Characterization Essay Introduction

Have you ever read one of those DIY websites and tried to make the perfect flower arrangement or wooden tool box by reading only the directions?

It seems almost impossible, doesn’t it? Why? Because you need a visual to guide you. You need to see each step and see a finished product before you can create your own.

Writing can be like that too.

Sometimes, even after reading guidelines and tips on how to write a specific assignment, you still don’t quite understand how to put it all together.

If you’re feeling that way about writing a character analysis, here are two character analysis essay examples to inspire your finest work.

(Psst… Didn’t read all those tips about how to actually write a character analysis? Read How to Write a Character Analysis That Works before you read the rest of this post.)

2 Character Analysis Essay Examples with Character

The character analysis essay examples below analyze characters from short stories. I’ve included a variety of comments to help you see what these writers do well and what they might do to improve their analyses.

Character analysis essay example #1: Character Analysis of Anders in Bullet in the Brain, a Book by Tobias Wolff

The first essay is a brief analysis. It focuses on how readers see the character of Anders in the short story “Bullet in the Brain” develops.

*Click images below to enlarge.

In the above character analysis essay example, I noted that the writer could strengthen the introduction, thesis statement, and conclusion. Need help in those areas? Check out these resources:

Character analysis essay example #2: Character Analysis of Arnold Friend in Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?”

The second analysis focuses on Arnold Friend from the short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” This example is a longer, more fully developed essay.

It does more than just focus on what readers learn about the character from reading the short story. It also develops a more in-depth analysis of the type of personality presented in the character of Arnold Friend.

*Click images below to enlarge.

A Few Final Thoughts

Writing a character analysis isn’t only about examining what a character looks like or what he or she does. Writing an effective analysis means looking at the character more deeply to see what makes the character tick.

For instance, is a character cynical because of his background and life’s work, like Anders in “Bullet in the Brain”?

Is a character more than just a creepy guy? Could he be considered a deranged psychopath like Arnold Friend in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”

No matter the character you choose to analyze, remember to develop a key focus for your analysis and use evidence from the text to help support your conclusions.

If you’re looking for more information about literary analysis, take a look at these posts:

Still not sure your character analysis makes the grade? Send it our way for some expert feedback.

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Teach Parts of a Paragraph

Before students can write a paragraph, they need to know the parts of a paragraph: topic sentence, body and conclusion. To help students organize their paragraphs, try the fill-in-the-blank topic sentence and concluding sentence. In addition, make a list of three supporting details for the body so that students can successfully organize their first characterization paragraph.

Students should write out the three parts of the paragraph on notebook paper by following the directions.

Topic Sentence

The topic sentence should tell the reader what the "topic" of the sentence is and include a controlling idea. An example of a topic sentence for the characterization paragraph is as follows:

In the novel Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan, Jake Semple is a dynamic character.

For the characterization paragraph, the students could try this fill-in-the-blank topic sentence to get started.

In the novel, (book title) __________________ by (author)_____________________ the character (name of character) ________________________ is a (type of character: dynamic, static, round, or flat) _______________________ character.


In the body of the paragraph, students need to include detail sentences that support their topic sentence. If students tell that a character is dynamic, they need to give specific examples from the novel to support this statement.

Have them first make a list of three reasons why the character is the type of character they chose.

For example, three reasons to support the example topic sentence in this lesson, which states that Jake Semple is a dynamic character, are as follows:

  1. When Jake first comes to the Applewhite home called Wit's End, he is a juvenile delinquent who has been thrown out of many schools. He is a chain-smoking, spiky-haired punk. At first he enjoys the "bad boy" image, but by the end he does change by enjoying helping Destiny, an annoying four-year-old.
  2. At first he does not get along with E.D., who is super organized and is close in age. However, they are homeschooled together and have to create their own projects. He actually enjoys finding butterflies and finds the one that she cannot find.They learn in the end to appreciate each other’s talents.
  3. Also, Jake finds that he has a talent for acting in the Appelwhite's staged production of the Sound of Music. He has success on the stage and has a place where he thrives.


The conclusion should wrap up the essay. An example concluding sentence for the Jake Semple paragraph could be as follows:

Jake Semple goes from a smoking, juvenile delinquent teen to a star of the Sound of Music, and he truly changes into a better person.

For first time writers, they can fill in the blanks of this concluding sentence:

In conclusion, (character’s name) ____________ is a (type of character) ___________ character who (a summary of the character’s actions) _________________.

Once the topic sentence, detail sentences and conclusion are written, students can put together the parts and write a complete paragraph. The paragraph should be at least five sentences, but it can be up to ten sentences. A good paragraph will generally be around six to eight sentences.


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