Describe what the character does in the story.

Bible as Literature: Paper Assignment One: Character Analysis

Format: Typed, double spaced, 3 -5 pages (3 page) minimum. Include a bibliography page (does NOT count as part of page requirements). You may use MLA style for in paper citations. Follow link for citation formatting. (Links to an external site.)


Q: What is a character analysis essay?

A: character analysis essay is a descriptive explanation of the various traits of a character as it appears in a literary work.

It is not merely a summary or a retelling of the obvious things about the character that are told in the novel or play. It is your personal understanding of how the character is developed. You connect with the character on a deeper level. Somewhat like an actor, you get under your object’s skin; trying to understand the person being described.

You go beyond the obvious in your character analysis. Start writing an outline after you have “felt” the character that you are going to analyze. Although “analysis” sounds like a cold and objective term, there is nothing objective in your understanding of a character. The interplay of the objective and the subjective gives rise to a synthesis. This synthesis is expressed as your analysis of the character. The real and momentous task is to give a clear and understandable account of the character to your reader.

Characters can be;

  • Action Figure; protagonists (heroes), the main character around whom most of the work revolves.
  • Antagonists, The person who the protagonist is against. This is often the villain, but could be a force of nature, set of circumstances, an animal, etc.
  • Major, these are the main characters. They dominate the story. Often there are only one or two major characters.
  • Minor, these are the characters who help tell the major character’s tale by letting major characters interact and reveal their personalities, situations, stories. They are usually static (unchanging).
  • dynamic (changing), ”
  • static (unchanging) aka flat role may be to move the story forward but not take action
  • stereotypical (stock),
  • Round (3 dimensional), this means the character has more than one facet to their personality.
  • Flat (1 dimensional), this is the character who is only viewed through one side a.

What your paper should address:

  1. Description of the chosen character: Describe the traits that the author has provided in his/her description. If there are provided include them. IE appearance, color of eyes, or other traits and peculiarities.
  2. Description of the role: Define what the character is “like.” This will call for the use of adjectives. The main thing is to describe what the character does in the story. It does not matter whether the role is a major one or a minor. Everyone does something in a story.
  3. Development of the character: Follow the development of the character throughout the story. The dynamics that change and modify or otherwise affect your character should be included.
  4. What is it that the character wants (motivation): Write about what is driving your character? For example: love, ambition, vendetta etc.
  5. Interpretation: Interpret the character in your own way. Draw new meanings.

Biblical Characters

  1. Adam
  2. Eve
  3. Noah
  4. Jacob
  5. Rachel
  6. Joseph
  7. Saul
  8. David
  9. Jonathan
  10. Solomon
  11. Ahab
  12. Jezebel
  13. Elijah
  14. Elisha
  15. Hezekiah
  16. Ruth
  17. Esther

Note: you may develop your analysis with pairs if you so desire (Adam, Eve) (Ahab, Jezebel), (David, Jonathan) but apply all the factors to them as a pair in your paper. This does not mean you cannot discuss the other characters in the stories as they influence your chosen character. You can include minor characters and their role to enhance your analysis.

Examples: What is the relationship between Ruth and Naomi, why is Ruth the major protagonist or character when Naomi directs the action in many ways? Although Jacob and Rachel are standalone characters you can focus on one or the other investigating their motives for behavior and discuss: how do they meet, how do we know Jacob loves Rachel? What are Rachel’s secret desires?

Parts of the outline developed from:


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