I have to write a character analysis and I don't have a clue how to start the paper for this.I am using Matt Fowler from Killings by Dubus.

Expert Answers
clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When writing essays with somewhat vague instructions, I always find it easiest to create an open ended question for myself to answer.  This question is written to set the focus for my paper.  When it comes to characterization, you have a few approaches you could take.  Characterization, in one sense, is an analysis of a character's personality.  Who is he? In another way, characterization shows how a dynamic character changes.  In this case, I might begin brainstorming answers to one or more of the following questions:

  1. What kind of a person (character) was Matt Fowler and how do you know this?
  2. What did Matt Fowler value most and how does he show this?
  3. How does Matt Fowler change from the beginning to the end of the story?

Once you've brainstormed a list of ideas (use the text and include quotes wherever you can) for one of the above questions, you have a good start.  Looking at your evidence, try to answer one of the questions in a well written, complete sentence, which ultimately must be proven.  This sentence will become your thesis statement.

Next, organize your list into 3 categories.  These will become your three body paragraphs.  To make this easier, you can consider the different modes of indirect characterization and fit evidence into each: thoughts, actions, reactions of others, dialogue, and appearance.  Another organization category for characterization could simply be direct characterization where the author simply tells distinct details about the character.