The following assignment idea is to teach analysis with a literary focus. Students will be analyzing one character from a chosen piece of fiction.
Begin the character analysis paper with the following steps:
Read the short story thoroughly the first time to formulate a basic opinion.
Upon the second reading highlight every reference to the character that you choose to analyze.
Now read through the highlighted sections and label each section according to the six elements of character analysis: appearance, speech, actions, words of others, environment, thoughts/feelings.
As a prewrite, now make a list of each of the six areas (each on a separate sheet of paper), writing down the quotes you highlighted and the page # for each.
Review the pages and select those elements with the most detail for your paper (of course, the short story may not exhibit all six of the characteristics, or you may only find one or two examples for a characteristic that will not be used in the paper).
Of the selected character analysis traits, read over them carefully and at the bottom of the page write your interpretation of this character—or what these examples tell us about the character.
Now use the interpretations you wrote as the topic sentences of your body paragraphs and use the examples from the text (which should now be paraphrased as much as possible) to support your interpretations.
The Intro and Conclusion of the paper:
The intro should of course give the name of the short story and the author.
It should give an overall impression (your interpretations) of the character.
It will also need background information as well, which can be a summary of the story or the importance/purpose of this character in the story, or it could be a general discussion of the personality type of this character .
Of course, the thesis will be a specific interpretation of the chosen character. There should be NO first-person analysis in this paper.
The body of the paper should develop 3-4 characteristics chosen from the prewrite in order to prove your thesis (your interpretation of the character based on your examples from the story).
The conclusion will be a simple summary of your interpretations followed by some insight into the story or the character, such as how the character relates to other elements of the story. It can even involve your opinion of the character.
Of course, the paper should be typed in MLA format and use citations for every example either paraphrased or quoted from the book used to support your interpretations. A MLA Works Cited page is required and the paper should be a minimum of 3pp.