How does one write an essay on character?

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Characters are revealed by what they say or think, what they do, and what others say or think about them. Look at that first. Decide what the major conflicts they are facing and address that. Finally, I always suggest that literature is about change. How do the characters change from beginning to middle to end? What causes those changes? Where do they occur? Is there a turning point? An epiphany? A climax? Are decisions made? Are actions taken? Focus on these elements and you will not get caught up in a plot rehash. Use quotes for support and you will not just generalize about the story, play, or novel.

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Another approach to a character essay is to look at "indirect characterization" techniques used and what do they all seem to point to.  In this essay, rather than looking at multiple characteristics and proving them from text, you look at multiple parts of the text and see if it all points to one or two characteristics (if you use two, make sure they compliment one another).  I think this is an easier approach, personally.  In this, you might choose one indirect characterization technique for each body paragraph, and show how all three (or more if you want more than a 5 paragraph essay) all seem to point to one or two unique character traits.

Indirect characterization is done by looking at:

- character's thoughts
- character's actions
- character's words    -and-
- other character's reactions to the character

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