How to Write a Character Analysis for Middle School

A character analysis on the protagonist of the
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To analyze means to think critically, to ask questions and to draw conclusions. A character analysis should not be a retelling of a story but rather a thoughtful evaluation of a character's personality, conflicts, relationships and development. A middle school character analysis should reflect and provide examples from the story, in the form of quotations, to support the analysis.

1 Personality and Type

The first aspect you can analyze when writing a middle school character analysis is the character's type. For examples, explain whether the character is a hero, a sidekick or a villain. Another factor you should evaluate is the character's personality. Write about the character's strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. Ask yourself what adjectives you would use to describe her actions and words: brave, violent, hard working, dishonest? Examples of words that describe character traits include gentle, adventurous, meek, jealous and wise.

2 Relationships and Conflicts

Human relationships reveal a lot about a person. Examine the character's relationships with herself and with others. Is she a leader, faithful, jealous or generous with others? You can also write about conflicts and struggles that the character faces, both internally and externally. For example, does she never speak her mind and get bullied? Or does she struggle to keep a secret? Often internal struggles are centered on the character's thoughts and morals when faced with a problem.

3 Development

Often a character, especially a protagonist, changes throughout the story. Write about the character's growth or decline over time by discussing what he was like in the beginning, middle and end of the story. When writing about character development, make certain to address what external circumstances led the character to change. For example, in Gary Paulsen's novel "Hatchet" the protagonist Brian Robeson grows more mature, independent and brave after the plane crash that forces him to survive alone.

4 Evidence

An important part of a character analysis is the evidence you give to support your analysis. The specific examples you incorporate are direct quotations taken from the story. Remember to write the quotations down exactly as they are written in the book and to properly use quotation marks. Be sure to explain every quotation that you include. Tell the reader the context and setting of the quotation and how it is an example of the point you are making.

Soheila Battaglia is a published and award-winning author and filmmaker. She holds an MA in literary cultures from New York University and a BA in ethnic studies from UC Berkeley. She is a college professor of literature and composition.