Passage/Character Analysis Essay


Requirements: 3 full pages, double spaced. MLA format (this includes a properly formatted works cited page). Works cited page is not included in final page count. Remember: when discussing and writing about literature, we refer to the actions of the characters as happening in present tense. For example: “Allen Ginsberg writes about…” and “The unnamed main character struggles with…”

Task (Character Analysis): If you choose to write a character analysis, you will choose from one of the prompts listed at the bottom, and write an in-depth essay analyzing the main character of your chosen short story in regards to the prompt’s questions. Your character analysis should NOT be a summary of the character’s personality, but instead, be a deep dive into their identity and what shapes them. Your character analysis should be clear and insightful, and you should assume your audience is familiar with the short story you are analyzing.  

Character Analysis prompts:

  • What are some of the major characteristics of Alida Slade in Edith Wharton’s “Roman Fever”? How would you describe her personality and overall approach to life? How do you think her current personality is influenced by her history?
  • Discuss the narrator’s restraint of self-expression in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Why is she unable to express herself? Is her lack of self-expression relative to her lack of name? Due to her circumstances, including her lack of self-expression, can we rely on her to give us a true and accurate account of her time away at the country home? Why or why not?
  • At the end of Sandra Cisneros’ “Woman Hollering Creek,” Cleofilas is crossing the bridge over the arroyo. Has she changed? Will she change? What are her prospects as the narrative leaves her?
  • In Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, the narrator, Sal Paradise, is absolutely smitten with the character of Dean Moriarty. What does Sal admire so much in Dean? What is Sal lacking that Dean seems to embody? What two faces of 1950s America do the two characters represent?
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