Why do they act the way they do and say the things they say?

E‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‌‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‍‌‍‍ssay 2 – Character Analysis – 825 words minimum Final draft (825 words minimum – 20% of final grade) For our second essay of the semester you will close-read and analyze one of the readings we’ve discussed in class. You will then take a stance on who a character or set of characters are in your essay, providing specific evidence from the text to back up your character analysis claims throughout. Each body paragraph should work to support a specific overall thesis, a uniting point focused around what we’re meant to understand about this character or set of characters on a deeper level. Character analysis might seem intimidating, but it’s something we do in our everyday lives, even if we don’t realize we’re doing it. In the same way that we think about the motivations and personalities of the people around us, you’ll want to break down the personalities, quirks, and traits of the characters from our readings. Why do they act the way they do and say the things they say? What do they want from themselves, from those around them, and how do they succeed or fail in getting what they want? How do they change or not change, and where do they end up vs. where they started? You might want to think about some of the following when looking at character in the stories we’ve read: Identity: How does the character attempt to create an identity for themselves? Who or what stands in their way and how do they succeed or fail at breaking through those obstacles? Do they ultimately stray away from or move toward a more“authentic” version of themselves? Duality: Who are these characters really vs. who they think they are or how they present themselves to those around them? What does that contrast reveal about them and their relationships with other characters in the story? Are they self-aware or do they lack an awareness of who they really are? Motivation: What does the character want and how do they go about getting what they want? What do those actions tell us about them as people? How do these motivations affect the characters around them? You’ll want to make sure you’re providing evidence for the claims you make throughout the paper. Evidence can be any relevant detail from the text, including dialogue, character descriptions, interaction, imagery, or word choice on the part of the author. Any specifics that have led you to the overall conclusion about who this character really is can serve as evidence for this assignment. Finally, the thesis/main point for your paper should reveal something that is not obvious about a character. You’ll want to dig a little deeper and think about what we can understand about them or their relationship with their children, for example, by analyzing those selfish motivations. The provided prompts will hopefully guide you down some of these deeper lines of character examination. You can pick one of the following prompts, or come up with your own that focuses on analyzing a character or comparing a set of characters through spec‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‌‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‍‌‍‍ific points of analysis. The search for identity: Pick a pair of characters (or a single character, if you like) and examine the way that they attempt to find an identity. How do they approach the difficult process of figuring out who they are? What challenges them or helps them along the way? What actions or objects even do they use to define themselves? Where do you see them coming toward or moving away from an “authentic” identity? For this prompt you’ll want to focus on specific points of comparison to analyze the way these characters’ journeys to find identity align or diverge. Toxic relationships: Examine the relationship between two characters in a single text (or across texts) and pick apart the elements that make them dysfunctional. This can be between a parent and a child, friends or enemies — whatever pairing is most interesting to you. Again, your analysis of these relationships should reveal something beyond the obvious. If you’ve determined that the relationship is bad, for example, what specifically makes it that way and what does that tell us about who these characters really are together? For this prompt, you’ll want to examine the way the dynamics of the relationship and its progression throughout the piece uncovers details of character for both parties. True villains and protagonists: Defend the “villain” of the story. Find the qualities or actions that go against our understanding of traditional villains, details or actions that might paint them in a positive light. Alternatively, you may also attack the protagonist of the story and paint them as the true villain. For this prompt, you’ll want to highlight misunderstandings about a character or pair of characters, revealing their true intentions and personalities through specific evidence. This assignment should be in MLA format, text in Times New Roman – 12 point font, 1 inch margins, and double spaced. Essay Grading Rubric Thesis—25% The overall extent and degree of sophistication to which the goal of the assignment has been addressed in the thesis. Also the extent to which the thesis is being successfully addressed and expanded upon throughout the essay. Supporting Evidence—35% The extent and degree of sophistication to which the student provides evidence for their thesis. Clarity—15% The extent to which the reader can understand the language, ideas, and claims of the student. Organization—10% The extent to which the reader can follow the logical flow of the content without having to make connections themselves, reread, or guess as to the most effective ordering of the body paragraphs. Punctuation/Grammar—10% The extent to which proper punctuation and grammar has been observed throughout the essay. MLA Format—5% The extent to which the student adheres to MLA format, works cited included. Word count: Meeting/exceeding the word count will have no impact on your grade, but failing to meet the required minimum word count will result in a loss of at least 10%‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‌‌‍‍‍‌‍‍‍‍‌‍‍ of the paper grade, or more, depending on the severity.

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