Choose a vibrant character
While some teachers will directly assign you which character to investigate, there are some who will give you the freedom to choose. Use this to your advantage and pick an influential, dynamic character, approachable, but still complex. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the protagonist, but a figure who has some potential, who is not flat, and seems to have something to hide.
For instance, Raskolnikov, the protagonist of “Crime and Punishment” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, is a great character to analyze. He has multiple facets and many inner mysteries to solve. There is a great storyline weaved around him, his intrinsic struggles are beyond intriguing, while the interaction he has with other characters reveals so many things about him. He is constantly involved in different events while experiencing many changes throughout the story – and this is what makes him perfect for a writing of this sort.
Explore the relations between characters
Once you have chosen the right character to analyze, read the story again. Surely your perspective will change once you restrain the action around your chosen personage. Observe the way he or she interacts with other characters and extract the traits revealed by such an interaction. Going back to Raskolnikov, one can tell that he is a good-hearted person by the way he takes care of his beloved sister, Dunechka, who sacrifices her happiness to save him, by marrying a man she doesn’t love. Raskolnikov remains faithful to his family despite his act of crime. This is a great feature to explore.
Moreover, pay attention to dialogues, because there could be many details about your characters hidden between the lines. Experienced essay writers often make subtle suggestions instead of clearly stating, so open your eyes.
We suggest you always have a notebook handy, to take notes while you’re reading. Note down any information you might find useful to draft the portrait of your character. Highlight important paragraphs, relevant for your essay, and then gather them all together. Is there a main idea, a powerful motivation that makes your character special? Make it the centerpiece of your essay. For instance, Raskolnikov’s spirit of justice is highly noticeable throughout the story. You can weave the entire analysis around this one feature, outlining its importance Dostoyevsky’s literary act.
Keep your thoughts in order
When writing a character analysis essay, it is easy to get lost on the way. Order is the key when displaying the main features of a character. Don’t go with the flow, you’ll risk writing chaotically, losing your character’s depth, while his or her importance can diminish significantly.
Draw a first painting: the physical appearance
How does your character look? What does it tell about him or her? The physical appearance can reveal many details about your character’s behavior. See how Dostoyevsky describes Raskolnikov’s aspect: “exceptionally handsome, above the average in height, slim, well-built, with beautiful dark eyes and dark brown hair.” He looks like an exceptional young man, strong and attractive, maybe a little too confident. Compare the first impression with the latter, right before he finds himself in such a miserable state, that he barely eats. Explore this conflict and explain how it eventually got to shape the Raskolnikov’s character.
Complete the painting: the personality
Your character’s personality is strongly related to his or her background. This ultimately shapes one’s personality, so it is only natural to consider it when analyzing your character. There might be details hidden in an innocent childhood story, for instance, of only one or two paragraphs. Pay attention to them and draw out the essential.
Describing the character’s personality is the hardest part, especially if he or she plays an important role. Complex characters are amazing and examining them is a quest for your own understanding.
As a matter of fact, the entire process of writing a character analysis essay is revealing and self-proving. Another good reason to do your best.
Need help with your character analysis essay?
Sure, writing a great character analysis essay takes a lot of time – not only for writing but also for reading and analyzing the information. So, if your deadline is already looming, Elite Essay Writers are here to help! Our professional team consists of literary experts who will gladly write an A+ character analysis essay for you!