Character AnalysisWhat do I do for character analysis?

Expert Answers
sharrons eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When we analyze a character to look at that character closely and try to figure out what motivates them to do what they do?  Or we try to figure out how they became the person that they are.

We try to figure this things out by examining the novel closely, paying attention to:

1.  The character's dialogue

2. How do other characters describe the character?

3. How does the narrator describe the character?

4.  How does the character react in different situations.

5. How does the character change or not change over the course of the novel.


Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I like the previous posts' assertions on how to do a character analysis.  What has always helped my students (and myself) is to engage in a reflection about the question, "What is this character like?"  What things do they like?  What motivates them?  If I were to meet this person in real life, how would I receive them?  The answers to these questions can be gained from the text, the experiences in it, the author's implied and direct statements.  Essentially, a good character analysis consists of being able to take what is there and create an essay that has this analysis present.

Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When you analyze a character well, you should be able to answer these questions in some detail: What kind of person is this, and how do we know? Using the guidelines in the previous post should help you answer both of those questions.

In addition to what others say about your character, you can  consider what others think and feel, as well. Sometimes what one character says about another character is different from what he or she really thinks. Also, another way to unlock characters is to consider how they react to their surroundings.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Choose a character that is very developed.  This is often the main character, but it does not have to be.  Then make a map of the character's physical traits, and his or her personality traits.  This will get you started on analyzing the character, and the character's impact in the story.

krishna-agrawala | Student

I believe you are asking for guidance in writing an essay describing and analysing the nature of a character or other objects in a story or a novel.

The most important task in writing a character analysis is to first read the source story or novel and understanding the character adequately. While you do this you can also take down notes on the passages that serve to show some important traits of the character. Once this has been done you can start with the task of writing the character analysis.

The first part of the essay is introduction in which you need to identify the character and the source where it appears. You will also need to describe in a sentence or two the overall nature of the character.

This is followed by the main body. You need to start by identifying all major traits of the character. This should cover both the strengths and weaknesses.

Next comes detailed description of each trait of the character. This is best done by giving quotations from the source which displays the trait and then explains how the quotation supports your point. In this way you can cover, one by one all the traits you intend to discuss.

You can end the essay with a small concluding paragraph.

epollock | Student

Character analysis is analyzing those factors (characteristics and traits) that make up the essence of the person.

Chaucer had a simplified view of character analysis. It came down to:

1) What the chacter said.

2) What the character did.

3) What the character thought.

4) What the character wore.

5) What the narrator says about the character.

6) What other chracters say about the character.

So, for you to write a character analysis, you would simply find evidence for those and then determine why the evidence is the way it is. You should try to analyze those traits and characteristics in which the character performs them.