Apply concepts of literary analysis to analyze a character from Fences or Trifles

Choose one character from one of the plays we have read this semester and provide a character analysis (i.e. discuss that character’s relationship to a larger theme of the work).

Outline/Rough Draft: Follow the HATMAT outline format that we have been using. You must have a thesis statement followed by supporting evidence in body paragraphs. Your rough draft must follow your outline.

Thesis Options: You may address a theme that was discussed in class or discussion board, but please find additional examples/evidence that we did not cover in class (i.e. do not simply repeat our classroom discussions). To help craft a thesis, answer one question and your answer would be your thesis. Give examples from their own actions, dialogue, or other literary elements as supporting evidence.

  • What is Mrs. Hale’s connection to the role of women in Trifles?
  • How does Mrs. Peters’ evolve from social conformist to tacit accomplice?
  • How does Troy’s childhood affect his relationship with Cory?
  • Discuss Troy’s complexity as he struggles for social equality but fails personally.
  • Think of three ways to describe a character. What literary elements are used to portray this character?
  • How does the character start in the beginning of the play and how do they change?
  • Certain characters defy expectations. Pick one character and explain what is expected from them by society and explain how they defy these expectations.
  • How does a character not change and what are factors that contribute to their inability to do so?

Resources to consult: Review “Character” chapter (consult Table of Contents or Index for exact page since editions vary) in Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing textbook. Consult checklist on Writing About Character. To help find evidence, consider these questions:

  1. Is the character round or flat? Static or dynamic?
  2. What elements reveal changes in the character?
  3. What does the character’s dialogue reveal about him/her?
  4. What do other characters reveal about your chosen character through their dialogue?
  5. What does the action in the play reveal about the character?
  6. How do the stage directions contribute to the reader’s understanding of the character?

Evidence: Each supporting body paragraph must include an integrated direct quote with parenthetical citation using textual evidence from the play. Refer to Chapters 2 and 3 in the textbook for student sample essays and example model entries for quoting, parenthetical citation, and MLA documentation. Research requirement: Integrate at least one secondary source from PGCC or HCC Library’s database Gale Literary Sources.

Plot summary is not analysis, and should be avoided. You should only discuss plot details to support specific claims you are making about the literary texts. You may assume that your readers have read the specific texts you are discussing. The goal of literary analysis is to provide insight into the meaning of the play, helping readers understand an author’s message. Essentially, what is the significance or what is learned?

Length: 3-4 pages

These directions are for the option to describe a character with three adjectives as thesis and using literary analysis to find three quotes that demonstrate each adjective.


Step-by-Step Directions for Outline for Character Analysis Essay

For character analysis, follow these steps…

1. Pick one character from one play.

2. Describe this character in three adjectives. This will be your thesis statement.

3. Follow this outline structure…

I. Intro paragraph – Short summary of play and characters. End with thesis statement.

II. Body

a. Adjective 1 – Topic sentence, context sentence, supporting quote including character verb quote demonstrating Adjective 1, analysis sentence.

b. Adjective 2 – Topic sentence, context sentence, supporting quote including character verb quote demonstrating Adjective 2, analysis sentence.

c. Adjective 3 – Topic sentence, context sentence, supporting quote including character verb quote demonstrating Adjective 3, analysis sentence.

III. Conclusion paragraph