Character analysis is the exploration of the human mind through literary interpretation. Literary works and cinema can attract people into the world of a character, introducing them to different aspects of what it is to be human. Character study invites students to explore the idiosyncrasies of a character. They observe the external features while uncovering the internal layers. By noting character changes as the story develops, students are able to comprehend the person's motivation and therefore grasp the theme and plot of the story. Vocabulary, text analysis, role playing and research can assist students in forming a complete, in-depth analysis of a character.
Keeping a response journal is a proactive way to get to know a character. By recording a character's movements, actions and thoughts as they occur in the text, the reader will begin to pay closer attention to the character's intentions. This is also an effective way for the student not only to befriend the character but to understand himself through the process. The reader can examine personal feelings about the character's behavior and start to question his own views on life.
Writing a diary in first person through the voice of the character forces the student to relate to the character. No matter whether the character is the protagonist or antagonist, the reader is forced to be honest with himself about who the character really is and where the character fits in society. A character diary is similar to a regular diary, documenting daily occurrences and private, innermost feelings and secrets. As the student pretends to be the character, he can write improvisations reflective on the character's past and present actions.
Updating a vocabulary log after every chapter or scene is a consistent way to keep track of a character's word usage and language. It also trains the reader to identify character traits and emotions. Understanding the vocabulary helps reader dive into the character's world as words help describe how a character thinks and acts.
Creating a life-size representation of a character helps students work in groups to understand the essence of a character. Divide students into groups of four and give every member of each group an aspect of the character to consider, such as the character's voice, deeds, appearance, and thoughts and feelings. Each group compiles a list of characteristics. One person out of the group lies on a large sheet of paper on the floor while the others trace him to create a life-size outline. After tracing, the students write their descriptions onto the paper figure. Once they're done, the groups put their life-size characters on the wall and compare their interpretations of the character.