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How to Write a Character Analysis. 7 th Grade Challenge ELA. Methods/techniques of characterization.  Places to look for analysis.  Before writing a character analysis paper, you need to list the characteristics that you will analyze. 1. APPEARANCE AND NAME .

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How to write a character analysis

How to Write a Character Analysis

7th Grade

Challenge ELA

How to write a character analysis

1 appearance and name

  • A possible place to look for analysis is in the names of the characters.

  • List the direct characterization of a character's appearance.  Before writing a character analysis paper, list the qualities of appearance that the author has given you.  Then try to analyze how the appearance develops the character.

2 actions

  • We know a lot about a person by the way he or she behaves. 

  • If the person cries a lot, we assume something about his or her character. 

  • If a man is always breaking up with his girlfriends, there is something we can assume about him.

  • To begin, list actionsof each characters.  Then analyze how these actions define the characteristics of each characters.

3 speech

  • As with action, we know a lot about a person by what he or she says. 

  • Also, we know a lot about a person by how the person says something.  Is the character extremely sarcastic?

  • To begin, list some dialogue that shows some characteristics of the character.

4 thoughts and feelings

  • Look for thoughts and feelings of a character that demonstrates to you some characteristics of the character.

    •    If a character always feels guilty, what does this say about the person?  Does he have a low self-esteem?  Is he extremely religious?  

  • To begin, list thoughts and feelings of each characters.  Then analyze how these thoughts and feelings define the characteristics of each characters.

5 choices

  • As choices are made, they reveal the character's value and self-concept.

    • If a character decides to help volunteer at the shelter, what does this say about her?  If she decides to cheat on her husband, what does this say about?

  • List the choices of each characters.  Then analyze what these choices say about the character.  How do they add to the indirect characterization?

6 past biography

  • We are often told that we are the products of our early environment and our past experiences.  If a character comes from an abusive family, does this make sense out of how he is today?

  • Examine family history, nationality, education, significant life experiences.  Remember that when writing a character analysis paper you are thinking like a psychiatrist or a detective.  You are trying to figure out what makes the character tick.

7 comments about other characters

  • We can learn a lot about a character when another character or the narrator says something about him or her.

  • *A lot of the above comes from chapter 4 in Writing about Literature: Step by Stepby Pat McKeague.

Analysis paper
Analysis Paper:

  • After you have figured out what traits you are going to use as your focus, or limiting ideas, it is time to write the paper.

  • Step 1: write your thesis. 

  • Step 2: write your topic sentences.

  • Step 3: Write your body paragraphs using TIQA

  • Step 4: Write introduction.

  • Step 5: Write conclusion.


  • Your thesis should consist of a topic and limiting ideas.  It should never be a question.  The thesis is the answer to a question that seems important to you. 

  • For example, what character traits make it possible for Viola to be successful with her disguise?

  • Thesis – In “Twelfth Night” by William Shakespeare, the character Viola is successful with her disguise because of her commitment to the Duke, her similar appearance to her brother, and her obviously clever mind.

  • The thesis is a road map for your readers to follow your argument.  It should do the organizing for you.  

Topic sentence
Topic Sentence:

  • Since a paragraph is a group of sentences that share a single idea, the topic sentence must have two parts:

  • Topic

  • Limiting Idea

How to write a character analysis

  • Your body paragraphs should provide a topic sentence.  The rest of the paragraph should provide context for a quote or a paraphrase example.  Then you should provide that example.  After you provide that example, you should explain how it supports your thesis statement. 

  • DO NOT merely tell your reader what the quote means; this can lead to summary.  You need to analyze.

  • Follow TIQA:

  • Topic sentenceIntroduce quote: put the quote into context.Quote: provide your quoteAnalyze: explain to the reader the importance of the quote and how it supports your topic sentence.

Additional paragraphs
Additional Paragraphs:

  • Transition sentence: transition from the first example to your second example.Introduce quote: introduce your second piece of evidence.Quote: provide your second quote.Analyze: analyze your second quotes, and if possible, tie the two pieces of evidence together to make a larger argument.


  • Topic Sentence:  In her school without walls, Miss Moore provides a hands-on                                   education that forces the students to discover new knowledge.Introduce Quote: After sitting around for a while in the impoverished neighborhood, Miss Moore tells her students to get into a cab, which delivers them to the classroom for the day: FAO Schwarz.  While in the cab, Miss MooreQuote:                   "hands [Sylvia] a five dollar bill and tells [her] to calculate 10 percent tip for the driver" (2).Analysis:              Miss Moore uses the cab ride as a teachable moment.  This is a sign of a great teacher.  Miss Moore does more for Sylvia in those few moments than probably most of Sylvia's math teachers at school.  Typically American education assumes that knowledge can be jammed into a student's mind. Miss Moore provides a practical basis for the knowledge and allows the                                  student to come to it on her own.

  • Transition:            Using teachable moments and hands-on education works for Miss Moore more effectively when she applies these teaching strategies to greater life lessons, such as the lesson on dispelling the American dream.


  • Your introduction paragraph is the first paragraph for your essay.  It is best to start with something general.  You want to grab your reader's attention.  Then you want to inform your reader about what you writing.  You want to finish the introduction paragraph with the argument for the paper--the thesis.

  • Follow ANT:  

  • Attention-Getter: First sentence or two should be an attention-getter.  There are multiple ways to have make up an attention-getter.

  • Necessary information:Necessary information includes:

  • Author's full name

  • Title of the story

  • Brief plot summary

  • Thesis: The last sentence of your introduction should be your thesis.

Attention getters

  • Attention-getter: different ways to write an attention-getter:

  • rhetorical question (students often misuse this)

  • relevant quote from an outside source

  • relevant quote from the story

  • fact or statistic

  • description of initial response to the work

  • shocking or amusing generalization.


  • Your conclusion should not merely be a summary.  Rather, it should restate and reemphasize your thesis. 

  • It should show the importance of the analysis that you have been making in the paper. 

  • You should also try to provide a clincher, which might come back to your attention-getter.