Character Study Paper (5 pages)
Choose one character in the list below and a moment when the author makes this character’s actions especially striking, revealing, or meaningful. Draw on your skills of close reading and analysis –
delve into the character’s traits, thoughts, words, feelings, emotions, past & future, as well as influences on him/her
examine the scene’s details for evidence of significant implications of the character’s behavior in relation to the moral of the story
use direct evidence or quotations from the text to support your analysis
Use these questions to get started:
What does the narrator or the author tell us about the character at this moment? What does he or she leave out?
What does the character say for himself or herself? Does the character use words, gestures, objects, silences, or other means to communicate?
How does the character’s behavior at this moment reflect or distract from his or her true intentions? How does the author make us aware of what those intentions are? In what ways and to what effect might the character seem to be playing a part?
How do markers of dress, gender, race, profession, nation, or class communicate in place of words? What are the significances of these external markers?
How does the character’s behavior in this scene reflect upon the themes or issues elsewhere in the text? (You don’t have to cover all possible themes or the whole text.)
You are welcome but not required to do outside research for this essay, but do include a Works Cited list and correct documentation for your text and quotations.
List of characters
Madman in Lu Xun’s “Diary of a Madman”
Xianglin’s wife in Lu Xun’s “New Year’s Sacrifice”
Zijun or Juansheng in Lu Xun’s “In Memoriam”
Sophia in Ding Ling’s “Miss Sophia’s Diary”
Wu Cuiyuan in Eileen Chang’s “Sealed Off”
Shanshan or Mother in Zhang Jie’s LLove Must Not Be Forgotten”
The “I” narrator in Xi Xi’s “A Girl Like Me”
Characters in Wong Yi’s “Ways to Love in a Crowded City”
How does the character’s behavior at this moment reflect or distract from his or her true intentions?
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Character Study Paper (5 pages)
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