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How to Write a Character Development Essay

Updated April 17, 2017

List and describe all of the character's physical and mental attributes in your first paragraph. For example, if your character essay focuses on Huckleberry Finn, you could describe his attributes thusly, "Huckleberry Finn is a physically dirty and raggedy child with a mind and wit as sharp as his clothes are filthy."

Describe and analyze the character's background in the second paragraph, focusing on key people or events from the character's past that might have led to his or her current state. For example, of Huckleberry Finn you might say, "His interactions and adventures with Tom Sawyer directly motivated Huck's desire to raft down the river with Jim."

Interpret the manner in which the author introduces the character. For example, "That The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is told in first-person indicates the truthfulness of Huck's analyses by making him an immediately sympathetic character."

Detail how the character changed from the beginning of the work to the end, emphasizing lessons learned and newly acquired beliefs. For example, "Though Huck remains adventurous at the conclusion of the novel, he has clearly developed a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between the haves and the have-nots."

Predict where the character will be and what the character will be doing following the conclusion of the fictional work. For example, "I believe Huckleberry Finn will continue adventuring, but his escapades will likely transition from the backwoods of the South to a more socially impacting venue, perhaps the courtroom as a lawyer or even the capital as a politician."

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About the Author

Samuel Hamilton has been writing since 2002. His work has appeared in “The Penn,” “The Antithesis,” “New Growth Arts Review" and “Deek” magazine. Hamilton holds a Master of Arts in English education from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Master of Arts in composition from the University of Florida.