How to Write a Character Analysis: Tips and Examples from the Literature - TCK Publishing (2023)

How to Write a Character Analysis: Tips and Examples from the Literature - TCK Publishing (1)

Have you ever wondered about the effect of a character on the plot of a book? What was it about this character that made her so impactful?

By conducting a character analysis, you can gain fascinating insight into the workings of some of literature's most memorable characters, giving you a deeper understanding (and therefore a greater appreciation) of the story. This practice will also help you develop empathy, which is one of the most important benefits of reading and writing fiction.

In this post, we'll walk you through the essentials of a complete character analysis, as well as tips and examples for writing your own.

What is character analysis?

In literature, a character analysis is when you evaluate a character to see what their role is in the larger story. They take an in-depth look at their personalities, their traits, their role in the story, and the conflicts they go through.

Analysis requires you to think critically by asking questions and considering different perspectives:

1. Character traits

When analyzing the character, ask yourself: how does this character behave? What is his personality type? What are his motivations? How are they related to the other characters in the story?

Most of the time, the author does not name these qualities directly, but they can be observed in the scenes that unfold. for example inblown by the wind,The author never says that Scarlett is manipulative, but that's the word that comes to mind as we read scene after scene as she plans to get what she wants.

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Some of the areas to consider when trying to analyze a character's traits are:

  • Motivation:What drives you to do what you do? What is your biggest dream? your biggest fear?
  • Behavior:How do they behave? How do you treat other people? Do they think things through carefully or do they jump in without a second thought?
  • Words:How you talk? Are your words cynical, sarcastic, or bitter, or are they kind and tender? Do they use a lot of religious words or do they use slang?
  • Other prints:How do the other characters see her? Are they respected, feared or despised? Because?
  • Nicknames:Think about hearing the difference between someone named Grumpy Moe and Little Moe. What nicknames are associated with the character? Why are they known by that name?

2. The role of the character

Is the character a leading, supporting, or supporting actor in the story? Obviously, the main characters tend to be more complex and play a crucial role in the story. They can also undergo transformations throughout the story. On the other hand, the supporting characters may not change as much since they are not involved in as many scenes.

is the character ofHeroor theAdversaryin the history? The protagonist refers to the main character going through the main conflict, usually caused by the antagonist (who can be a person or a non-human force).

A traditional way of distinguishing the two types of characters is that the protagonist is the good guy and the antagonist is the bad guy, it's just that it's not always so clear that one is good and the other bad. They can be complex combinations of good and bad qualities; Instead, think of the antagonist as the opposing force.

Examples of protagonists and antagonists are as follows:

  • Little Red Riding Hood:The protagonist is the girl and the antagonist is the wolf.
  • harry potter: The protagonist is Harry Potter, the antagonist is Lord Voldemort.
  • Robinson Crusoe:The protagonist is Robinson Crusoe, the antagonist is his desert island environment.

3. The conflict and transformation of your character

As part of your character analysis, take a look at theConflictof the story What is the main conflict? How do you react? Do they get stronger, lose control, form new relationships, break other relationships, or discover new things about themselves?

Then look at how the conflict and all the events of the plot affect your protagonist or the character you are analyzing. Do they grow as a result or do they withdraw into themselves?

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A quick way to figure out how something is affecting your protagonist is to pay attention to verbal cues like “she suddenly realized…” or “she finally knew…” or “it was the first time that”. ."

How to format your analysis

Like most essays, a character analysis often has an introduction, a body, and a conclusion:

  • Introduction:Introduce the character you are writing about and use a goodHookto arouse the curiosity of your readers.
  • Body:In this section, use a couple of paragraphs to describe the character's traits, his role, and the transformation he's going through (you can write a paragraph for each of the sections described above).
  • Diploma:Summarize your essay in this section and highlight the key qualities you found.

What is an example of character analysis?

Here's an original example of Scarlett O'Hara's character analysis.blown by the windde Margaret Mitchell:


Anyone who has met Scarlett O'Hara will surely do a double take and be drawn to her charm. But for some reason she doesn't lead a happy home life. Is it her attitude? Is it because of the difficult circumstances in her life? Is it because of the choices that she has made? In this essay we will discover why.


Scarlett O'Hara is the main character in Margaret Mitchell's book Gone with the Wind. She is the daughter of a wealthy landowner in the years before the Civil War. In her youth she is the beauty of all parties, the boys eat from her hand. But when her lifelong crush, Ashley, dumps her, she wants to make him jealous by dating another guy, whom she ends up marrying right before he leaves for war.

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When her husband dies, that rash decision leaves Scarlett a young widow with a baby yearning for her old life of partying, dancing, and fun. This causes all the neighbors to look down on her, but she doesn't care. She wants to enjoy life. Along the way, she meets Rhett Butler, an enigmatic man who drifts in and out of her life. This shows us how selfish and manipulative he is, and as we read we keep hoping he will change.

When the civil war breaks out, Scarlett volunteers at the hospital to care for wounded soldiers while still pining for Ashley, now married to a girl named Melanie. It seems her heart isn't really in the job and she was only forced to do it because everyone else was expecting her to volunteer.

Struggling with the effects of the war, she and Melanie return to their home only to find it in ruins. The experience makes her swear to never be poor again, and she plots and finds a way to marry a rich man for her money. Once married, she goes into business despite her husband's disapproval, demonstrating her resourcefulness and cunning to earn money, even though everyone hates her. Again we see her manipulative attitude and the way she always gets what she wants even if she hurts others.

Eventually, she marries Rhett Butler, who discovers her continuing crush on Ashley but continues to love her. She avoids him and longs for Ashley. After encountering a dying Melanie, she realizes that she doesn't really love Ashley and has taken advantage of Rhett when she comes back to him as a different woman, only to discover that she has finally abandoned her.


Scarlett O'Hara is a complex character whose manipulative schemes continually get her into trouble. It's easy to sympathize with the problems caused by the Civil War, but it's just as easy to hate them for their selfish decisions.

Tips for analyzing a character

Writing a character analysis is a great way to take a deeper look at how a character behaves in a story and how their decisions drive the plot.

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Through this analysis, we can also gain insight into the choices we make in our own lives and the consequences that follow from them.

Was this review helpful? Let us know in the comments below!

If you liked this post, you may also like:

  • How to write a rhetorical analysis: 6 steps and an outline for your next essay
  • How to Write a Reflection Paper in 5 Steps (Plus Template and Sample Essay)
  • 60 questions for your characters
  • How to Write a Literature Analysis: 6 Tips for the Perfect Essay

How to Write a Character Analysis: Tips and Examples from the Literature - TCK Publishing (2)

Yen Kabag

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Yen Kabagis the author of the TCK Publishing blog. She is also a homeschooling mom, family coach, and spokesperson for the Charlotte Mason Method, an educational philosophy that emphasizes classic literature and masterpieces of art and music. She has also written several books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her passion is turning the next generation of children into enthusiasts of reading and learning with short attention spans.


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