How to Write an Introduction for a Character Analysis

by Kerry O'Neill, Demand Media

Writing presents itself as a challenge to many students. Unlike math, where the equation or method of solution is definite, writing does not follow such a clear pattern. As a result, students sometimes seem unsure when they write. Students often find that the introduction is the hardest part to write because it comes first; however, they need to remember the importance of an introduction to their paper. Introductions pull the reader in and establish the background and organization for the entire paper. When writing a character analysis, students can employ a basic structure for the introduction.

Step 1

Find a quotation that relates to the character being analyzed. Begin the introduction with the quote, and cite the source parenthetically. By using a quote that relates to the character, you set the stage for the analysis of the character. If a character is brave, start with a quote about courage. Draw the reader into the essay with a relevant and interesting quotation.

Step 2

Present the background information. Identify the author and title of the piece of literature you are using for the character analysis. Underline or italicize the titles of novels and plays. Use quotation marks if your character is from a short story. Remember to use MLA format for writing unless the teacher requires a different style. Summarize the piece of literature briefly. Write one to two sentences describing the general events of the entire work.

Step 3

Introduce the character being analyzed. Describe the character and explain his or her role in the piece of literature. Identify whether the character is the protagonist, antagonist or a minor character. Describe whether the character is static, or stays the same from beginning to end, or dynamic, meaning he undergoes a personal transformation. Devote two or three sentences to the general description of the character.

Step 4

Narrow down your focus. Provide a smooth transition from the general description of the character to the focal point of the essay. Introduce the broad topic in this portion of the introduction.

Step 5

Finish with the thesis statement. Identify the sub-topics in the thesis. If you are writing three body paragraphs, include three points in the thesis statement to outline the the structure of the paper.

Things You Will Need

  • Quote reference

About the Author

Residing in New Jersey, Kerry O'Neill has been a teacher of English for over 17 years and a writer since 2000. She began by writing curriculum about American and British literature and is now a contributing content writer for various online publications. She graduated summa cum laude from the College of New Jersey with a Bachelor of Arts in English.

Photo Credits

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