What do we write when we analyze somebody's character?

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mrs-campbell's profile pic

mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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The best thing is to write about that person's personality attributes, or their personality traits.  For example, are they patient, funny, a hard worker, imaginative, whiney, pessimistic or stubborn?  Pick out several personality traits that you feel that character demonstrates.  Then, if possible, try to find quotes from the book that show that person's personality in action.  If that person is stubborn, find a part in the book where the person says something stubborn, and use that as an example to support your writing.

Another thing to focus on, but not as much as their personality, is their physical appearance and age.  Describe how they look, how old they are, and what time period they are in.  Then go on to describe the personality traits that you have chosen, along with examples.

Lastly, it is good to make some conclusions about their character; write down some personal thoughts about who they are, or who you think they will become.  Maybe guess how their traits will help them or hurt them in their lives.  Maybe recommend some solutions or warnings or bits of advice to give that character, based on what you know about them so far.

So, describe their physical stats, then their personality traits with examples, and draw some conclusions about their character on your own.  I hope that those thoughts help to get you started!  I also provided a link below to an eNotes tutorial that will lead you right to a detailed description of exactly how to do a character analysis.  Good luck!

dalepowell1962's profile pic

dalepowell1962 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

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When analyzing a character in a story, we look to see how much we know about that character.  Ask yourself if the we know quite a bit about the character from his or her own actions or does the author use a lot of stereotypes from which we can draw a conclusion.  Look at what motivates the character-why is he or she in this story?  What is this character's appearance like and what, if anything, does that say about the character.  Also, look at some of the direct actions of the character.  What does this say about the character?

This should get you started.  Depending on how in-depth you need to go, you might look up terms such as static character, protagonist, antagonist, foil, dynamic character....all of these are discussed at various places on eNotes.com.

lorrainecaplan's profile pic

Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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When we analyze a character in literature, we may write about that person's qualities and how those qualities influence the character's "life" in the story. Often it is a particular quality that makes something happen (or not happen) in the story.  One way to begin thinking about character analysis is to ask what it is about a particular character that makes his or her "story" turn out in a certain way.  For example, a character might be cowardly, cause someone to die because of cowardice, and suffer guilt for the rest of his life.  A character might be too proud and suffer because of pride.  A character might be impulsive, make poor decisions, and influence the outcome of the story through that poor decision-making.  

Think about the character you are analyzing.  Jot down some notes about this person's qualities.  Jot down some notes about how these qualites influenced the story.  That will give you a thesis statement you can support with details about the character and the story.    

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