I. Task: Using the multi-paragraph format, you will write a character analysis of a
character from The Great Gatsby, including: Nick Carraway, Jay Gatsby, Tom
Buchanan, Daisy Buchanan, Jordan Baker, George Wilson, and Myrtle Wilson.
The major character trait you have chosen for subject will be your central idea. You will
brainstorm many of these, including, but not limited to: insecurity, fearfulness, timidity,
introversion, self-loathing, to confidence, ego, braveness, etc.
It is imperative that you learn everything possible about your character and how they
relate to specific circumstances or individuals to write a complete analysis.
Form for your essay: Your essay needs an introduction, body paragraphs, and a
A. Your introduction: A good introduction attracts the reader's attention, includes basic
information about the novel, states the central idea of your essay, and provides direction
for the reader as to how you will go about developing your essay.
1. You need to create a lead-in, which attracts the reader's attention and sparks interest,
a desire to read your essay.
2. After presenting a general lead-in to your central idea, you must make the transition
to the use of this idea in your essay.
You must include
the name of the novel and the author
your central idea (the character trait you see surfacing in your character)
a thesis statement: (It lets the reader know the nature and order of your subtopics of development. It is important
to include it because it does serve a purpose and tends to keep the inexperienced writer on topic and organized).
B. Body Paragraphs: These develop the subtopics you have chosen to demonstrate
the character trait. Whichever type of organization you have chosen -- grouping
according to the methods of character revelation or by scene or by some combination-each body paragraph should have a clear topic sentence, so that a method of
organization is evident. Each should use clear and accurate detail from the text. You
need to explain what is happening in the scene and who is involved, creating context for
your example. Remember, if you are using methods of character revelation as an
organizing tool and are only focusing one method of character revelation from the
scene, you still need to give detail about the scene involved, who is present and what is
happening. With either method of organization, you also need to interpret detail to
shape it to your point, having the character trait surface. You should use at least
TWO properly presented and documented quotation in your body paragraphs.
C. Conclusion: Consider speculating upon the possible consequences of what you
have shown you’re your character. It would be interesting to see how accurate you
might be. OR you could explain how the trait and the impact of what you have shown
relates to a context outside the novel, your own life or the world about you.
Writing the lead-in for your essay
You could speculate on the nature of the trait you pose:
Most of us feel insecure at times or in certain situations. We may feel uncomfortable
when meeting new people or when the spotlight of a moment is turned upon us. We feel
vulnerable, isolated. However, for most of these are only moments in life and not the
usual environment in which we live. The moments end. We regain our sense security
You could pose a question for the reader and then proceed to answer it:
When was the last time you felt fear? Maybe you were afraid of being punished for
something you had done or maybe a situation at school suddenly erupted into violence
and you felt that flash, that bolt of fear down your spine. Fear is a natural response to a
tense situation or potential danger; however, when it becomes a general reaction to the
world around you, perhaps something is very wrong.
You could create a brief scene for the reader, which shows the power of the trait on an
individual: When I was twelve I remember an argument my parents had. I do not
remember all the details or the issues involved. I only remember the impact of insecurity
it produced as I watched that which I considered my world, my family, falling away.
Example Introduction from Toni Morrison’s novel, The Bluest Eye:
When I was twelve I remember an argument my parents had. I do not remember all the
details or the issues involved. I only remember the impact of insecurity it produced as I
watched that which I considered my world, my family, falling away. In my mind I see
brief yet hurtful images -- my mother, drunken and angry, storming away into the night,
threatening to take the car and leave; A memory of my father, letting the air out of the
tires of the family car; Screaming voices finally cutting a path to sleep as I become too
exhausted to follow the aftermath of the argument I do not understand; my father telling
me to change the car tire in the morning and me feeling that that is not really enough to
fix the family. This distant memory was a first taste of insecurity for me, a brief
earthquake that roared through the stability of my family. In The Bluest Eye by Toni
Morrison, Pecola, a young girl who briefly touches the life the narrator, Claudia, is
depicted as a girl devastatingly insecure about her place in the world. Several scenes
involving both her family and those she encounters outside her family illustrate this
young girl's overwhelming sense of insecurity.
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