Your task is to write a five paragraph character analysis essay about a character from a piece of literature.

The Character Analysis Essay
Your task is to write a five paragraph character analysis essay about a character from a piece of
literature. Once you have chosen a character to analyze, choose three adjectives or descriptive
phrases which you can apply to the character; these are traits that the character possesses.
You will organize the body of your essay around these three traits.
Introduction: In this first paragraph, you will introduce your character. Be creative.

Use an
anecdote, a telling quote or incident from the story, or a summary of how the character changes
throughout the story to engage your reader. Remember, your first line must be interesting and
must introduce the full name of the author and the title of the short story (in quotation marks).
Your introduction should be roughly 5-6 good sentences. Note: remember after using the
author’s first and last name in the first sentence of the essay, you will use the author’s last name
only in the rest of the essay.


Thesis Statement: This sentence is the last sentence of your introductory paragraph.
This sentence will inform the reader what he or she will read in your essay. The thesis
should include the character’s name and the 3 adjectives.

MODEL THESIS: Throughout the novel To Kill a Mockingbird, Jem Finch evolves
from a child to adolescent by becoming more mature socially, more enlightened
about the world around him, and more brave from personal experiences.
This is a good thesis because the reader knows the first body paragraph will show how
Jem is becomes more mature based on his social interactions, the second will
demonstrate how he becomes enlightened based what is happening in his “world”, and
the third demonstrates the bravery he gains from experiences throughout the novel.
Also, the descriptors are vivid and apt for the character.

BAD THESIS: In this essay, I will show you how Jem is spoiled, stubborn, and
childish.
Remember, never write “in this essay” or use “you” in formal compositions.

Body Paragraph #1: Your topic sentence includes the first adjective listed in your thesis
statement to describe your character. You will support that topic sentence with 3 examples from
the story. You can also incorporate quotations from the story in providing your examples. Make
sure you explain the connection between the examples and the trait. This paragraph should be
6-8 good sentences in length.

Body Paragraph #2: Your topic sentence includes the second adjective listed in your thesis
statement to describe your character. You will support that topic sentence with 3 examples from
the story. You can also incorporate quotations from the story in providing your examples. Make
sure you explain the connection between the examples and the trait. This paragraph should be
6-8 good sentences in length.

Body Paragraph #3: Your topic sentence includes the third adjective listed in your thesis
statement to describe your character. You will support that topic sentence with 3 examples from
the story. You can also incorporate quotations from the story in providing your examples. Make
sure you explain the connection between the examples and the trait. This paragraph should be
6-8 good sentences in length.
All body paragraphs need to have a topic sentence, transitions into your evidence of the
characteristic, evidence to support your claim, and explanation of your evidence.

Conclusion: Summarize your main points. Restate your thesis statement, but make sure you
reword it. Provide some final, creative thoughts about the character. This is the last paragraph
your audience reads, so make it good (4-5 sentences).
Quotation Requirements: You must include the page number of the quotation and introduce or
lead in the quotation properly. For example: When telling about Jem’s attempt to touch the
Radley house, Scout tells the reader, “In all his life, Jem never declined a dare” (29).
(Notice how I introduced the quotation, where I put the quotation marks, and how I noted
the page number.)


NOTE: If you are writing about Welty’s “A Worn Path,” then you will use the page
numbers from the textbook. If you are writing about Maupassant’s “The Diamond
Necklace,” you will omit the page numbers because the story is not in the book. Since
that story is from the Alabama Virtual Library, there are no page numbers.
Guidelines:


o You need an introduction, three body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
o Your direct quotations should be no more than three lines long each.
o Use the MLA heading and page format from the Essay Formatting link.
o The paper must be typed; 12 point font; Times New Roman; one-inch margins;
double-spaced.
o Your essay must have a creative title. Character Analysis, Jem, or something to
that effect does not work.
o Include an MLA Works Cited page at the end of the essay to coincide with your in-text
citations. Your only entry on your Works Cited page will be for the story about which you
are writing.
o Here are the Works Cited entries for both of the stories:
Welty, Eudora. “A Worn Path.” Compact Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing / 2016 MLA
Update Edition. Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. Cengage Learning, 2017,
464-469. Print.
Maupassant, Guy de. “The Diamond Necklace.” Translated by Michael Monahan. LitFinder

Classic Collection, Gale, 2018. LitFinder,
http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/LTF0000439851WK/GLS?u=avlr&sid=GLS&xid=cf5d5f
ad. Accessed 9 Sept. 2018.
Writing Tips You Must Follow (or lose points):
o Avoid contractions (can’t, won’t, etc.) unless they are used in a quotation.
o Don’t use slang or common words (thing, stuff, etc.), unless those words are used in a
quotation.


o Write only in third person. Don’t use “you” or “I.”
o Do not underline or put your own essay title in quotations. Do put the title of the short story
about which you are writing in quotation marks.
o Use specific, vivid, and detailed incidents and examples from the story to support your
thesis, but do not “retell” the whole story.
o Fix all comma splice errors, run-ons, and sentence fragments.
o Run spell check, but remember that it won’t catch the wrong use of words
(hear/here; their/there/they’re).
o Write in all present tense. Literature never “ends”; works continue on for a new reader.
o Fix all typing errors.
o Make sure all paragraphs are indented a half an inch. Press the “tab” key once to indent
your paragraphs.

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