essay?

Different types of characters.

To make it clear how a reader learns about a character in the story, you should note that several characters are based on their behaviors, traits, and roles within a story. We have gathered some of them, along with vivid examples from famous literature and cinema pieces:

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay

Types of Characters

  • Major : These are the main characters; they run the story. Regularly, there are only one or two major characters. Major characters are usually of two types: the protagonist – the good guy, and the antagonist: the bad guy or the villain. 
  • Protagonist (s) (heroes): The main character around whom most of the plot revolves. 

For example, Othello from Shakespeare's play, Frodo from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, Harry Potter from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, and Elizabeth Bennet from 'Pride and Prejudice' by Jane Austen.

  • Antagonist (s): This is the person that is in opposition to the protagonist. This is usually the villain, but it could also be a natural power, set of circumstances, majestic being, etc. 

For example, Darth Vader from the Star Wars series by George Lucas, King Joffrey from Game of Thrones, or the Wicked Queen from 'Snow White and Seven Dwarfs.'

  • Minor : These characters help tell the major character's tale by letting them interact and reveal their personalities, situations, and/or stories. They are commonly static (unchanging). The minor characters in The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien would be the whole Fellowship of the ring. In their own way, each member of the Fellowship helps Frodo get the ring to Mordor; without them, the protagonist would not be a protagonist and would not be able to succeed. In the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, minor characters are Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger. They consistently help Harry Potter on his quests against Voldemort, and, like Frodo, he wouldn't have succeeded without them.

On top of being categorized as a protagonist, antagonist, or minor character, a character can also be dynamic, static, or foil.

  • Dynamic (changing): Very often, the main character is dynamic.
An example would also be Harry Potter from the book series by J.K. Rowling. Throughout the series, we see Harry Potter noticing his likeness to Voldemort. Nevertheless, Harry resists these traits because, unlike Voldemort, he is a good person and resists any desire to become a dark wizard.
  • Static (unchanging): Someone who does not change throughout the story is static.
A good example of a static character is Atticus Finch from “How to Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. His character and views do not change throughout the book. He is firm and steady in his beliefs despite controversial circumstances. 
  • Foils : These characters' job is to draw attention to the main character(s) to enhance the protagonist's role.
‍ A great example of a foil charact e r is Dr. Watson from the Sherlock Holmes series by Arthur Conan Doyle.

How to Analyze a Character 

While preparing to analyze your character, make sure to read the story carefully.

  • Pay attention to the situations where the character is involved, their dialogues, and their role in the plot.
  • Make sure you include information about what your character achieves on a big scale and how they influence other characters.
  • Despite the categories above, try thinking outside the box and explore your character from around.
  • Avoid general statements and being too basic. Instead, focus on exploring the complexities and details of your character(s).

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay?

To learn how to write a character analysis essay and gather a more profound sense of truly understanding these characters, one must completely immerse themself in the story or literary piece.

  • Take note of the setting, climax, and other important academic parts.
  • You must be able to feel and see through the characters. Observe how analysis essay writer shaped these characters into life.
  • Notice how little or how vast the character identities were described.
  • Look at the characters' morals and behaviors and how they have affected situations and other characters throughout the story.
  • Finally, observe the characters whom you find interesting. 

Meanwhile, if you need help writing a paper, leave us a message ' write my paper .'

How Do You Start a Character Analysis Essay

When writing a character analysis essay, first, you have to choose a character you'd like to write about. Sometimes a character will be readily assigned to you. It's wise to consider characters who play a dynamic role in the story. This will captivate the reader as there will be much information about these personas.

Read the Story

You might think that if you already have read the book, there is no need to do so again; however, now that you know the character you would like to focus on, reading it again will have plenty of benefits. It will give you an opportunity to be more precise while reading the scenes that relate directly to your character and are important for his/her analysis. While reading the book, pay attention to every tiny detail to make sure you grasp the whole array of your character's traits. 

Consider the following things:

  • What specific descriptions does the author provide for each character?

For example, when J.K. Rowling describes Harry Potter for the first time, she describes his clothes as old and oversized, his hair untidy, and his glasses as broken. It might seem just like a simple description, but she expresses compassion and pity for an orphan neglected by his only relatives. 

  • What kinds of relationships does your character have with others?

Think about how Harry builds up his friendships with others. First, he and Ron do not like Hermione because she acts like a know-it-all, but when she gets stuck in the dungeons with a horrendous troll, he rushes to save her regardless. 

  • How do the actions of the character move the plot forward?

In 'The Philosopher's Stone,' Harry is very observant of any events taking place at school. He analyzes people's actions, which builds up the plot around the stone and its importance for the magical world.

Get help with your character analysis from our experts.

Choose a Dynamic Character

Choosing a dynamic character is a great idea. This does not necessarily have to be the protagonist, but a character that undergoes many changes has grown throughout the story and is not boring and/or static. This gives you a perfect advantage to fully show the character and make your paper entertaining and engaging for the reader. If you choose a character that is not very dynamic, your essay might seem monotonous because your character will not end up doing much and will not be very involved in the story.

While you are reading, it is useful to take notes or highlight/underline any of the critical elements of the story. This will add depth to your character description(s). By providing vivid and specific examples, you connect your reader to the character, and the character comes alive in their eyes. Review your notes and formulate the main idea about your character when you're finished reading with your character in mind.

Make an initial draft while taking note of the character analysis essay outline provided by your instructor. You may follow the recommended character analysis essay format if you have not been provided with a sample.

Choose a Main Idea

While reading the story, make sure you keep track of your notes. It is a good idea to look at them, choose the ones that are the most representative of your character and find patterns. This will be your thesis. Then, you must support this idea with examples and situations involving your character. 

If your character were Jem Finch from 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee, the main idea would be how his personal character is shaped through racial conflicts, social inequalities, and internal struggles between public opinion, his own views, and what is actually right. Essaypro offers you history essay help. Leave us a notice if you need to proofread, edit, or write your essay.

Character Analysis Questions

Now that you have jotted down some main concepts about your character, here is a list of questions that can help you fill in the blanks you might still have:

character analysis quesions

  • Where do the events involving your character take place?
  • What are the relationships between your character and other significant characters?
  • What is the primary change your character has gone through throughout the story?
  • What is your character's background?
  • What is your character's occupation?
  • What kind of emotions does your character go through?
  • What are your character's values?
  • What is your character's value?
  • Does your character have friends?
  • Is there a lesson your character has learned by the end of the story?
  • Does the character achieve the goals he/she has set for himself/herself?

Make a Character Analysis Essay Outline

When you're unsure how to write a character synopsis, remember that creating a literary analysis outline is one of the most critical steps. A well-constructed character analysis outline will keep your thoughts and ideas organized.

Character Analysis Essay Introduction:

Make the introduction to your paper brief and meaningful. It should hold together your entire essay and spark your audience's interest. Write a short description of the character in question. Don't forget to include a character analysis thesis statement which should make a case for the character's relevance within the narrative context.

Character Analysis Essay Body:

Subdivide your body paragraphs into different ideas or areas regarding the character. Look at your professor's rubric and ensure you'll be able to tackle all the requirements. You should also be provided with questions to be answered to formulate your analysis better. The body should answer the following questions:

  • What is the character's physical appearance, personality, and background?
  • What are the conflicts the character experiences, and how did he/she overcome them?
  • What can we learn from this character?
  • What is the meaning behind the character's actions? What motivates him/her?
  • What does the character do? How does he/she treat others? Is he/she fair or unjust?
  • What does the character say? What is his/her choice of words? Does he/she have a rich vocabulary?
  • How does the character describe themself? How do others describe him/her?
  • What words do you associate with the character? Perhaps a word like 'hope,' 'bravery,' or maybe even 'freedom'?

Character Analysis Essay Conclusion:

It's time to master the secrets of how to write character analysis essay conclusions. Your ending should also hold your ideas together and shape a final analysis statement. Mention things about the character's conflicts that we could experience in real life. Additionally, you can write about how a character should've reacted to a certain situation.

Character Analysis Essay Example

Read our blogs ‘Character Analysis of Jem Finch', 'The Great Gatsby Book Through Daisy Buchanan Character,' 'Analysis of Characters in Beowulf,' or simply use these character analysis essay examples to reference your paper. You might also be interested in a synthesis essay example .

Now that you know what is character analysis, it might be time to choose a character to write about. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to type ' do my homework for me ,' you should contact our writers. You also get a free plagiarism report, formatting, and citing when  buying an essay from us!

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How To Write A Character Analysis Essay?

How to start a character analysis essay, how to write an introduction for a character analysis essay, related articles.

How to Write a Summary of a Book with an Example


Step-by-Step Guide for Writing a Character Analysis Essay

writing a character analysis essay

When assigned to write a character analysis essay or paper, you are expected to examine the actions, traits, behavior, and personalities of the antagonists and protagonists in a story, poem, song, film, or novel. You have to include a discussion of the characters' experiences, conflicts, roles, traits, and appearances. It is a full essay with introduction, body, and conclusion paragraphs.

Like a typical essay, when writing an essay that entails analyzing a character, you have to have a catchy sentence to grab the readers' attention at the very first paragraph-the introduction. You should also have an excellent thesis statement to announce what it is about.

If you want to know how to ace that character analysis essay or are unsure what to do next, you are in the right place.

Whether it is a character from a Movie or famous books such as Macbeth , A Rose for Emily , To Kill a Mockingbird , The Yellow Wallpaper, Romeo and Juliet, Alice in Wonderland, Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby, Lord of the Flies, or any other story, you came to the right place.

This ultimate guide has everything to point you in the right direction. But before anything else, let�s first focus on the basics.

What is a Character Analysis Essay?

A character analysis essay is a piece of academic assignment where you critically analyze the traits, motivations, behaviors, and encounters of a specific character or characters from a TV show, book, play, novel, short story, poem, film, or in real-life scenarios. It is also known as a character analysis paper, character essay, characterization essay, or essay about characters.

The key focus of a character analysis essay is to narrow down to a specific character and provide their sketch so that someone who has read or has not read the story can get the role the character plays.

When writing this essay, your focus is on examining the actions and personalities (characteristics and traits) of the antagonists and protagonists in a story. It encompasses a description of the roles, traits, experiences, and conflicts of the specific characters, independently or relative to others.

Instead of offering light definitions and descriptions of a character, a character analysis entails synthesizing the driving force and personality of the character in question. You critically look at how these two influence the entire story, poem, song, or play.

A character essay is a common literary writing assignment for college students pursuing English and Literature. The true success of doing a character analysis comes when you view the characters as though they are real people who act, feel, and live as we do.

Therefore, there is no room for baseless interpretations and assumptions. You need to support every idea, concept, or observation with a proper quotation, summary, or paraphrased facts from the text or other credible scholarly sources . Again, since it is not your story, you must avoid writing in the first person , despite your personal preferences and opinions � being objective when writing a characterization essay is paramount.

Purpose of Character Analysis Essay

A character analysis aims to reveal some of the most interesting details about a character that can be applied to real-life situations.

Writing a character analysis essay allows you to see through a character from the lens of the author as it entails narrowing down the character�s traits, encounters, beliefs, and behavior. 

You also get the chance to provide a sketch of the character, which can further help expound on the moral message the author is trying to pass to the audience that cares to interact with their piece of work.

A character analysis allows you to understand, contextualize, and evaluate the story from a broader perspective to determine the purpose of the story. In some stories, characters have symbolic meanings that are authors� ways of using literary devices to unmask different aspects of society. Some characters cause conflicts (i.e., the antagonists), while others play the role of progressing the story (i.e., the protagonist).

When your instructor or professor assigns you to write a characterization essay, they test whether you paid attention while reading, watching, or listening to a piece of work. It is also a strategy to assess your critical thinking depending on how best you write about the characters and the text's overall meaning.

Different Types of Characters to Consider when Writing

As you probably have learned in your literature or English class, there are several types of characters categorized based on factors such as roles, behavior, and traits in the story. Below, we explore some of these character types

1. Major characters

Major characters are the main characters that run the show or story. In most cases, you will find either one or a maximum of two major characters. A major character can either be a protagonist, otherwise known as the good guy, or an antagonist, who is the villain or bad person in the work of art or literature.

2. Protagonist characters

The protagonists are also known as the heroes, the main characters around whom the story's plot revolves.

3. Antagonist characters

The antagonists oppose the protagonist, also known as the villain. In some cases, antagonists� characters could be natural power, supernatural phenomena, or majestic beings.

4. Minor characters

The minor characters are those who help bring out the traits and personalities of the main characters. They are static and unchanging characters who maintain their stance, traits, and beliefs.

5. Dynamic/changing characters

Dynamic characters are the opposite of static characters, and they keep changing.

6. Static Characters

The static or unchanging characters are consistent in thought, behavior, allegiance, approach, and traits throughout a story, cinematography, or play. In How to Kill a Mockingbird , Atticus Finch fits the description of a static character, given he maintains his beliefs even in the most challenging situations. If you have read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, you would agree that Jim is a static character, given that his personality remains the same throughout his journey. In Hamlet, Polpnius can be described as a static character because he remains sneaky throughout the story.

A foil character brings out the protagonist's qualities because they are the exact opposite of the protagonist's character. Foils are usually the opposite of the protagonist. For example, Draco Malfoy is a foil character in Harry Porter, and another example is Dr. Watson from the Sherlock Holmes Series.

7 Steps when writing a Character Analysis Essay

Character analysis essays follow the format and structure of a standard academic essay and have an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Before writing a character essay, you need to read the assignment promptly to understand the scope of the essay. It also helps with choosing a character or knowing what to focus on and what to leave out.

Here are some steps to follow if you want to write a successful essay on a character.

1. Read the story or novel

Assuming you have gone through the character analysis essay prompt, you have to read the story, watch the film, play, theater performance, or listen to a narration. Reading with a general mindset enables you to contextualize the piece of work. You will be able to identify the author's thesis and how they use different characters to advance the themes that support the thesis. A general perspective of the story, novel, film, or poem helps you easily identify the characters. As you read, take notes on the different characters in the story, which will help you in the second step.

2. Identify the character of interest

After you have familiarized yourself with the story, song, or film, the next step is to select your specific character of focus.

 In some cases, your instructor will likely assign a character of focus for your character analysis assignment. However, some professors will leave you the freedom to choose a character.

If this is the case, ensure that you consider a character that plays a dynamic role for you in writing a vivid character analysis paper. For example, if you are writing a character analysis essay based on Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, you can choose a character like Jim or Huck, who are both dynamic characters in the story.

To select a good character, refer to the notes you were taking as you initially read through the story or watched the film or play.

3. Re-read and Take notes

Even if you have already read the story or watched the performance, play, or film, you need to do it all over again, only that this time you will be taking notes based on your character.

With the instructions in mind, you can limit your scope, identify points quickly, and cover useful aspects when writing your analysis.

Focus on the description of your character, how the character relates to other characters, the conflicts the character faces, the struggles, wins, and failures of your character, and how the character advances through the story, film, or performance.

Taking notes while watching or reading helps you to identify rich pieces that will build up your paper. You can underline important passages or annotate important quotes.

4. Choose your thesis statement

At this stage, you are fully knowledgeable about your character and their role in your story or film. You should gather your notes and think of the main idea that links them, and the main idea that ties together these aspects is your thesis statement.

The thesis statement can be a sentence or two that tells the reader what your essay or paper is about, and it should promise the reader the purpose, scope, and direction of your paper.

An example of a good thesis statement for a character analysis is � Through Miss Maudie Atkinson�s open-mindedness, optimism, and compassion, she helps Jem and Scout better understand Atticus and their community.�

When writing your thesis, consider your character's motivations, actions, behavior, changes, and roles in the storyline. Your thesis can be aligned to a theme that your character advances.

5. Draft your essay outline

With the thesis at hand, you can now create an outline for your character analysis essay or paper. The outline will map out every section of your paper, which can help you determine your essay's flow, organization, and formatting.

Other people prefer writing an essay plan before creating an outline. We have given a template for an essay plan in this article in case it would help to simplify the pre-writing process.

The outline helps you organize your thoughts and maintain an effective flow of ideas as you write the analysis. And when writing it:

  • Have an attention-grabber as your opening statement in the character analysis essay
  • Ensure that your topic is clearly reflected in the essay title and thesis statement
  • Come up with comprehensive topic sentences
  • Organize the ideas in your essay
  • Maintain one idea per paragraph
  • Every idea in your essay must support your thesis statement

You are ready to put rubber on the road with such a solid outline. You can now comfortably write the essay. We recommend taking some break to cool your mind before beginning to write.

6.  Write the essay

The writing stage should be enjoyable if you worked hard on the pre-writing phase. As you settle down to write your character analysis essay, follow your essay outline.

Write the introduction

Have the thesis in mind and begin by writing an attention-grabbing introduction. Strategically place your essay hook, such as a rhetorical question, quote, or fact, and the introduction should enthuse the reader to read your essay beyond the first paragraph.

The introduction should also give a background of your character and their role in the story. And to intrigue your readers, even more, write a thesis statement that describes what they should expect in your character analysis paper.

If allowed, you can give an outline where you signpost the rest of your paper in the introduction so that your readers are not ambushed with ideas. 

Develop the body paragraphs

The body paragraph is where the real action takes place. It is where you answer the prompt, enabling your reader to find a link between your arguments and the thesis. Here, try to connect your character to the themes in the story, film, or performance. When writing the body, focus on these elements:

  • Physical Appearance of your character. Describe how your chosen character looks and relate it to their traits, behavior, and personality. For instance, if a character appears formally dressed, it could mean that they are respectful, organized, and composed. If they appear rough and ragged, like Huck, you could conclude they are troublesome.
  • Background of the character. Present the background of the character, including their history. History connects to character, personality, and personal development. Let your readers know how your character was raised, in what environment, and how these factors influence who they are.
  • Their Personality. Explore the values, beliefs, behavior, and character traits of your character. As you explain their personality, use quotes from the story, play, or film. Some personalities include composed, mindful, articulate, ambitious, assertive, vengeful, forgiving, annoying, troublesome, etc.
  • Their language. Let your readers know how your character speaks. Are they vulgar, or are they mindful of their words? Do they use formal language or slang? Also, the report of your character has an accent. Language can come in handy when connecting your character to a given culture.
  • Relationship with others. Explore how your character relates to others. The interactions make it possible to frame the character of an individual. Examine how these relationships are important in the context of your analysis.
  • Growth and transition. As you write the analysis, look at how your character develops, grows, or transitions through the story, film, or play. Examine your character's life and document how they progress as the story unfolds.

Finalize with a vivid conclusion

When all is done in the body of your character analysis, ensure that you wrap up your essay using a remarkable concluding paragraph . Here, you should restate your thesis using totally different words. You should then summarize your arguments from the body paragraphs related to the thesis. Summarize the role and personality of the character in the story. Finally, write a concluding statement that makes your analysis memorable or gets your readers thinking. The final statement could be the moral message from your character.

7. Proofread and edit the essay

When writing the first draft, we always insist on writing in raw form without bothering about other things such as grammar, spelling, or syntax. Writing is meant to achieve some flow and explore your creativity.

You need to take a break after writing to ensure that you develop an objective mindset. It could be hours or days, depending on your deadline.

Proofread your essay and edit it for grammar, spelling, and organization. Only submit an error-free paper. You can use editing software or Apps such as Ginger, Pro Writing Aid, or Hemingway editor. Besides, pass your essay through plagiarism checkers such as PlagScan to ensure that you submit a plagiarism-free character analysis essay.

Detailed Structure/Outline for Character Analysis Essay

Like a typical essay, having a character analysis essay outline or map helps you visualize the end and write a paper that comprehensively answers the assignment prompt questions. With a good outline, you have a map that will guide your writing process.

Paragraph #1: Introduction

Introduction � general comments about the character and/or novel lead you to your thesis statement (described above). Be sure you have identified the author and title of the book and the character you will be analyzing. Some questions you could address in your introduction include:

  • Why did you pick this character?
  • What do you like and/or dislike about this character?
  • Do you identify with this character on any level? Do you know someone similar to them? Explain.

Paragraphs #2 - #4 (Body Paragraphs)

Three Body Paragraphs � the topic sentence for each body paragraph includes one character trait you chose to describe your character. For example, �Atticus Finch is a man of great integrity.� Follow the topic sentence with evidence from the novel: examples from the story that support your topic sentence and at least one direct quotation from the novel in each body paragraph. Next, explain how your examples support your topic sentence and conclude each body paragraph with a summarizing �clincher� sentence to wrap up your ideas.

Paragraph #5

Conclusion � restate your thesis statement and add some final thoughts about your character and/or the novel�leave the reader in awe of your wisdom!

Character Analysis Essay Plan

If you want something that can help you outline the contents of your essay, here is a format you could use. This plan can come in handy when you are writing a last-minute essay or do not have too much time to waste writing a full outline.

Great Starter������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������

Thesis Statement����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������.

Body Paragraph #1

Adjective #1���������������������������������������������������.




Body Paragraph #2

Adjective #2���������������������������������������������������

Body Paragraph #3

Adjective #3���������������������������������������������������


Great Finisher/conclusion�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������............

How to format Quotations in a Character Analysis Essay

A character analysis essay draws from the ideas and quotes from the story, play, or film. It is the best way to relate your character to your story, which helps contextualize your analysis. There are three approaches to formatting and framing quotes in a character analysis essay.

  • Create an intro to your quotation that helps the reader understand its meaning. This is called a �tag line.�

Example : A change in Jem�s attitude toward the Radleys is shown when Scout reports, �Less than two weeks later we found a whole package of chewing gum, which we enjoyed, the fact that everything on the Radley Place was poison having slipped Jem�s memory� (Lee, 60).

  • Double quotation marks around the entire quote; single quotation marks to show where the quotations exist already in the text.

Example: Jem�s frustration with the injustices of the world is shown in the courtroom. ?Doesn�t make it right,� said Jem stolidly. He beat his fist softly on his knee. �You just can�t convict a man on evidence like that � you can�t� (Lee, 220).

  • Changing a word or two in a quotation to clarify its meaning.

Example: Harper Lee helps her readers understand why this neighbor is so mysterious to the children of the neighborhood when she states that �Mr. Radley kept [Boo] chained to the bed most of the time� (Lee, 16).

Final Words!

Writing a character analysis essay can be easy and tough at the same time. It is tough because you must read, research, and synthesize information on a specific character and relate it to the story. This might sound like too much work but not when you apply the tips we have shared above. It is also easy in that you have to focus on one character for every essay you are writing, which means limited research compared to when writing a book critique where you have to address aspects of the entire book or a movie review where you have to focus on all characters. To succeed, ensure that you read a text or watch a play or film before planning and organizing your ideas. Besides, with so many resources online, you can never miss information that helps you to write the best character essay.

If writing is not your thing, you do not have the time, or you don�t feel like writing a character essay, you can hire our custom writing professionals to help you. They contributed to this guide and understood what it takes to write a perfect essay that meets the highest grades in the rubric.

how to write a thesis statement about a character

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The Writing Center • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Thesis Statements

What this handout is about.

This handout describes what a thesis statement is, how thesis statements work in your writing, and how you can craft or refine one for your draft.


Writing in college often takes the form of persuasion—convincing others that you have an interesting, logical point of view on the subject you are studying. Persuasion is a skill you practice regularly in your daily life. You persuade your roommate to clean up, your parents to let you borrow the car, your friend to vote for your favorite candidate or policy. In college, course assignments often ask you to make a persuasive case in writing. You are asked to convince your reader of your point of view. This form of persuasion, often called academic argument, follows a predictable pattern in writing. After a brief introduction of your topic, you state your point of view on the topic directly and often in one sentence. This sentence is the thesis statement, and it serves as a summary of the argument you’ll make in the rest of your paper.

What is a thesis statement?

A thesis statement:

  • tells the reader how you will interpret the significance of the subject matter under discussion.
  • is a road map for the paper; in other words, it tells the reader what to expect from the rest of the paper.
  • directly answers the question asked of you. A thesis is an interpretation of a question or subject, not the subject itself. The subject, or topic, of an essay might be World War II or Moby Dick; a thesis must then offer a way to understand the war or the novel.
  • makes a claim that others might dispute.
  • is usually a single sentence near the beginning of your paper (most often, at the end of the first paragraph) that presents your argument to the reader. The rest of the paper, the body of the essay, gathers and organizes evidence that will persuade the reader of the logic of your interpretation.

If your assignment asks you to take a position or develop a claim about a subject, you may need to convey that position or claim in a thesis statement near the beginning of your draft. The assignment may not explicitly state that you need a thesis statement because your instructor may assume you will include one. When in doubt, ask your instructor if the assignment requires a thesis statement. When an assignment asks you to analyze, to interpret, to compare and contrast, to demonstrate cause and effect, or to take a stand on an issue, it is likely that you are being asked to develop a thesis and to support it persuasively. (Check out our handout on understanding assignments for more information.)

How do I create a thesis?

A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process. Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have to collect and organize evidence, look for possible relationships between known facts (such as surprising contrasts or similarities), and think about the significance of these relationships. Once you do this thinking, you will probably have a “working thesis” that presents a basic or main idea and an argument that you think you can support with evidence. Both the argument and your thesis are likely to need adjustment along the way.

Writers use all kinds of techniques to stimulate their thinking and to help them clarify relationships or comprehend the broader significance of a topic and arrive at a thesis statement. For more ideas on how to get started, see our handout on brainstorming .

How do I know if my thesis is strong?

If there’s time, run it by your instructor or make an appointment at the Writing Center to get some feedback. Even if you do not have time to get advice elsewhere, you can do some thesis evaluation of your own. When reviewing your first draft and its working thesis, ask yourself the following :

  • Do I answer the question? Re-reading the question prompt after constructing a working thesis can help you fix an argument that misses the focus of the question. If the prompt isn’t phrased as a question, try to rephrase it. For example, “Discuss the effect of X on Y” can be rephrased as “What is the effect of X on Y?”
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? If your thesis simply states facts that no one would, or even could, disagree with, it’s possible that you are simply providing a summary, rather than making an argument.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? Thesis statements that are too vague often do not have a strong argument. If your thesis contains words like “good” or “successful,” see if you could be more specific: why is something “good”; what specifically makes something “successful”?
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? If a reader’s first response is likely to  be “So what?” then you need to clarify, to forge a relationship, or to connect to a larger issue.
  • Does my essay support my thesis specifically and without wandering? If your thesis and the body of your essay do not seem to go together, one of them has to change. It’s okay to change your working thesis to reflect things you have figured out in the course of writing your paper. Remember, always reassess and revise your writing as necessary.
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? If a reader’s first response is “how?” or “why?” your thesis may be too open-ended and lack guidance for the reader. See what you can add to give the reader a better take on your position right from the beginning.

Suppose you are taking a course on contemporary communication, and the instructor hands out the following essay assignment: “Discuss the impact of social media on public awareness.” Looking back at your notes, you might start with this working thesis:

Social media impacts public awareness in both positive and negative ways.

You can use the questions above to help you revise this general statement into a stronger thesis.

  • Do I answer the question? You can analyze this if you rephrase “discuss the impact” as “what is the impact?” This way, you can see that you’ve answered the question only very generally with the vague “positive and negative ways.”
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Not likely. Only people who maintain that social media has a solely positive or solely negative impact could disagree.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? No. What are the positive effects? What are the negative effects?
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? No. Why are they positive? How are they positive? What are their causes? Why are they negative? How are they negative? What are their causes?
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? No. Why should anyone care about the positive and/or negative impact of social media?

After thinking about your answers to these questions, you decide to focus on the one impact you feel strongly about and have strong evidence for:

Because not every voice on social media is reliable, people have become much more critical consumers of information, and thus, more informed voters.

This version is a much stronger thesis! It answers the question, takes a specific position that others can challenge, and it gives a sense of why it matters.

Let’s try another. Suppose your literature professor hands out the following assignment in a class on the American novel: Write an analysis of some aspect of Mark Twain’s novel Huckleberry Finn. “This will be easy,” you think. “I loved Huckleberry Finn!” You grab a pad of paper and write:

Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is a great American novel.

You begin to analyze your thesis:

  • Do I answer the question? No. The prompt asks you to analyze some aspect of the novel. Your working thesis is a statement of general appreciation for the entire novel.

Think about aspects of the novel that are important to its structure or meaning—for example, the role of storytelling, the contrasting scenes between the shore and the river, or the relationships between adults and children. Now you write:

In Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain develops a contrast between life on the river and life on the shore.
  • Do I answer the question? Yes!
  • Have I taken a position that others might challenge or oppose? Not really. This contrast is well-known and accepted.
  • Is my thesis statement specific enough? It’s getting there–you have highlighted an important aspect of the novel for investigation. However, it’s still not clear what your analysis will reveal.
  • Does my thesis pass the “how and why?” test? Not yet. Compare scenes from the book and see what you discover. Free write, make lists, jot down Huck’s actions and reactions and anything else that seems interesting.
  • Does my thesis pass the “So what?” test? What’s the point of this contrast? What does it signify?”

After examining the evidence and considering your own insights, you write:

Through its contrasting river and shore scenes, Twain’s Huckleberry Finn suggests that to find the true expression of American democratic ideals, one must leave “civilized” society and go back to nature.

This final thesis statement presents an interpretation of a literary work based on an analysis of its content. Of course, for the essay itself to be successful, you must now present evidence from the novel that will convince the reader of your interpretation.

Works consulted

We consulted these works while writing this handout. This is not a comprehensive list of resources on the handout’s topic, and we encourage you to do your own research to find additional publications. Please do not use this list as a model for the format of your own reference list, as it may not match the citation style you are using. For guidance on formatting citations, please see the UNC Libraries citation tutorial . We revise these tips periodically and welcome feedback.

Anson, Chris M., and Robert A. Schwegler. 2010. The Longman Handbook for Writers and Readers , 6th ed. New York: Longman.

Lunsford, Andrea A. 2015. The St. Martin’s Handbook , 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St Martin’s.

Ramage, John D., John C. Bean, and June Johnson. 2018. The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing , 8th ed. New York: Pearson.

Ruszkiewicz, John J., Christy Friend, Daniel Seward, and Maxine Hairston. 2010. The Scott, Foresman Handbook for Writers , 9th ed. Boston: Pearson Education.

You may reproduce it for non-commercial use if you use the entire handout and attribute the source: The Writing Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Writing a Character Analysis

After you've gathered many pieces of evidence and written a working thesis statement about your character, you are ready to create the first draft of your analysis. Start by writing a compelling lead sentence and using it to introduce a beginning paragraph. Or you can develop the middle paragraphs first and return to write the beginning and ending. If you need inspiration along the way, look at the end of this lesson to find another student's character analysis based on Wilson from The Great Gatsby .

Writing the Beginning Paragraph

Start your essay with a lead that gets readers' attention and orients them to the piece of literature you will analyze. After your lead sentence, you will develop a paragraph that ends with your thesis statement.

Write a lead sentence.

Try out at least two of these strategies for introducing the topic of your analysis. Read the examples for ideas. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template .

Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton unflinchingly portrays the deep societal divisions in 1948 South Africa, divisions that would lead to apartheid.

Why do most people consider The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald to be the quintessential "Great American Novel?"

“Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald

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How to Write a Character Analysis Essay: Step-by-Step Guide


Table of contents

  • 1 What Is a Character Analysis Essay?
  • 2.1 Protagonist
  • 2.2 Antagonist
  • 2.5 Dynamic
  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.3 Summary
  • 4.1 Read up on the story
  • 4.2 Decide on what character to choose
  • 4.3 Outline your essay
  • 4.4 Define the main idea
  • 4.5 Make notes while reading
  • 4.6 Compose a list of questions
  • 5 Character Analysis Essay Example

Writing can be as interesting as communicating. You can provide your thoughts and in-depth analysis of a character you like. That’s why you can come across various writing assignments in high school or college, including an  analysis essay . Preparing such a work enables you to reveal your creativity and develop your ability to analyze and systemize information.

Like any other  essay types , a character analysis paper sticks to a particular structure and has a certain purpose. It also discloses a range of specific points you should take into account when putting words on paper. So, if you need help starting to write, you landed in the right place. Here, we uncover all you need to know on how to write a good character analysis article.

What Is a Character Analysis Essay?

A character analysis essay is worthy of putting effort into writing. This assignment involves a versatile description of a central character from a book, novel, or whatever storytelling. In such an essay, you must open the main personality traits you choose to write about.

Writing about a character, you should describe their inner world as well as their behavior, actions, and lifestyle. This is detailed work about a person you should study well. To be able to explain their particular behavioral line in the context of a story, you must turn on your imagination and thorough examination.

With this in mind, it is easy to understand the purpose of a character analysis essay. It involves evaluating a character’s pack of traits reflected in the context of the primary source. You might choose whether to disclose the positive or negative side of a character. This depends on the topics and the approach used for composing an analysis paper.

Also, it is possible to call this type of writing a process analysis essay because you are to disclose the character’s emotions along with how actions occur and change during the plot.

Common Types of Characters in Your Essay

When encountering characters’ analysis and defining an objective of your essay, you must know what types of characters exist. This might help you direct your analysis into the correct flow.


The protagonist is the story’s central figure on which the main focus is fixed. Not only one character can be a hero. You can find several of them through the narrative, expressing their experience and engaging scenes.

This character represents an opposite role to a protagonist in the context, bringing some worse experiences to the story. They always create an obstacle for a protagonist to reach a goal.

A major person in a story plays an important role, yet not the central one. These can be characters who are close in relationship with the main hero and accompany them throughout the book.

Minor characters, accordingly, play a minor role in the story. They can show up occasionally in a plot for a while and then disappear.

A dynamic character shows growth and brings some modifications throughout the story. Typically, a protagonist is dynamic, accepting challenges and learning to become better and stronger.

An opposite message to dynamic persons brings a static character. They don’t reflect any story changes and remain with the same traits and behaviors. Minor persons are usually static.

This type of character is specific as they draw a reader’s attention to crucial persons in a story. Their mission is to strengthen a protagonist’s role.

Understanding the role of your character is crucial. You will know how to explain particular actions and scene changes. If you still find it challenging to start writing a character analysis essay, contact our PapersOwl writing service and let professional writers bring you an excellent piece of copy.

Character Analysis Essay Format

In addition to the context you must provide, an essay should look elegant and meaningfully ordered. For this purpose, you should adhere to a particular character analysis paper format. Here is a sample of what compositional elements your work should include.


As you deal with a literary composition in different volumes, you should provide a background of what a story is about. Also, you need to mention the author and the title of a book or novel you will describe characters from.

Furthermore, if you put on a character analysis thesis statement, it will be a brilliant idea to make your introductory part more enticing. So think about how to compose a meaningful statement in one or two phrases.

This main component in an essay’s format is the biggest one. You must write all you want to reveal about your characters at this stage. But keep in mind to order your train of thought and present it in a comprehensive way.

An overall description of your personality, specific traits, and influencing factors should be carefully covered in your body section. To confirm some unique characteristics or actions, you must cite a dialogue inside essays as an original reference. Information can be voluminous, so make sure you separate it into several meaningful paragraphs.

Concluding your main points about your protagonist is the final stage of your writing. Highlight the experience your character has gone through in the story.

Whatever question you have about character analysis writing, you can always address our helpful platform. We will help you do your essays in the best way to improve your academic performance.


How to Write a Character Analysis Essay?

There needs to be more than just knowing how to arrange your essay. So, we’ve outlined some helpful steps you should take before getting started.

Read up on the story

If you want to demonstrate good knowledge of the characters and all episodes they were in, you should read the entire story more than once. Thus, you will be able to note some crucial details and cite them. Rereading a story will enhance your knowledge about each scene.

Decide on what character to choose

Your choice might depend on your preferences and the type of narrative you read. Think of whose personality you can easily reveal and build rich judgment around them. It’s up to you to write about a protagonist, major or static characters.

Outline your essay

This is one of the most important strategies in writing. You should create an outline of what you are going to uncover in your article. It is a good idea to draft a structure for your composition and note down the insights in each structural element. This will help you follow the presentation of the material and, at the same time, remind you of the next step.

Define the main idea

Once you select a character you want to analyze in your character analysis essay, you decide what part of a personality you will focus on.

Make notes while reading

To create a comprehensive picture of a character, you should know as much as possible about their traits and behavior. Your outline helps you follow the structure while referring to quotes and dialogues, allowing you to confirm specific situations that best show personalities.

Compose a list of questions

To make your character analysis less challenging, we recommend you make a list of lead-in questions. You can even create those questions for each structural part of your composition. This enables you to be precise in providing relevant information about a character.

In addition to general steps on how to write a character analysis essay, we’ve prepared a range of insightful tips. By following them, we believe you will bring up solid work. Here they are:

  • Provide a catchy hook in the introductory part;
  • Keep short and simple sentences;
  • Split into paragraphs each idea you want to mention about a character;
  • Use examples right from the primary source;
  • Be concise and clear when estimating your characters.

One of the literary analysis papers is writing a poetry essay and describing a character analysis in poetry. Writing such an essay can be more challenging as students need help understanding this style. No worries. There is always a way out, and you can buy essays online from the best writers as an option.

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Character Analysis Essay Example

Lady Macbeth is one of the most influential female characters in literature. She conveyed an entirely different figure of how a woman doesn’t need to look. Shakespeare created a sick-ambitious character burning to be queen.

Lady Macbeth was pretty rude to her husband. She judged him for not being as brave as she expected from him. We know about his bloody deeds on the battlefields, though. But in public, she acted like a real actress, conveying her best traits to respect her king.

In the scene when she loses consciousness after Duncan’s murder, the audience wonders whether she was playing another role at that very moment. Eventually, she fails each test coming into her life. After the follow-up blaming her husband during the banquet (Act III, Scene 4), the worst turns back into her life. She becomes nervous and unable to control her emotions. We can notice her strange behavior when murmuring in Act V, Scene 1, as she “confesses” her participation in the murder.

Her death became an event that made Macbeth contemplate deeper on the time of nature and mortality in the speech “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” (Act V, Scene 5).

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how to write a thesis statement about a character

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay?

14 August, 2020

14 minutes read

Author:  Kate Smith

A character analysis essay is one of the most complicated academic assignments that students usually write for Literature or English classes. Generally, this kind of essay writing requires you to describe the character in the context of the story. This can be done through the analysis of the relationship between the major and secondary characters or through your personal opinion of a particular character.

Character Analysis

So, there is something you should learn before getting down to work. What is a character analysis and how to approach it? Let’s try to find the answers in the information below.

What is a Character Analysis?

A character analysis is a kind of essay where you examine behaviors, motivations, and actions of characters. Also, a character analysis is an in-depth assignment that makes you think critically about one or more characters and make judgements after analyzing the text. In most cases, it is used for the analysis of literary works. This form of academic writing involves personalities’ descriptions and conflicts with others they experience throughout a story. This analysis aims to provide a critical assessment of characters and build up conclusions based on the storyline. You may analyze a personality through his or her behavioral patterns or internal and external conflicts.

character analysis essay

When you’re asked to write a character analysis, you must look at that story from a different angle. How? This is not your average reading for fun. Your task is to focus on the character synopsis and everything that’s associated with the people involved in the story.

Aim of a Character Analysis

A character analysis aims to evaluate a character’s traits, their functions, and the conflicts they have to deal with throughout the story. During the analysis, you will need to think critically, ask questions, and make conclusions about the character. To make your analysis informative, you will have to go beyond available descriptions that are written by the author. To understand the meaning of every event, phrase, and action, you will have to read between the lines. Don’t be afraid of using some additional resources if you feel like knowing more about the epoch a character lives in. If you want to gain an alternative opinion about a character, do not hesitate to find out your friends’ or internet users’ thoughts. Thus, thorough research may help you develop some creative ideas that will add great value to your future paper.

General Types of Characters

You should have a deep understanding of a character before starting an in-depth analysis. While a good character has many sides, there are some standard features to be considered:

  • Protagonist: Being the main figure in a story, this character has the whole plot based on their life, actions, events, and feelings.
  • Antagonist: Being a villain in a story, this character is positioned as the opposite figure to the major hero. Their basic nature remains negative, which makes them even more interesting than the main character. An antagonist plays a significant role even in short stories.
  • Major: This character dominates the story. While they are not the main one in the story, they are involved in all the events.
  • Minor: This character appears in a story from time to time. Their role may be significant for the plot development, but then they may disappear for some time and pop up again.
  • Dynamic and static characters: The existence of these two opposite characters is determined by their reflection of each other’s specifications. While one character of a story goes through an internal or external transformation, another one may have their basic characteristics unchanged. There is a common idea that an evolving character tends to be more interesting than a static one. However, you can also analyze a static character from the perspective that they are not sympathetic, smart, or deep enough to learn their lessons. Or on the contrary, they remain strong enough and can resist the system without going under it.
  • Stereotypical: If you are familiar with stereotypes, you will know what type of character is meant here. Generally, this particular character serves as the representation of the social, national, as well as demographic background of the story.
  • Foils: The main goal of this hero in the story is to stay in contrast with main characters and a protagonist in order to highlight the features of the main character.
  • Multi-dimensional characters: This group of characters involves an unlimited number of personalities. They are one-dimensional characters in the story who usually are not particularly interesting for the reader or viewer and do not play a crucial role in the storyline.

How Do You Start a Character Analysis Essay?

Before you start writing, you may wonder how to do a character analysis. Of course, you need to select a character to describe. In some cases, your professor will give you a character to talk about. By reading a story several times, you may notice the tiniest details. Ideally, you can use a highlighter or marker to mark each spot where your character is mentioned. Here are some more details of how to start with a character analysis:

  • Take notes while reading. Take notes by highlighting every significant element of the story.
  • Introduce your character. Introduce your character by providing their detailed description.
  • Describe your character. Provide a smooth transition from the general description of your character to the point of convergence of the story.
  • Build up a thesis statement. Finish the presentation with your paper’s proposal.

Main Points of a Character Analysis

When you need to analyze one character, you can make it from the perspective of several types at once. The character’s ability to change can create an additional source of analysis. At the same time, the complex and changing personality will be more interesting for the detailed analysis. To make it easier to work with such characters, you should focus on their characteristics, namely their importance for a story, actions, events, and so on. In most cases, you have to cover three major points:


Reveal the main features of a character to provide the reader with a portrait. By adding some facts and descriptions of actions, you will enable a deeper understanding of the analyzed hero. There is no need to use some words with broad meanings like “bad,” “nice,” “honest,” etc.

Role in a story

Describe the importance of the particular character in the context of the general story. Also, you should pay attention to their actions and their ability to move the events forward.

Character development

Analyze the changes the character has gone through and what features they have now. You should focus on the progress of a person, even if it is regressive.

Character Analysis Outline

In the character analysis essay outline, you should describe two or maybe even three specific character categories. Your mission is to describe the personality of the character, their function in the story, and the value they have.

  • Describe the personality of the character. The reader gets familiar with the characters of the story through the words the characters use, the emotions they express, and the actions they take. It is quite easy to build up an opinion about the personality of a character through the prism of their outward behaviors. Eventually, you will understand that the character fits into one of the character categories mentioned above.
  • Explore the character’s role . While writing a character analysis, it is important to describe the role of that character in detail. Apart from expressing unique character traits, the character will also perform a specific function in the story. Whether it will be the major or minor role, the analysis should address all the aspects of the performed role.
  • Outline the growth and development of the character . In order to write a professional analysis, you will explain how the character matures and transforms as the plot progresses.

The majority of characters will have to go through particular transformations until the end of the story. You should pay special attention to whether the character becomes better or worse, stronger or weaker, rich or poor. Mention any areas or scenes where these transformations occur. In the story, you will recognize them from the cues like “it was then that she understood…” or “for the first time in months, he…”

Do you need a more detailed analysis of your character?

To make your analysis essay correct, you need to explore your character deeply. If you set some points you will follow in your work, you will manage to be consequential in your analysis. So here are some crucial nuances you should remember to describe the character:

You should focus on the reasons that make the character in a story to make a particular decision or take a specific action. You have an opportunity to explore the rightfulness of those actions as well as their reasonability. While you are asked to express your thoughts about certain events and feelings, you should be objective by looking beyond the cover.

Every action taken by a character can say a lot about his/her personality. You should not skip any events because it can be important for the general story and reveal some info about the character, his/her attitude to things, etc.

You should pay attention to the words the person uses because they can say a lot about their personality. Their accents and phrases may provide you with valuable information about nationality, social status, education, or even age of a character.


There are two major sources of the description: from other people in a story and the author. The author can provide the reader with one attitude and description of the major character, while secondary heroes in a story may describe them from their own perspective. At that point, their conclusions may be totally different, yet they’ll provide you with an understanding of the person’s nature.

The way people refer to a person also determines the features of a character. They may have nicknames or other names that will demonstrate their background and the attitude of other characters toward them. You can also define the origin as well as other important nuances.

Character Analysis Examples

By using a readymade character analysis example, you can concentrate on the creative process itself. Here are some nice examples of written character analysis based on a couple of popular stories:

Popular Topics for Character Analysis

  • Hamlet Character Analysis
  • The Crucible Character Analysis
  • Macbeth Character Analysis
  • Ophelia Character Analysis
  • Iago Character Analysis
  • 12 Angry Men Character Analysis
  • The Great Gatsby Character Analysis
  • Beowulf Character Analysis
  • Lady Macbeth Character Analysis
  • Atticus Finch Character Analysis
  • Romeo Character Analysis
  • Antigone Character Analysis
  • Victor Frankenstein Character Analysis
  • Pride And Prejudice Character Analysis
  • Machinal By Sophie Treadwell Character Analysis
  • Of Mice And Men Character Analysis
  • Othello Character Analysis
  • Macduff Character Analysis
  • Lord Of The Flies Character Analysis
  • To Kill A Mockingbird Character Analysis
  • The Breakfast Club Character Analysis
  • Charlie Brown Character Analysis
  • Death Of A Salesman Character Analysis
  • Hester Prynne Character Analysis
  • Mr Darcy Character Analysis
  • Desdemona Character Analysis
  • Fahrenheit 451 Character Analysis
  • Willy Loman Character Analysis
  • A Raisin In The Sun Character Analysis
  • The Things They Carried Character Analysis
  • A Rose For Emily Character Analysis
  • Nick Carraway Character Analysis
  • Daisy Buchanan Character Analysis
  • Boo Radley Character Analysis
  • 13 Reasons Why Character Analysis
  • King Lear Character Analysis
  • Jay Gatsby Character Analysis
  • Blanche Dubois Character Analysis
  • Oedipus Character Analysis
  • Claudius Character Analysis

Tips on Writing a Character Analysis from Handmadewriting Experts

Whether you follow a character analysis template yourself or ask a professional essay writer to complete this paper for you, you should not forget the common principles of work. Luckily, Handmadewriting’s specialists always follow the standard rules for character analysis writing:

  • Support all your statements with evidence. Y ou should incorporate evidence for every single point you make, although it must be relevant to the story. By means of quotes taken from the story, you can easily support your ideas and increase your credibility.
  • Point, illustrate, and explain. The so-called PIE method is a must for character analysis writing. Make sure to make a point, integrate quotations to support it, and explain how every quote creates the point.
  • Use your own words to anchor the quote. A quotation should not be left alone in the sentence. You need to explain the eligibility of this quote and its meaning.
  • Do not overuse quotes. You are allowed to use up to 10% of quotations in an academic paper, so remember this number. If you overuse quotes, you can hardly hope for a good grade.

Are you ready to proceed with your character analysis paper? Once you learn all writing rules and tips, you will be able to finish an excellent paper before the set deadline.

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How to Write a Character Analysis Essay: Examples & Outline

A character analysis is an examination of the personalities and actions of protagonists and antagonists that make up a story. It discusses their role in the story, evaluates their traits, and looks at their conflicts and experiences. You might need to write this assignment in school or college. Like any other essay, your character analysis should contain an introduction, a conclusion, and a thesis.

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Want to know how to write a character analysis essay? Not sure how to start? We understand. Whichever piece you choose – Lady Macbeth, A Rose for Emily, or something else, – analyzing a character for the first time might be challenging. No worries, we are here to help! In this guide by our custom writing experts, you will find a step-by-step guide, outlining and writing tips, as well as a number of character analysis examples.

  • 📔 Character Analysis Definition
  • 🧙 Types of Characters
  • 📝 Writing Guide
  • 🖥️ Formatting Tips

📑 Character Analysis Essay Examples

📔 what is a character analysis essay.

A character analysis essay is an assignment where you evaluate a character’s traits, behaviors, and motivations. It requires critical thinking and attention to detail. Unlike descriptions, analyses focus on a character’s personality and internal drives. It explains how those factors shape the narrated events.

The picture shows the definition of character analysis.

So, what you need to do is to see the characters as if they were real people who feel and act just as we do. Ensure there are no baseless assumptions and interpretations: the ideas you present should be supported by quotes from the text.

Character: Definition (Literature)

How do you define a character? It is a person, a creature, or an animal that makes up the story’s world. A character can be based on a real-life person, or it can be entirely fictional. It is someone who thinks, feels, and acts.

We use the word “character” in many different contexts. For instance, it can denote someone eccentric or worthy of our admiration. In both contexts, the term “character” means a distinctive personality. Similarly, in an analysis, your task is to show what makes a character stand out.

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Characterization: Literary Definition & Examples

Characterization is the process by which a character’s personality is revealed. It presents characters’ traits, feelings, and motives to the reader. For this reason, characterization is closely connected to character analysis. It helps us to understand the characters better throughout the reading process.

Characterization can be direct and indirect .

  • Direct characterization is when the narrator directly tells the audience what the personality of a character is.
  • In contrast, indirect characterization shows things that hint at a character’s nature.

Here are some examples of direct characterization taken from Patti Smith’s Just Kids :

“But he always suppressed his real feelings, mimicking the stoic nature of his father.”

Here we see a direct description of a character. The author straightforwardly talks about Robert’s feelings. In comparison, look at the description of a woman taken from John Steinbeck’s The Snake :

“He looked around at her again. Her dark eyes seemed veiled with dust. She looked without expression at the cat’s open throat.”

These lines don’t directly reveal anything about the woman, but the reader can understand that she is cold and dangerous. It’s an indirect characterization that focuses on looks and actions to convey the message to the reader.

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🧙 Types of Characters for Your Essay

When it comes to characters, they can be divided into several groups. For example, characters can be:

  • Protagonists or antagonists,
  • Static or dynamic,
  • Flat or round.

These types define how much the characters change through the course of the story and their role in it.

Character Type: Definition

In psychology, a character type is defined by a combination of personality traits that coexist in an individual. Authors incorporate different types of characters into their works to convey the message and make the story more exciting or relatable to the reader.

There are three ways to categorize a character type:

  • by archetypes,
  • by their role in the narrative,
  • by their ability to change throughout the story.

If you are about to write a character analysis essay, being familiar with character archetypes is essential. They have been categorized by a generation of writers, including the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung and the American literary theorist Joseph Campbell. A lot of characters we see in today’s literary works are rooted in them.

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Archetypes include the Trickster, the Ruler, the Lover, the Sage, and others. The Hero is one of the most notable archetypes. Hercules or Achilles can be good examples of heroic protagonists. They are strong and courageous; they meet challenges and save the day by helping others.

Main Character: Definition & Examples

The main character and the protagonist often get mixed up. Most narratives also have the figure of the antagonist , whose actions affect the plot and stimulate change. Let’s have a look at the similarities and differences between these types.

The main character is central in the narrative. We experience the story through their eyes. They don’t necessarily have to be protagonists, though it happens in many cases.

The crucial difference between the main character and the protagonist is that the protagonist goes through changes throughout the story. The main character, however, is there to guide the reader through the experience. Often they help to show a different, darker side of the protagonist.

To understand the difference better, let’s turn to some examples.

What’s a Static Character?

Now that we’ve learned about the main character and the protagonist, we will closely look at other types of character classifications. One of the ways to categorize a character is by their ability to change throughout the story.

A static or simple character is someone who undergoes little or no significant changes. They often exist for comedic purposes. Here are some examples:

Complex Character: Definition & Examples

Complex or dynamic characters are the opposite of static characters. Characters of this type change as the book progresses. They display different qualities, emotions, and motives. They become more complicated and interesting to the reader as the story unfolds.

Check out these examples of dynamic characters:

Other Kinds of Characters

You already know about several ways to define a type of character. Now, let’s go over some other types, starting with flat and round characters.

Similar to dynamic and static ones, round and flat characters represent two different ends of a spectrum. Round characters usually come with an in-depth background. They are traditionally protagonists, antagonists, or those close to them. In contrast, flat characters are two-dimensional, and there is not much depth to them.

For the examples, we will turn to the novel Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Finally, here are some bonus character types for you:

  • Stock characters have a fixed set of traits and are flat. Most of the time, they exist for comical relief.
  • Symbolic characters represent a concept or a theme that goes beyond them. They can be round and flat as long as they symbolize a particular notion or phenomena.
  • Sidekick is a secondary character who supports the protagonist.
  • The love interest is someone with whom the main character is infatuated.
  • Foil is someone who’s set in contrast with the protagonist, thus putting more emphasis on the latter’s qualities.

Characterization Essay: Which Character Type to Choose

Before you start writing a paper, it essential to decide on the character you’re going to analyze. There are different types of characters in every story, so you need to choose which one suits your essay topic the best.

Usually, it’s best to choose a dynamic and round character . With static and flat ones, there may not be enough substance for you to analyze. However, some such personalities can be interesting to work with. For instance, a flat character such as Mr. Collins can be symbolic of something. Then, you can talk about how it embodies a specific idea or notion. You can also look at how they affect other characters in the story.

📝 How to Write a Character Analysis Step by Step

Now, we’re going to discuss how to write your paper step-by-step. But first, here are some pre-writing steps for you to consider:

  • Choose a character for analysis.
  • Take notes while reading;
  • Define the type of the character and their role in the story;
  • Pay attention to their descriptions and actions.

How to Analyze a Character: Description Examples

Knowing how to organize your work is an essential skill. Certain things need special attention if you are describing a character:

  • physical appearance,
  • emotional state,
  • how the character speaks,
  • behavior and personality traits,
  • relationships with other characters.

When you analyze a character, try to look at them as if they were a real-life person. You want to know their motive, learn about how they feel, and understand why they think in a certain way. Ask yourself:

  • How did the character change throughout the story (if at all)?
  • What do other characters say about them? Can their words be trusted?
  • Where is the character physically and emotionally? What brought them here?
  • What is the character ready to do to achieve their goal?

Now, let’s look at the character of Franklin from the short story Just Before the War with the Eskimos by J.D. Salinger:

Character Profile Template for Writing

When writing your essay, use this character analysis template:

The picture shows the main steps in writing a character analysis essay.

In the following sections, we’ll discuss each step in detail.

Character Analysis Outline: How to Start a Character Analysis

The beginning of your essay is its crucial part. It sets the mood and grabs the reader’s attention. There are many different ways to write a character analysis introduction, but here are the most effective ones:

  • Use a quotation. It’s a great way to make a catchy hook. If it relates to the character and reflects their nature, it can also help to set the tone for analysis. In case you are using a quotation from somewhere else, mention the source in parentheses.
  • Talk about the book or story. Mention the author, the name of the story, and the genre. Briefly describe the main events that are taking place in the story.
  • Introduce the character. State their role in the story (define whether they are a protagonist, an antagonist, etc.) Then, explain whether the character is static or dynamic. Finally, describe them in 2-3 sentences.

The final part of an introduction is a thesis statement.Read on to learn how to write one!

Character Analysis Thesis Statement & Examples

A thesis is the key component of every essay, and character analysis is not an exception. It’s crucial to develop a good and clear thesis statement that includes all the aspects of your paper. For instance, if you plan to write a 4-paragraph body, including 4 points in your thesis.

What should a character analysis thesis include? Well, try to think of any trait that the character possesses that has to do with their downfall or somehow influences the story. Think about how this trait affects the character’s relationship with others or how it contributes to their motive or aspiration.

Take a look at the following examples:

How to Write Character Analysis Paragraphs for the Main Body

The main body of your essay can include as many paragraphs as you need. In this part, you introduce the character and analyze them. We have already talked in this article about what kind of questions should be answered in these paragraphs. The most important points are:

  • Describe the character and their role within the story.
  • Give the audience an explanation of the character’s motives.
  • Show what message the author wanted to convey through this character.

Keep in mind that every paragraph should have a topic sentence that captures its main idea.

Tsukuru Tazaki’s spiritual rebirth also affects his physical appearance.

Character Analysis Conclusion: How to Write

The conclusion part of your essay summarizes all the information you have mentioned and restates the thesis. Here is some advice for your conclusion paragraph:

🖥️ Character Analysis Essay Format

Most college assignments and essays are written according to the APA or MLA format. Both styles have the same formatting, which requires:

  • a double-spaced paper with 1-inch margins,
  • a page header with page numbers flush right,
  • an 11-12-point font.

While writing an essay on characters, pay special attention to quotations. Here are some tips for APA in-text citations:

  • When you summarize or paraphrase the information, mention the author’s name and publication date in brackets. Example: According to Collins (1997.)
  • When you quote directly from the source, add the number of the page, as well. Example: “There is a view that…” (Collins, 1997, pp. 134-135.)
  • If the source includes three or more authors, use the abbreviation “et al.” after the first author’s name. Example: (Collins et al., 1997)

As for MLA format:

  • You can write the author’s name in the sentence. Example: As Collins mentions in his essay<…>.
  • You can mention the author’s name in the parentheses at the end of the sentence. Example: (Collins, J.K.)
  • The last option is to use either footnotes or endnotes.

Below you’ll find a collection of character analysis essay examples and a downloadable sample to inspire you even more.

  • The Grandmother in A Good Man Is Hard to Find: Character Analysis
  • Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman: Character Analysis
  • Jay Gatsby and Nick Carraway: Character Analysis
  • Prospero in The Tempest: Character Analysis
  • Agamemnon in the Iliad: Character Analysis
  • Lord Pococurante in Candide: Character Analysis
  • Andromache in the Iliad: Character Analysis
  • Character Analysis of the Knight from The Canterbury Tales
  • Essay on Soldier’s Home: Analysis of the Characters

Character Analysis Example (Downloadable)

Roald Dahl’s  Matilda  is one of the most famous children’s novels of the 20th century. The protagonist of this tale is Matilda Wormwood, a five and a half-year-old girl with a brilliant and lively mind that distances her from the rest of the family. Matilda’s character is particularly interesting as she has a powerful personality with extraordinary mental abilities, and she manages to overcome all the obstacles that surround her.

Character Analysis Essay Topics

  • Character analysis of Abbas from A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge .
  • Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
  • Beowulf and Hamlet : similarity and diversity of the characters.
  • Personal and social failures of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.
  • Character analysis of Othello .
  • Analyze the characters of Stanley and Blanche from A Streetcar Named Desire .
  • The tragedy of Mathilde Loisel from The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant.
  • Character analysis of Huck Finn from Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn .
  • Moral force of Kate Lipton from Double Helix by Nancy Parker.
  • Character analysis of Thorvald and Nora in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House .
  • Discuss the character of king Creon in Antigone .
  • Analyze the personality of Lydia from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice .
  • Compare Nick Carraway and Tom Buchanan from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
  • Describe the peculiarities of Lord Pococurante in Candide .
  • Sarty Snopes in William Faulkner’s Barn Burning : character analysis.
  • Analyze the character of Biff Loman in Death of a Salesman.
  • Personality of Nora in A Doll House by Henrik Ibsen.
  • Examine the main characters of The Yellow Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
  • Personality change of the main character in Edgar Alan Poe’s The Black Cat .
  • Analyze the characters of E. Hemingway’s A Clean, Well-Lighted Place .
  • Describe the main characters of the novel The Overstory by Richard Powers.
  • Controversial personality of Vladek in Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman.
  • Character analysis of Victor Frankenstein in Frankenstein by Mary Shelley .
  • Discuss the character of Creon in Oedipus the King .
  • The manipulative character of Iago in Willian Shakespeare’s Othello .
  • Analyze the characters of Nil and Kristine in A Doll’s House .
  • Eccentricity of Grendel’s character in Beowulf .
  • Describe the main characters of Four Summers by Joyce Carol Oates.
  • Examine the characters of Harold Krebs and his mother in Ernest Hemingway’s Soldier’s Home .
  • Analyze common and different traits of the characters in The Monkey’s Paw .
  • Character peculiarities of Rostam and Sohrab in Shahnameh by Ferdowsi Tousi.
  • How does the character of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen differ from the rest of her family?
  • The behavior and meaning of the characters in Nicholas Rowe’s The Tragedy of Jane Shore.
  • Compare the characters of Victor Frankenstein and the monster in Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley.
  • Discuss the differences of main characters in Everyday Use by Alice Walker.
  • Examine the character of Connie in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been by Joyce Carol Oates.
  • The influence of social pressure on the characters of Chopin’s Desirée’s Baby and Sedaris’ A Modest Proposal .
  • Dynamic feminist characters of Delia and Jig in Sweat by Z. Hurston and Hills Like White Elephants by E. Hemingway.
  • Analyze the personality traits of Emily in William Faulkner’s A Rose for Emily .
  • Examine the characters of The Quiet American by Graham Greene.
  • Henry ΙV by William Shakespeare : analysis of main characters.

Now you know everything necessary for writing an excellent character analysis. What character would you like to analyze? Let us know in the comments!

Further reading:

  • How to Write a Literary Analysis Essay Step by Step
  • Literature Review Outline: Examples, Approaches, & Templates
  • Library Research Paper: Example & Writing Guide [2024]
  • How to Write a Critique Paper: Tips + Critique Essay Examples
  • 435 Literary Analysis Essay Topics and Prompts [2024 Upd]
  • How to Write a Literature Review: Actionable Tips & Links

❓ Character Analysis FAQ

A character analysis involves:

1. description of a character; 2. explanation of how they change throughout the story; 3. their role in the narrative; 4. relationships with other characters; 5. what idea the author wanted to convey through the character.

A character analysis creates a description that contains their most important qualities. It provides a new perspective of a character that reveals more about what it’s like to be human. It can also point to a moral or a lesson.

Literary analysis uses the technique of tracing the character development. This technique is usually used to understand the theme of the work better. Through tracing a character’s development, we can learn more about the story’s message and how it’s conveyed.

A summary paragraph in a character study should include answers to the questions “what,” “who,” “where,” and “why.” You should mention who narrates the story, where the story is set, its theme, and the message it conveys.

  • Critical Concepts: Character and Characterization: Kansas State University
  • Analyzing Novels & Short Stories: Texas A&M University
  • Guidelines for Writing a Character Analysis Essay: Tidewater Communite College
  • Literary Criticism: Thesis Examples: The University of Texas at Arlington
  • Writing a Literary Analysis Paper: Germanna Community College
  • Flat and Round Characters: Encyclopedia Britannica
  • Literature: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • How to Write a Book Analysis: Kean University
  • Elements of Literary Analysis: Alamo Colleges District
  • Defining Characterization: Read Write Think
  • APA Style: General Format: Purdue University
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how to write a thesis statement about a character

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay in 7 Steps

To analyze a character in a story (whether it’s a book or film) essentially means to discuss three things:

  • What the character was like before the adventure
  • How the character responded to the inevitable challenges 
  • How the character transformed as a result of the adventure

It is very rare that a character in a story doesn’t change. An example of that would be the film The Remains of the Day where the main character never changes. That movie was a bit disappointing 🙂

The most interesting part of any story is what happens to its characters – how they transform as a result of facing difficulties in pursuit of a goal or while trying to solve a problem:

  • Rocky faces a world champion to turn from a boxing mediocrity into a respected warrior and athlete
  • Mulan helps defeat a fearsome invader to go from an awkward bride to a national heroine 
  • Harry Potter must face inner and outer demons to turn from a troubled schoolboy into a real wizard

If you were to write an essay about any of these characters, these would be some of the likely central points in your paper. And in this tutorial, I will show you how to go about the process.

I’m Tutor Phil, and without further ado, let me take you through the…

7 Steps to Writing a Character Analysis Essay

Step 1. Choose the character you will write about

You may already have a pretty good idea of which character you want to write about. Or, perhaps your instructor has given you a prompt with a pre-selected character. 

If not, here are a few tips on choosing a character.

Make sure the character gets ample time and space in the story. Don’t choose a character that barely appears in the book or movie. Pick either the main character or a secondary character who gets a lot of attention from the author. 

You can choose a protagonist or an antagonist. The protagonist is the “good” guy or gal, and the antagonist is the anti-hero. You can analyze either one because both are very important characters in the story.

Choose a character who captivates your imagination. The better your emotional connection to the character, the easier it will be to write about them. If you have more than one story to choose from, pick your favorite character from any of the stories. 

These tips will ensure that you have enough material to write an essay. And let’s pick our character for the purposes of this tutorial. 

The character I’m choosing is the Beast from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (the animated feature). I absolutely love this animated film, and this also happens to be my favorite story ever.

The Beauty and the Beast as a story appears in many (almost all if not all) cultures of the world in one form or another. But we’ll focus on the Beast in Disney’s animated version because he’s a fascinating hero who undergoes an amazing transformation. 

Step 2. Read (or watch) the story again while taking notes

Even if you have already read the book or watched the movie, go through it again after picking your character. 

This time around, you’ll notice a lot more about this character than you did on the first reading or viewing. If it’s a movie, just watch the whole thing over while taking notes.

If it’s a long novel, you can reread only the key parts that are relevant to your character and what you might write about them. 

Character Qualities and Traits You Can Discuss

Let me give you a list of qualities and character traits you can notice and make notes about as you’re revisiting the story. 

Keep in mind that you can choose any one of these as your main subject in the essay. In the next step, we’ll do exactly that. We’ll also pick another one or more of these as supporting ideas.

So, make sure to take notes that are relevant to any of these aspects of character because they’ll be useful to you as you write the essay. 

Aspects of a Character

  • Transformation (how the character changes)
  • Strengths and special abilities
  • Position/Status and how it changes
  • Physical appearance and traits
  • Psychological makeup
  • Role in the overall message of the story

Additional elements to jot down

Quotations. Make sure to note the exact page number or time stamp in the film because you’ll need that when citing the quotation. Dialog can often reveal clues to the inner world of the character. 

Patterns of behavior. If any of the character’s behavior repeats, that is a clue to a character quality or trait. You may notice that a certain pattern of behavior occurs in more than one character. This is a possible theme you can explore in your essay.

Changes in attitude. If the character does something that is not like their typical behavior, that’s a clue to a transformation. It is interesting to learn why this character said or did something new and different. The character may be showing courage or decisiveness. 

Example of Note-taking

Here is an example of the kind of notes I would take as I’m rewatching Beauty and the Beast :

  • The Beast starts out chronically angry. But he calms down as time progresses and he makes progress in his courtship of Belle. 
  • The Beast is extremely strong physically
  • He also proves to be generous when he gifts the library to Belle
  • He is also gentle when he learns how to dance
  • The Beast is under a magic spell (a curse)
  • He has serious anger issues
  • He seems extremely possessive
  • He has all the qualities of a prince except the human form
  • He exhibits extreme boundaries and prohibits Belle from visiting certain parts of the castle 
  • The Beast looks like some kind of a furious animal resembling a lion
  • He’s not exactly ugly. But he’s scary and intimidating. 
  • He must experience real love before the last petal falls off a rose in his secret room in order to turn back into a human being
  • The Beast has anger issues
  • He is possessive and has strong boundaries of what is permissible and what is not
  • He does not really believe that he can make the curse dispel 
  • He is easily frustrated
  • His curse came about as a result of arrogance and lack of kindness and compassion, so he has to deal with that, as well
  • The Beast must overcome himself in order to become human. Perhaps the message of the story is that in order to be a real human being, you must overcome flaws that prevent you from experiencing real love.
  • This last point sounds like a good potential main subject/idea for the essay.

Completing this step will provide you with enough ideas to write an essay of any length. 

Step 3. Choose the main and supporting aspects of the character

In this step you’re really deciding what your essay will be about. Yes, it will be about this character you’ve chosen. But now you need to narrow down your subject matter. 

If you try to write about everything about this character, your essay will seem like it’s about nothing. This is why you really want to pick your main subject, which is something about the character that is going to be the main theme of the essay.

You also want to pick several supporting (lesser) ideas that will help you discuss this character. 

A great thing about this process is that by the time you get through Step 2, you will probably already have a pretty good idea of your main and your supporting points.

Ideas begin bubbling as you take notes. You begin to notice patterns and discern the bigger and the smaller ideas. 

But this step is designed specifically for you to go over your notes and write down two things:

  • The main idea you’ll probably turn into the main point in your essay
  • Three or more supporting ideas

Here is how to do it in practice. All you need to do is create a simple bulleted list. In this list, the first one or more items will be the bigger ideas. And the second level will contain the smaller, supporting ideas. 

Let’s do it, using our example of the Beast:

  • The Beast’s role in delivering the message of the story 
  • He is under a magic spell (a curse)
  • He seems very possessive
  • He is scary
  • He is clumsy
  • He has enormous physical strength 
  • He is generous deep inside 
  • He can be gentle
  • He lacks self-confidence
  • He doubts his ability to experience love
  • He has great difficulty controlling his anger

As you complete this step, don’t worry if some of your ideas overlap among these categories or if you seem to repeat some of the points. You’ll sort it all out and get total clarity in the next step.

These first steps are really a brain dump. In Step 3, you simply sift through your initial notes and attempt to bring some order your thoughts. Don’t try to be perfect. Just do it.

Step 4. Take a stand and write down your main point

This is where you must decide on what exactly you’ll be arguing in your essay. This is why it’s probably the most important step of all. Your main point is your thesis. 

A thesis is one main idea usually expressed in one sentence. 

A thesis statement is a full statement that contains the entire argument, including the thesis and the supporting ideas. 

Here’s a short video I made to explain the distinction between a thesis and a thesis statement:

In this step, we’re just writing out the main point in one sentence. We’ll write the entire thesis statement in the next step. 

And we have everything we need to write our sample thesis. We have identified the biggest ideas and the smaller, supporting ideas in the previous step.

Now, we need to focus on the bigger ideas, choose one of them or put two of them together into one, and write it down.

Let’s do it, using our example of the Beast. 

Character Analysis Thesis Example

Let’s think aloud a little:

We have our two big ideas that we identified in the previous step:

  • The Beast’s transformation – he must conquer his own anger in order to regain the human form

These are just topics; they are only subjects. We must now turn them into one complete sentence. 

It looks like the Beast must overcome something within himself in order to be human again.  

Can we be a little more specific? We can borrow an idea or two from the supporting, smaller ideas to clarify the main point.

Well, the Beast is cursed, and to lift the curse, he must overcome himself. 

Okay, good. We’re getting there. Let’s add a little more specificity, and the thesis should come out great.

“The Beast must overcome his own anger, lack of compassion, and self-doubt in order to experience love that would lift the curse and turn him back into a human.”  

Bingo! I think we got it. This thesis is virtually flawless:

  • The subject is clear – the essay will be about the Beast
  • We know exactly what to say about him 
  • The reader now has a clear idea of the overall argument of this essay
  • This sentence summarizes this essay completely and perfectly.

And that’s exactly what a thesis for a character analysis is supposed to do. Now, we’re ready to write the introductory paragraph which will include the complete thesis statement. 

Step 5. Write the introductory paragraph

Note that a character analysis is really an expository essay. This means that the structure of a character analysis is that of an expository (or an argumentative) essay.

And here is a diagram that depicts the structure of an introductory paragraph:

how to write a thesis statement about a character

The first sentence is purely introductory. Its job is to pull the reader into the subject matter of the essay.

The next sentence is the main point. And we just wrote it, so we have this most important part of the paragraph ready to include in the opening paragraph.

Finally, the next one or more sentences must list the supporting points in some detail while still keeping the paragraph very general. That’s because we’ll be digging into the details in the body of the essay. But the intro paragraph should be general. 

Before we get to the introductory sentence, let’s see if we have everything we need to write the rest of the thesis statement. Do we have the supporting points?

It just so happens that our thesis contains three wonderful supporting points that we’ll explore in the essay in detail. Why three?

Well, I usually recommend having three supporting ideas that will correspond with three main sections of pretty much any argumentative paper. I call this the Power of Three:

how to write a thesis statement about a character

Why do I use it? Remember what we did in Steps 2 and 3? We listed all the elements of our character and enumerated all the possible ideas we could write about. 

Well, if we don’t set a limit for how many supporting ideas we’ll use, we can end up wandering forever, trying to structure this essay. 

If you go over three supporting points, then the overall structure of the essay won’t be clear to you, and you’ll waste a lot of time and effort trying to organize it.

But if you decide that you’ll have three supporting ideas – no more and no less – this makes your life so much easier. All you need to do is decide. And it’s easy – the Power of Three works!

As I was writing the main point, I already kept the Power of Three in mind because, after all, I’m the one who came up with it 🙂

I use it in almost every essay and article I write, so at this point it’s just second nature to me and will become to you as well the more you use it. 

So, what are the three supporting ideas in this essay? Here they are:

  • Lack of compassion

These are three qualities, character traits, or emotional energies which the Beast must overcome in himself in order to experience love and achieve his goal of regaining humanity.

Do you see how this works? Now that we know exactly what we mean to say in the introductory paragraph, let’s write it out.

Example of a Character Analysis Introductory Paragraph

“Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is a story of a miraculous transformation that must be gained through hard work. The Beast must overcome his own lack of compassion, his anger, and self-doubt in order to experience love that would lift the curse and turn him back into a human. The lack of compassion caused the initial disaster, and the Beast must get in touch with his kindness and generosity to remove the root cause of the curse. He must learn to control his anger because if he doesn’t he won’t have a chance to win Belle’s heart. And he must overcome self-doubt as the final obstacle to true love because faith in love is its ultimate test.”

Let’s Examine this Paragraph

So, what have we done here? The first sentence, just like the diagram instructs, is introductory. It doesn’t state the main point – that’s the function of the next sentence, which is the thesis.

The first sentence simply pulls the reader into the essay by stating what it is about in very general terms. We could have written an intro that would be even more general. But this sentence works. 

Remember – you can actually start your essay directly with the thesis. The only reason I teach my students to include an introductory sentence is that teachers and professors expect some sort of an introduction. So, just write it.

But immediately after the intro, we need to state the thesis – the main point. And we do it perfectly well in this paragraph. We wrote this sentence in the previous step, so we know exactly what it states.

Finally, and this is part three of the paragraph, we enumerate the three supporting points that help the reader see how we plan to go about supporting the main point.

We first talk about the lack of compassion, then about the Beast’s anger, and then about his self-doubt. And guess what – that’s exactly how we’ll structure this essay. 

In fact, our thesis statement is the outline of our essay. Let’s take a look. 

Character Analysis Sample Outline

how to write a thesis statement about a character

As you can see, we have three main sections, each of which can be a paragraph or more, depending on how many words you need to write.

If you have to write up to about 600 words, then a five-paragraph structure will work great. If you have to write more, then each of the main sections will simply contain more than one paragraph.

But let’s keep things simple here and assume that we’re writing a five-paragraph essay of about 600 words. Then, we can distribute our word count this way:

  • Introductory paragraph (75 words)
  • Body paragraph 1 (150 words)
  • Body paragraph 2 (150 words)
  • Body paragraph 3 (150 words)
  • Conclusion (75 words) 

If we add these up, we’ll get 600 words. Now that we have our introductory paragraph that has given us the main point and the overall structure, we’re ready to write the body of the essay.

Step 6. Write the body of the analysis

The body of a character analysis essay consists of paragraphs of a particular structure. Because we know that an analysis is an argumentative essay, each body paragraph should be structured in a certain way. 

Here’s a diagram of how to structure a body paragraph:

how to write a thesis statement about a character

A body paragraph in an expository essay, just like the essay itself, must proceed from general to specific. 

The first sentence in a body paragraph is the lead sentence. It is the most general sentence in the paragraph. It functions just like a thesis does in an essay – it opens and summarizes the contents of the paragraph perfectly.

Then comes the next most general part of the paragraph – the explanation. Here, you should explain a process or describe how or why the point in the lead sentence is true. 

And finally, we have the most specific part of the paragraph, which is one or more examples. Examples are the most interesting and exciting part both for the writer and for the reader because they contain all the details.

Let’s write a body paragraph for our essay. We’ll pick the first body paragraph – the one about the lack of compassion in the Beast.

Character Analysis Body Paragraph Example

“Since the lack of compassion caused the witch to cast the spell, the Beast must discover kindness and generosity within himself to eliminate the root cause of the curse. His lack of kindness and compassion is his original sin. The animated movie opens with a sequence that reveals what happened to the prince that led to him losing his human form. An old woman asked for shelter from the rain, but the prince mocked her and refused her request. She then turned into a beautiful sorceress and punished him by casting a spell, condemning the prince to the form of a beast until he can experience reciprocated love. Unfortunately for him, the Beast retains the lack of compassion well into the middle of the story. He becomes enraged when he has another visitor – Belle’s father – while the weather outside is horrible. This echoes the initial refusal of shelter. He does the same with Belle when he gives her a number of prohibitions. He refuses her food and comfort unless she meets certain conditions. In other words, it looks like he has not learned a thing since the spell was cast.”

Body Paragraph Analysis

What have we done in this paragraph? First, we started with the lead sentence. The way you can write it is just by lifting it straight from the thesis statement and changing it around. 

That’s because the lead sentence is essentially an equivalent of one of the supporting points in the thesis statement. Just take that supporting point, change or expand it a little, and it will make a perfect lead sentence for a body paragraph.

Next, we provide an explanation. We explain why it is necessary for the Beast to conquer his lack of compassion. This was the reason he came under the spell. 

So, he must learn from that experience and eliminate this character trait. If he fails to do that, he’ll never gain Belle’s love and will never turn back into a human. 

Finally, we show that the Beast seemingly hasn’t learned a thing because he shows no hospitality or kindness to Belle and her father in the beginning. This means that he has a problem he must overcome. 

Once we’ve shown this, the paragraph has served its function, and we can move on to the next paragraph. 

To write the body of the essay, all we need to do is write it one body paragraph at a time, following the structure in the diagram. Once this is done, we’re ready for the final step. 

Step 7. Write the conclusion

The simplest and time-proven way to write a conclusion is to restate what you already wrote. In a sense, your conclusion is pretty much your thesis statement rewritten using different words.

Let’s write out our conclusion, and you’ll see what I mean:

“To conclude, the Beast is a prisoner of his own character flaws. His lack of kindness and compassion, his rage, and his self-doubt stand in his way of dispelling the curse and becoming human again. Early in the story, he displays each of these character flaws as if he never learned his lessons from what happened to him. And he must overcome each of these traits one by one in order to get in touch with the best in him, experience love, and achieve liberation from the terrible spell.”

As you can see, we’re not saying anything new here. We’re simply restating what has already been said in the essay. And it works in most cases. 

Some instructors will want you to do more in a conclusion. So, my advice is to approach your instructor and ask her what she prefers. This way you’ll know for sure. 

If you want to learn more ways to write conclusions, here’s a great tutorial I wrote . 

Guess what – we’re done, and I hope this was helpful! Now go ahead and write your own amazing character analysis essay.

Tutor Phil is an e-learning professional who helps adult learners finish their degrees by teaching them academic writing skills.

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How to Write a College Character Analysis Essay

What Should a Thesis Statement on an Essay About a Short Story Look Like?

What Should a Thesis Statement on an Essay About a Short Story Look ...

College character analysis essays outline the traits that influence the character's persona. A college character analysis differs from one completed in high school, since the student must supply more context, background and evidence. For instance, stating that a character has a moral dilemma that compels him to make bad decisions doesn't provide enough information. Talking about the author's personal experience or the socioeconomic conditions of the time that shape the author's viewpoint provides a more effective analysis.

Well-Developed Thesis

Place the thesis statement in the opening paragraph. Spend time developing your thesis until it succinctly summarizes the reason for writing the essay. A good thesis gives the essay context and provides clues to the reader about the essay's purpose. From a technical standpoint, a thesis usually comes at the end of a paragraph and uses a semicolon to differentiate between two aspects -- the reasoning and the result of that reasoning. For example, a thesis statement that describes the character's situation and how it affected his mindset might read: "The character was abused as a child and an adult; he learned that people can't be trusted."

General Introduction

The introduction provides a general overview of the character. As the introduction develops, focus on how it lines up with the thesis of your paper. Provide background information, general comments and pertinent information about the author's life or give a brief description of the story to support the thesis' subject matter. Using the thesis that an abused person grows up to be mistrustful, add some background information about the type of environment that nurtures a healthy adult, or if the author was abused, tie this information into the introduction. You don't need to introduce the character in the opening sentence.

Reinforce the main ideas that you must cover in your essay. In an essay dealing with a mistrustful woman, ask yourself with each main idea you create if the idea reinforces and provides concrete evidence for the woman's mistrust. Create a one- or two-word concept that encapsulates each idea and then turn those ideas into paragraphs. Paragraphs that deal with statements made by, about and to the character are all appropriate. Discuss the character's actions in the story and how the actions reinforce your thesis. Look for interviews or statements from the author to reinforce your opinion. Start each paragraph with a topic sentence and focus on one idea without branching off into other topics. Give examples and be specific when providing evidence.

Detailed Body

The body of your essay must accomplish three things -- identify the character type, provide a character description and discuss the conflict. Characters can be protagonists or antagonists, major or minor, stereotypical, contrasting with the main character, narrow-minded, multifaceted or some combination of traits. Provide an accurate description of the character's opinions and habits. Discuss how the character changed if he changed at all. Look for details that might not be obvious, such as whether the name of the character bears any significance to the story. Also, provide an overview of the conflict and how that affects the outcome.

Strong Conclusion

The conclusion doesn't need to bring in new information, since typically you can't provide additional arguments to support the information. Instead, remind the reader of the original thesis and summarize the main idea of each paragraph in the essay. The conclusion serves as your last chance to convince the reader of the validity of your analysis. For example, dealing with the topic of abuse, if you discussed the character's childhood in the first paragraph of the body, create a sentence or two reminding the reader that the character grew with a certain skewed viewpoint of relationships. Build your conclusion by reminding and summarizing the main points of your essay. Finally, end strongly by providing a more worked-out version of your thesis that includes the conclusion of the story.

Effective Title

An effective title helps to put your essay in context much like the thesis. The title should grab the reader and bring him into the essay. One technique for developing a title involves looking at your thesis or concluding statement. If your conclusion states that the character died without knowing what it meant to love another person, use a title such as: "The Meaning of Love" or "Living Without Love." Both titles use information from your conclusion, reinforce the point of your character analysis and create a sense of mystery about the contents of the essay.

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Avery Martin holds a Bachelor of Music in opera performance and a Bachelor of Arts in East Asian studies. As a professional writer, she has written for, Samsung and IBM. Martin contributed English translations for a collection of Japanese poems by Misuzu Kaneko. She has worked as an educator in Japan, and she runs a private voice studio out of her home. She writes about education, music and travel.

how to write a thesis statement about a character

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay: a Step by Step Guide

Although a character analysis essay is a common type of assignment, writing it is a challenge for many students. Character analysis essays are different from book reviews and other analytical assignments. When writing an essay of this kind, you should focus on a single character and analyze all its strengths and weaknesses.

Such essays are common among college and high school students who study literature. If English Literature is your major, the chances are that you will have to write numerous character analysis essays and consider different characters from the same book.

The success of your character analysis essay directly depends on your analytical skills. Besides, you should be able to follow countless requirements. You should support all your claims with quotes and evidence from the book. This way, you can establish credibility and make your essay more informative and therefore more valuable for readers.

When analyzing a character from a book, you should also ask the right questions and think of what information will be interesting for your readers. The author might have described some things about the character in detail so there’s no need to focus on these things in your essay.

What Character Analysis Is

Simply put, character analysis requires you to explain a character’s key traits. Therefore, you should choose a character and analyze it based on the information present in the book, including the character’s actions, thoughts, and other details. You should also explain this character’s role in the story and its influence on other minor or major characters.

  • Character analysis essays can be written about characters from novels, dramas, and even poems.
  • Character analysis papers are usually written about main characters, but sometimes it can be about a minor character as well.

To write a nice character analysis essay, you should collect and analyze all the subtle hints on the character’s personality left by the author throughout the story. The more prominent the character, the more information you will find. However, it’s impossible to find all the relevant information in one place so you should always look for relevant details while reading and make notes so that you won’t miss anything important when you start to write the essay.

Some details may look insignificant at first but start to make sense as you read further. Therefore, taking notes is always a good practice. Whenever you see some information related to the character that you’re going to analyze in your essay, highlight it or use bookmarks so that you can quickly find this information later if you need it.

When writing a character analysis essay, you should understand its purpose. Your ultimate goal is to help readers better understand the character, its background, and its motivations. Therefore, there’s no surprise that character analysis essays are loved by professors.

Many students who have to write such essays will become literature researchers or writers so such essays can help them add some depth to their explanations or create more complex characters in the future. However, not all students have a talent for writing, so if writing a character analysis essay isn’t your thing, you can choose a top-rated essay writing service to have it written for you by professional writer.

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay

1️⃣ choose a character.

You may or may not be able to choose a character for your essay. Sometimes, you may get a character assigned by your teacher, and sometimes, you may choose it. If you can choose a character yourself, we recommend that you consider choosing a dynamic character so that you can have more material to work with. You don’t necessarily need to choose a protagonist because it’s an obvious choice. Just make sure that the chosen character gives you some space for analysis.

2️⃣ Take notes

We’ve already mentioned how useful note-taking is. If you can choose a character for your essay before reading the book, it’s great because you can take notes while reading and make the writing process much easier. First of all, make sure to note the details about the character’s background. For instance, the author might have mentioned something about the character’s childhood. Such details can help you provide a more general overview.

Obviously, you should also note the character’s physical and psychological traits. Consider the way this character interacts with others, as well as its distinctive traits that differentiate it from other characters. Take notes on how the character evolves throughout the plot. What challenges does it face? How does it change? Who are this character’s friends or enemies, and why?

3️⃣ Come up with a thesis statement

A good approach is to come up with a thesis statement before you start to write the essay. The thesis statement is the main idea of the essay that will tie together its different sections. Make sure that your thesis statement is character-focused and specific. You should present the thesis statement in the introduction and repeat it in the conclusion. All your thoughts and evidence should be related to the thesis statement.

4️⃣ Write a character analysis essay outline

Don’t start to write your first draft immediately so that you won’t need to do a lot of editing. Jot down the overall structure of your essay, along with your key points. The essay should consist of three sections: an introduction, body, and conclusion. When writing a five-paragraph essay, the body section should have three body paragraphs, with each paragraph focusing on one point.

The structure of each body paragraph should mimic the overall paper structure. A paragraph should begin with an introductory sentence where you state the main point of this paragraph, followed by sentences with details and evidence. At the end of the paragraph, add a brief conclusion or a transition to the next paragraph. Once you’ve finished the outline, you can start writing the first draft of your essay, filling the structure with details.

5️⃣ Write the essay

Now that you have a clear outline and your notes, you can write the first draft. Write an engaging introduction that grabs attention and explains why your character is worth analyzing. In the introduction, you should also present your thesis statement and briefly outline the overall direction of your essay. In the body section, dedicate the first paragraph to the character’s background and upbringing.

In the second paragraph, consider the character’s personality traits. In the third paragraph, you can analyze the way this character evolves and grows. When writing the conclusion, summarize the main points and rewrite your thesis statement to establish a clear connection between the thesis statement and your arguments. At the very end, add a meaningful statement or open question to leave your readers with something to think about.

Final Thoughts

This guide will help you plan the writing process so that you can create a strong essay that will impress your readers. Don’t submit your first draft as soon as it’s finished. We recommend that you take a short break so that you can distance yourself from the essay and read it, considering it from a fresh perspective.

Edit sentences that sound awkward, remove unnecessary and irrelevant passages and proofread your essay to make sure that it’s grammatically correct. We suggest that you always dedicate enough time to editing and proofreading because, even if the content is amazing, you may still receive a bad mark because of grammar mistakes.

Generally, this type of paper is relatively easy to write. But in case you need a character analysis essay example, you can find it here .

how to write a thesis statement about a character

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Homework Help

  • December 6, 2020
  • By Homework Help Global

How to Write a Character Analysis Essay: Everything You Need to Know For Your Next Literary Assignment

College student sitting in bed working on a character analysis essay

To properly analyze a character, you have to be able to dig deeper into the text. It’s more than just describing someone’s physical appearance or talking about the things they’ve done in the story; you have to dive into the character’s motivations, their context to the story, and significance of their character.

If that’s starting to sound like a lot to take in, you shouldn’t be worried! In this guide, we’re going to show you how to write a character analysis essay in easy-to-follow steps that will help you get ahead in your course.

Female student choosing a story to use for her essay

What is a Character Analysis Essay?

Like any assignment you write, you’ll need to know what it is you’re doing before you actually start writing your paper. So, let’s start with the basics: what exactly is a character analysis essay, and why are you writing one?

As we mentioned before, in this type of essay, you’re going to analyze a specific character from a novel, text, movie, TV show, or other type of story. In the paper, you’ll discuss various details and information about that character that make them who they are, and establish their position in the story.

Now, let’s get to the question of why you’re writing this essay. Often, a character analysis is a great way to understand and analyze the broader context of a story, as well as the way a story is written. Characters often take on symbolic meanings or are used to represent literary devices that tell a narrative. Sometimes a character is there to cause conflict (such as an antagonist), while other characters are there to progress the story (such as the protagonist).

Essentially, your professor is looking to see how you’ve read, understood, and interpreted a story, and a character within a story, to see the overall meaning of the text.

Male college student at a desk working on his thesis statement

How to Start Your Character Analysis Essay

The first thing you need to do is choose the character you’re going to analyze for your paper. This decision will be easy if your professor assigns you the character to use, but if you have the ability to pick one yourself, you’ll need to choose wisely.

Choosing a character to use for a character analysis essay is usually a strategic decision. If your professor hasn’t assigned you a specific character to use, you’ll want to pick someone you know you can write a detailed and thoughtful essay about.

Generally, you want to avoid minor characters that don’t add much to the story because you won’t typically find a lot of information about them – certainly not enough for an entire essay. These characters don’t show a lot of development over time, which means they don’t have a lot of value to add. Not to mention, it’ll be hard to find external sources if your assignment instructions require those.

This doesn’t mean you have to pick the protagonist or main character, but it should be someone at least a little significant. In fact, if you choose the protagonist, the chances are that tons of your other classmates will do the same thing, and your professor doesn’t want to read 20 essays about one character. By the time they get to yours, the marking will get tougher.

In the next section, we’ll go over a list of the different types of characters usually found in a story to help you determine the best option for your assignment.

College student laying in her dorm room reading a book for her character analysis essay

Types of Characters in a Story

Firstly, to understand how to write a character analysis essay, you should understand the different types of characters that appear within a story, as well as how to identify them. The type of character you choose to analyze will impact your ability to create a well-rounded, in-depth discussion. You have to be able to identify the significance of a character, and choosing the wrong one can spell disaster for your project (and your grade, inevitably).

In the next few sections, we’ll dive into each of these types of characters in more detail, but here is the core list:

● The protagonist

● The antagonist

● Major characters

● Minor characters

● Dynamic characters

● Static characters

The Protagonist

The protagonist is the main character the story is about. Every single story ever told has at least one main protagonist – without one, your entire plot won’t have a leg to stand on.

Here are some examples of well-known protagonists in books, movies, and TV shows:

● Harry Potter in the Harry Potter series

● Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games series

● Ariel in Disney’s The Little Mermaid

● Romeo in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

● Frodo Baggins in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit series

● Charlie in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

● Lizzie McGuire in Disney’s Lizzie McGuire

● Alice in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland

● Wilbur in E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web

● Macbeth in Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Often, the protagonist is the hero of the story who goes through a journey or learns a valuable lesson. However, you could also encounter an anti-hero as a protagonist. An anti-hero is a main character that is morally ambivalent or doesn’t always do the right thing, or they do the right thing for the wrong reasons. They might do bad things, but the audience is still rooting for them (most of the time). Some examples of anti-heroes include Walter White from Breaking Bad, Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones, and Dexter in Dexter.

Another thing you should also remember here is that, while the protagonist often tells the story from their first-person perspective, the narrator of a story is not always the protagonist. Sometimes the narrator is a major or minor character looking in and telling the story, like Nick in The Great Gatsby.

The Antagonist

Usually the villain or “enemy,” the antagonist is the character in the opposite position to the protagonist. While it’s a common trope, the antagonist doesn’t always have to be the villain. It could just be someone who gets in the protagonist’s way or presents an obstacle for them, even if it’s well meaning.

Here are some examples of well-known antagonists in books, movies, and TV shows:

● Jafar in Disney’s Aladdin

● Lex Luthor in Superman

● Count Olaf in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

● Iago in Shakespeare’s Othello

● Regina George in Mean Girls

● Mr. Darcy in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

● Macduff in Shakespeare’s Macbeth

● Ursula in Disney’s The Little Mermaid

● The Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

● Long John Silver in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island

Female college student sitting outside reading a book in the sun

Major Characters

A major character is usually someone who is important to the story, but isn’t the protagonist. It could be a best friend, a sidekick, a parent or guardian, or even a close confidant or teacher. A love interest is also a type of major character, especially if that love interest goes along for the journey or causes some type of conflict for the protagonist.

Here are some examples of major characters:

● Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series

● Mercutio in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

● Miss Honey in Roald Dahl’s Matilda

● Lois Lane in Superman

● Daisy Buchanan in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

● Han Solo in the Star Wars saga

● Laurie Laurence in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women

● Jane Bennet in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

● Baloo in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book

● Marie in Disney’s The Aristocats

Minor Characters

Minor characters are usually side characters that don’t really add a whole lot to the actual plot of the story. They might be people who pop in every now and then, or someone who has to be included for the progression of the plot. For example, this could be someone’s family member or a bus driver that takes the protagonist to school each day.

Here are some examples of minor characters:

● Cinna in the Hunger Games series

● Eleanora Poe in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

● Aunt March in in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women

● Fleur Delacour in the Harry Potter series

● Rickon Stark in the Game of Thrones series

● Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

● Jock and Trusty in Disney’s Lady and the Tramp

● Wheezy in Disney’s Toy Story 2

● Maria Hill in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

● Mace Windu in the Star Wars saga

Remember – minor characters do matter ! It’s important to note that just because a character might be a minor character that doesn’t really get much of their own story, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t important, supportive to the plot, or loveable. If you can find enough information about a minor character’s background and involvement in the plot, you can certainly analyze them for your essay.

College student sitting outside reading a book to analyze

Dynamic Characters, Static Characters, and Foils

A dynamic character is someone who grows and changes as a person throughout the story. Usually the protagonist is a dynamic character who learns a lesson and becomes a better person. However, those changes don’t always have to be positive – in the Star Wars saga, Anakin Skywalker is a dynamic character whose arc goes from starting out as a good, heroic jedi to the evil Sith Lord Darth Vader.

Static characters generally stay the same throughout the story and don’t really experience any growth. Usually you don’t find out too much about static characters, like their background or personal history, but they’re there to play a specific role or be a symbolic character. Minor characters tend to be static characters as well.

Here is an example: In To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout Finch is a dynamic character because she learns throughout the story that it’s wrong to judge other people based on stereotypes and prejudices. Meanwhile, Atticus Finch is a static character because he has a strong moral code and sticks to it throughout the story, thereby teaching Scout not to judge others.

Foils are characters who exist as a contrast against the protagonist, usually to showcase certain aspects of their personality or qualities. This isn’t necessarily a villain or the antagonist, but someone who has different traits than the protagonist. For example, you could have a sweet and endearing character who is best friends with a cold, tough character.

George and Lennie in Of Mice and Men are a great example of character foils. While they are best friends, they are opposites: George is small, intelligent, and skinny, while Lennie is very large, strong, and mentally disabled. In presenting them as opposites, John Steinbeck showcases the individual traits and qualities of both of their personalities, as well as how they complete one another.

There are also a few different types of foils an author could use. Foils could be presented through a subplot, two contrasting objects, or a set of characters.

College student in her school library looking for a story to write about

How to Analyze a Character

Now that you know what character you’re going to analyze, it’s time to get to work! Go back to your text and make note of any detail you can think of about your character. Here is a list of things to consider when you’re getting started:

● Physical traits: What does the character look like? Do they have any identifying characteristics, like Harry Potter’s lightning bolt scar? This can include anything from hair colour to the clothing they wear, height and body type, and so on.

● Emotional traits: How does the character react to emotional situations? For example, are they cold and closed off, or are they more open with their feelings?

● Relationships: Who are the closest people to your character? Do they have a posse of best friends they work with, or a close family they confide in?

● Background: Where does the character come from? What is their occupation? Where do they live, and what kind of lifestyle do they have?

● Motivation: What drives your character to do the things they do? For example, in Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus Finch chooses to represent Tom Robinson even though he knows he will be attacked for it because he has a strong moral code and believes in justice.

● Moral Code: Is this character inherently good or bad? What are the intentions of their actions? For example, Superman and Captain America are both classic characters that have strong moral codes and live by them in everything they do.

● Values: What are your character’s values? Here are some examples of values your character could have: loyalty, spirituality, determination, jealousy, empathy or kindness, optimism, family, love, wealth, and so on.

● Objective: What is your character’s objective in life? It could be as simple as wanting to become or be wealthy, like Mr. Burns in The Simpsons, or wanting to free the world from evil, like Sam and Dean Winchester in Supernatural.

Here are some other questions to ask yourself while you analyze your text:

● How does the character speak?

● What words would you associate with your character? This can also be a great question to ask to figure out your character’s values.

● What is this character’s purpose in the story? In other words, if they aren’t the protagonist, how do they help or support them along their journey?

When in doubt, try filling out a template like this Ultimate Character Questionnaire from The Novel Factory. It’s designed to be used to create characters, but the questions on the list can be used to analyze existing characters when you need to determine how much you know about them.

Putting it All Together

Now that you understand what kind of traits and elements you’re looking for and have taken down some notes on your character, it’s time to start writing your essay and put it all together.

An analysis essay of any text, character, or theme boils down to your ability to dig deeper and go beyond the surface of your character’s story. You have to look for the points the author is trying to make, or the symbolism they are trying to represent.

For example, let’s say you’re doing an analysis on Harry Potter from any of the Harry Potter books. You’re not here just to talk about his signature glasses and lightning bolt scar or the fact that he lives in a cupboard under the Dursleys’ stairs. The goal is to identify the journey Harry embarks on and the lessons he learns along the way that help him grow as a person. How does he change from the time he arrives at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to the time he leaves, and what does this mean?

Closeup shot of a female student reading a book for her character analysis essay

The Anatomy of a Good Character Analysis Essay

As we say with any writing assignment, you should start with an outline. Your outline will help you keep track of the information you need to include, the order you should present it in, and the flow of your paper as a whole. It’s also a great way to avoid writer’s block because you can always go back and consult the outline if you get stuck.

Here is a basic outline for a good character analysis essay that you can follow: Paragraph 1: Introduction

● Start with a catchy hook.

● Give some background information on your character and the story they come from.

● End with your thesis statement .

Paragraph 2: Background Information and Identification

● Start with a topic sentence to introduce the paragraph.

● Describe your character: physical appearance, background, what type of character they are, their relationships, main characteristics, and so on.

● End with a transition sentence leading into the next paragraph.

Paragraph 3: Your Character’s Journey, Motivation, and Challenges

● Start with another great topic sentence to introduce the paragraph.

● Write about the main journeys, challenges, and obstacles your character goes through in the story.

● If your character is a dynamic character, describe how they grow and change throughout the course of the story.

● End with another transition sentence leading into the next paragraph.

Paragraph 4: Insights and Lessons Learned From the Character

● Again, start with a good topic sentence introducing the paragraph.

● In this paragraph, you can discuss the overall significance of the character and the lessons the audience can learn from them.

● End with a transition sentence summarizing your statements and leading into the conclusion.

Paragraph 5: Conclusion

● Start by restating your thesis statement in different words.

● Summarize the main points you’ve made about your character.

● End with a strong concluding sentence that leaves your reader with something to think about.

For more help structuring your essay, check out our blog on essay format . We go over all the elements you should include in your outline, as well as the right way to structure your paper for your specific assignment type.

Writing a Character Analysis Thesis Statement

Your thesis statement should concisely describe the points you’re making about your character and the overall conclusion you come to. It doesn’t need to hash out every detail you’ll write, but it should give the reader some idea of what your analysis is going to be about.

For example, if we continue with the example of a character analysis on Harry Potter and follow the outline above, your thesis statement might look something like this: “J.K. Rowling’s titular character Harry Potter begins his journey as a lonely, shy orphan boy who finds out he is actually a wizard; from the moment he sets foot on the Hogwarts grounds for the first time until he graduates, he follows the hero’s journey to discover the power of friendship, strength, and courage in order to beat evil Lord Voldemort.”

For more help writing a great thesis statement, or any other part of your essay, download our free essay writing ebook. This book contains over 150 pages of helpful advice, tips, and step by step information that will take you through every part of writing any type of academic essay.

Frustrated student laying with a story book on their head

Don’t Feel Like Writing Your Own Character Analysis Essay? Let us Take Care of it

When it comes to writing a really good character analysis essay that’s worth a large percentage of your grade, you may have some hesitations about doing it yourself when you aren’t comfortable with the concept. Fortunately, at Homework Help USA , we have a team full of experts who are more than comfortable to step in and help out.

Our writing team not only loves to read, but has written plenty of character analysis assignments during their respective academic careers. We’re more than happy to step in and help you get your grades to where you need them. If you need more reassurance, you can always check out our Sample Works page to see some of the papers we’ve done.

Get a free quote now for your character analysis assignment, or fill out our quick and easy online order form so one of our writers can get started for you.

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What Is a Character Analysis Essay and How to Write It?

how to write a thesis statement about a character

Different literary courses often require writing critical and analytical types of essays. One of such essays is a character analysis essay that a student has to perform on the chosen book character (in other cases, on the movie character). If you need to complete such an assignment, then our tips on this type of essay writing will definitely come in handy. Keep reading to know more about how to write such essays.

Preparing for Your Essay and Picking the Character

Every essay starts with a topic. In the case of a character analysis essay, you need to choose the character that you are going to describe and analyze. If the character is not specified and you need to make a choice, consider the following points:

  • You might choose a major character or a secondary one
  • Make sure to identify the relationship of your character with the others, his or her role in the story, the development through the plot and symbolism involved
  • Find the quotes and description of the character in the text – details of the appearance, mentality, features, etc. Choose the character whom you can find enough information about in the source.

Consider the type of a character

Before making your choice of a character or multiple characters to analyze, pay attention to the type of the character:

  • Protagonist — a positive character.
  • Antagonist — a negative one.
  • Foil — contrasts the major character.
  • Major — leading characters who dominate in the story, the center of the plot.
  • Minor — characters who appear in lesser episodes.
  • Dynamic — the one who constantly changes.
  • Static — the one who remains the same.

The type defines the place of the character in the story and should be mentioned in your essay as well as the significant meaning or the symbolism of the character.

Take your notes

Once you have decided on what specific character you are going to examine in your analysis essay, you can start gathering all the information that you can find. Look through the original source and write down:

  • All of the scenes that your character appears in
  • All of the characters he or she interacts with
  • Description of the character that the author provides
  • Scenes with the character

After you have all of your notes ready, you can start working on your essay.

Writing an Outline

Start your essay with creating a character analysis essay outline. Consider that character analysis essay has the structure that is pretty similar to any other type of academic writing that you usually perform.

  • Introduction. Make sure to start your essay with a catchy sentence. Quotes, intriguing questions or interesting facts make a great hook for character analysis essay. Also make sure to include your thesis statement that will represent your opinion, thoughts and the main idea of your essay. You can take your inspiration for your hook sentence from our article.
  • Body paragraphs. These paragraphs should contain the main information about the character, the description, facts, etc. Don’t forget to support your claims with the evidence – the quotes from the original source.
  • Conclusion. The summary of your text that restates your thesis statement and concludes the ideas in your essay.

If you would like to improve your writing skills , make sure to check some useful tips.

Writing an Introduction

An introduction is the main part of your essay as it sets the tone for the whole paper and catches the reader’s attention. If your introduction is good enough, it is a reason for a reader to continue reading further.

Make sure to make your character analysis essay introduction clear. Mention the main idea of your paper, which character you have chosen and why, what makes this character significant or what distinguishes him or her from the rest of the characters.

Also, phrase and write down your thesis statement. Sometimes your thesis statement might be unclear until you finish the body of your essay. So, if you are not sure about it, set it aside and write your body paragraphs.

Sample character analysis thesis statement

“ In his novel ‘Lord of the Rings,’ J. R. R. Tolkien makes Sam devoted, faithful, optimistic and to some extent naive to contrast and emphasize the loneliness and the vulnerability of Frodo caused by the ring. ”

If you want to find some other character analysis thesis examples, make sure to take a look at the samples works performed by our writing team. Or, you might also be interested in writing methods that famous writers used in their work which you can use too.

Writing the Body Paragraphs

The body paragraphs of your essay are the main representation of the information that you have found in the original source. They must include the quotes that will support your claims and provide a description of the character from the author’s perspective. You can also write a character analysis of multiple characters and their relationships.

Find the quotes that will provide a detailed description not only of the appearance of the character but also their relationships and the place of the character in the story. Make sure to provide your opinion and evolve your thesis statement idea, referring to the particular parts of the original source.

Writing a Conclusion

The analysis essay conclusion should be a summary of your work. Make sure to repeat your thesis statement in other words and add a brief explanation of your findings. You might also mention the correlation between the experience of the character in the story and the experience that we might get in real life, you might make a conclusion about the mistakes that the character has made.

Proofread and edit your essay. Make sure to check if your essay follows the guidelines of your teacher or professor. If you are still confused about the process of writing this kind of essay or face difficulties with particular essay topics, you can always turn to a professional writing team and ask for help. You can order your essay or ask for editing service here.

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