Character Analysis Essay
Essay # 1
You will be working over the next few weeks to write an essay of at LEAST Two FULL PAGES that analyzes a MAJOR character from ONE of the stories we have read in class.
You will choose one of the major characters from any of the stories we cover in the unit and analyze that character fully. You may choose a character from ANY of the stories in the unit, whether we have covered that story in class yet or not.
There will be an example paper in THIS WEEK’S Content Folder to use as a guide to what should be covered in an “A” paper for this assignment.
Remember you are looking at HOW the author created this character. What tools did he or she use so that we understand what it is that the author was trying to get us to see about the story… This is not just about describing the character, but how those traits work together to create meaning for the author.
When you write about literature you should write in the Historical Present Tense. Characters cannot change, and therefore, have no past or future. They will always be the same every time you look at them. That is why present tense is used. Instead of saying, “Miss Emily was an old fat woman in black,” you would say, “Miss Emily is an old fat woman in black.” Because every time you see her on that page, this is what she is. There is no past.
In order to get some perspective on your character try to look for the following ideas about the character you are writing about:
Pay attention to the ethics of the character. Does the character make a just or an unjust choice in the piece?
Decide whether the character’s actions are wise or unwise.
What is the character’s motivation? Why does he or she do what is done? This is a good point to ponder when looking at character analysis.
Consider the effects of the character’s behavior on other characters. How they behave can have an affect on others.
Look for repeatedly used words, images, or other descriptors for the characters. These may tell us something about the character.
Look for items that are associated with the character. Pieces of clothing or objects that are repeatedly associated with a character can be symbols and give us insight into that character’s personality.
Read between the lines. Often what a character does not say or do will tell us as much about that character as what they do or say.
Consider the type of the character. Is the character flat (Static, not changing) or Round (Dynamic and changing)?
Consider the historical time period of the piece. Does the character conform to the social norms of the time, or is he or she a rebel?
What does the author think? Look for any of the author’s own judgments about the characters he or she has created as these ideas may lead you toward an intended interpretation of the character.
Remember to follow the guidelines in your handouts and on the power point for writing about Lit. Papers must be typed in Times New Roman font of 12 pt. size and be saved as a Microsoft Word (doc or docx) or Rich Text Format (rtf) file.
Introductions to lit papers MUST include the name of the piece and the name of the author. They should expose your subject and end with a strong thesis that explores a particular character trait and at least three solid examples of how that trait was seen in the story.
Body paragraphs should include SPECIFIC and CITED examples from the story in the form of quotations. Quotes should be used to PROVE the ideas you are putting forth about the character. They should NOT BE USED FOR SUMMARY. All quotations must be cited appropriately. If you use the name of the author and the work in the intro, you only need to use page numbers in the citations.
You will also need to use at LEAST ONE critical article (Academic Journal Article) to help you support your ideas from an online database. The online databases at the UAM or ATU Library sites (J-Stor , The MLA International Bibliography or Project Muse are the best). That article should be cited appropriately as well.
Conclusions should give your final impression of the story after reminding us of the thesis.
(NO I OR YOU) All papers in Comp. II are in Third Person Academic Voice.
WORKS CITED PAGE IS A MUST. Use the citation for a work in an anthology for the story itself. If you choose a story that is not in our book, let me know which one and I will help you with the works cited information. All entries on the works cited page should be in full and correct MLA format. See your handbook. The entry for the critical article will most likely be done as a work from an online database. Remember these articles were in print at one time, so page numbers are a MUST.
Ask lots of questions and try to send me pieces of the paper to pre-view. Get someone to proofread your work. If you are sending work to me with specific questions, do so at the latest three to four days before the paper is due. I cannot do it the night before and promise to get it back to you on time. Also, I will not simply proofread your paper for mistakes. You need to ask specific questions about your work.