So far this semester, we’ve analyzed symbolism in short stories and explicated poems to find deeper meaning in the literature. Characterization is yet another way an author reveals the personality of a character either directly or indirectly. By analyzing a character, the reader can understand the idea, message, or issue that the author is trying to convey.
In a 4 – 6 page essay, students should select a single character from one of the plays below to fully analyze. Students will want to analyze the characters’ looks/traits, speech/dialogue, motivations/actions, thoughts/emotions, and relationships/effects on other characters (not all may apply).
After completing the thorough analysis, the student should have a clear message to communicate about the theme, idea, or issue that the author is trying to convey. What purpose does this character serve? What does the character help convey about the play as a whole? The thesis will be developed out of answering these questions.
Select One Play to Analyze:
Trifles (Links to an external site.) by Glaspell
Free audio of the play on YouTube (Links to an external site.)
Water by the Spoonful 1 of 2 (Links to an external site.) and 2 of 2 (Links to an external site.) by Hudes
I apologize for the annotated copy. Video production of play on YouTube (Links to an external site.)
Zoot Suit (Links to an external site.) by Valdez
Watching the full film version is encouraged too!
Shadow of a Man (Links to an external site.) by Moraga
Again, I apologize for the annotated copy.
Students will need to integrate one or two outside sources into this essay.
These sources must come from the SCC library or from the SCC online library databases (that’s right – no Googling!).
Not sure how to do this? No worries! Students will complete an online workshop during week 9 of the semester.
I recommend you begin with the LITERARY databases (Links to an external site.) first!
The source can be about the play specifically, plays broadly, the author, characterization, literary elements, literary criticism, or anything that will add complexity to your analysis.
Re-read, watch, and listen to the play multiple times while taking notes about the character you’ve chosen.
Be careful not to summarize the play; rather, students are analyzing how the meaning unfolds.
Take the time to proofread after you’ve written your essay. Think about the kinds of mistakes you know you tend to make and watch out for those.
Please write in 3rd person point-of-view only.
Give yourself enough time to visit the Writing Center online or in person. If you know you have trouble with some aspect of your writing, give yourself time to visit the Writing Center multiple times before submitting your final draft. Remember you get EXTRA CREDIT for doing so!
Helpful resources: Characters and Characterization (Links to an external site.), Characterization in Literature (Links to an external site.), and How to Complete a Character Analysis (Links to an external site.)
Finally, here is a sample student essay from a former student. I’ll link it here in a PDF Download PDF, a Word Download Word, and a Google Doc (Links to an external site.).
How will I be graded?
Did I respond to the prompt, making sure to analyze fully?
Did I purposefully integrate at least one outside source from the SCC library?
Did I integrate (quotes/paraphrases) into my paper to add complexity and proof to my ideas?
Did I properly cite my sources in the paper and on the Works Cited page?
Did I write my paper in perfect MLA format?
Did I stay in consistent 3rd person POV throughout the essay?
Is my writing proofread carefully for grammatical errors and/or typos?
Is my essay 4 FULL pages? No more than 6 pages? Note: Papers that are not at least 4 FULL pages will not receive a grade higher than a “C.” Do not write more than 6 pages.