Formulating a Character Analysis Essay

Writing a character analysis essay can be either very difficult or very simple. It depends on which character you intend to analyze. It also depends on the amount of accurate information you have about the person in question.

If the chosen subject is a fictional character, Sherlock Holmes, for example, there is a great deal written about him. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote many books and gave glimpses of the true nature and character of the man in each one. As you view the character of Holmes through the window of Dr. Watson’s eyes, you see what Watson considered important in judging character. Building your own impressions of whether Holmes was right or wrong can only be done through the window of your own experience.

Was Holmes a drug addict? According to “The 7% Solution” he was. But was that really Holmes? Might it have been something altered slightly by the screen writer or script writer? The pipe was always near at hand when he relaxed at 221B Baker St. It was a common and acceptable thing back then, smoking tobacco. But viewed through the prism of today’s passion against cigarettes, pipes and cigars, it might not seem quite proper. In order to analyze Holmes’ character, it’s best to put it into the context of the times during which he “lived.” That might be difficult, due to the fact that you don’t view the world the same way Doyle did when he created the great detective.

A character analysis essay with a real person is somewhat easier. If the person in question is famous and historical, George Washington for example, much is known about him that can lead you to a conclusion about the character of our first president. The best way to write a complete analytical essay is to turn to history. His writings, speeches and verified acts are good indicators of his character and psychological make-up. The study should encompass his early years and the formation of his beliefs and strengths as well as his time as a General in the Continental Army. His presidency is very important, and the decisions he made as Commander-in-Chief are excellent clues to his character.

Another type of character analysis essay might be written about someone you know, this is a great option for a 250 word essay or much longer. The good side of this, is that you do know the person and can ask the questions necessary to fill in any blank spots or misunderstandings you may have regardless of essay length. There is, however, a downside. Everyone has their own view of themselves, which is normal because they understand their rationale and motives better than anyone else ever will. If you misjudge their actions or attribute the wrong motives, they might not like it very much. Of course, it can be even worse if your character analysis essay hits too close to the mark. I once wrote about a friend of mine, for her eyes only and at her request. She cried for a week before thanking me for understanding her so well. I avoid using friends and family for such projects these days. It’s much safer!