Analyzing Characters in Literature

Characters are the most important part of a novel or a short story. They are what drives the plot and the story forward. Most often, the author uses the character to generate the theme of the story. It is one element of literature that is most analyzed because through the characters, we can see the author's intent. If you are making a critical analysis of a character in a story or novel, you have to thoroughly read who and what these characters are and how they are related to the theme of the story.

To start your analysis on the character, identify how the character is described in the story. What is physical and psychological description of the character. What is his or her personality and traits.

If you have identified the personality of the character then find out what does his or her personality have to do with the plot of the story. What kind of person is the character? What is his or her relation to the other important characters in the story?

The next thing we have to look for is the environment in which the character lives. How is the character related to the environment and other people around him or her. Is there any comparison or contrast between the character and the environment?

Does the character have any motive? Find out what drives the character or if he or she has any motivations.

Are there any flaws to the character? What is the psychological makeup of the character? Try to find this out.

How is the character related to the theme? You have to determine why the author created that character.

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