How to Write an Introduction for a Character Analysis

How to Write an Introduction for a Character Analysis

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, and often, they find 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.

  • Quote reference

1 Introduce a Quotation

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.

2 Present the Literature

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, using only one or two sentences to describe the general events of the entire work.

3 Introduce the Character

Introduce the character being analyzed by describe the character and explaining his or her role in the piece of literature. Next, identify whether the character is the protagonist, antagonist or a minor character. Describing whether the character is static is an important next step to development. A static character stays the same from beginning to end while a dynamic one undergoes a personal transformation. Finally, devote two or three sentences to the general description of the character.

4 Introduce Broad Assertion

As you complete the character analysis, provide a smooth transition from the general description of the character to the focal point of the essay. This is the place to introduce your overall broad assertion or argument of the analysis followed by the thesis statement that encompasses those ideas.

5 Thesis Statement

Complete the introduction with your paper's thesis statement. The thesis is the main assertion or argument of your critique and should express those ideas in a clear and concise way. This section should also identify the sub-topics in the thesis and the order in which the sub-topics will be discussed in the critique. The sub-topics should be parallel appearing in the same order outlined in the introduction. For example, if you are writing three body paragraphs, include three points in the thesis statement to outline in the paper's structure.

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.