Character Traits Essay Sample

Have you ever read one of those DIY websites and tried to make the perfect flower arrangement or wooden tool box by reading only the directions?

It seems almost impossible, doesn’t it? Why? Because you need a visual to guide you. You need to see each step and see a finished product before you can create your own.

Writing can be like that too.

Sometimes, even after reading guidelines and tips on how to write a specific assignment, you still don’t quite understand how to put it all together.

If you’re feeling that way about writing a character analysis, here are two character analysis essay examples to inspire your finest work.

(Psst… Didn’t read all those tips about how to actually write a character analysis? Read How to Write a Character Analysis That Works before you read the rest of this post.)

2 Character Analysis Essay Examples with Character

The character analysis essay examples below analyze characters from short stories. I’ve included a variety of comments to help you see what these writers do well and what they might do to improve their analyses.

Character analysis essay example #1: Character Analysis of Anders in Bullet in the Brain, a Book by Tobias Wolff

The first essay is a brief analysis. It focuses on how readers see the character of Anders in the short story “Bullet in the Brain” develops.

*Click images below to enlarge.

In the above character analysis essay example, I noted that the writer could strengthen the introduction, thesis statement, and conclusion. Need help in those areas? Check out these resources:

Character analysis essay example #2: Character Analysis of Arnold Friend in Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going? Where Have You Been?”

The second analysis focuses on Arnold Friend from the short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” This example is a longer, more fully developed essay.

It does more than just focus on what readers learn about the character from reading the short story. It also develops a more in-depth analysis of the type of personality presented in the character of Arnold Friend.

*Click images below to enlarge.

A Few Final Thoughts

Writing a character analysis isn’t only about examining what a character looks like or what he or she does. Writing an effective analysis means looking at the character more deeply to see what makes the character tick.

For instance, is a character cynical because of his background and life’s work, like Anders in “Bullet in the Brain”?

Is a character more than just a creepy guy? Could he be considered a deranged psychopath like Arnold Friend in “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”

No matter the character you choose to analyze, remember to develop a key focus for your analysis and use evidence from the text to help support your conclusions.

If you’re looking for more information about literary analysis, take a look at these posts:

Still not sure your character analysis makes the grade? Send it our way for some expert feedback.

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Character traits are all the aspects of a person’s behavior and attitudes that make up that person’s personality. Everyone has character traits, both good and bad. Even characters in books have character traits. Character traits are often shown with descriptive adjectives, like patient, unfaithful, or jealous. 

Types of Character Traits

The old expression that actions speak louder than words is very true when it comes to character traits. You learn about who people are and what their character traits are by watching how they interact with the world and paying attention to how they treat you and interact with people.

There are literally countless character traits that you can identify in others, and that you can identify in yourself. 

Some character traits have to do with your underlying values or beliefs. Some examples of these types of character traits include:

  • Religious
  • Honest
  • Loyal
  • Devoted
  • Loving
  • Kind
  • Sincere
  • Ambitious
  • Satisfied
  • Happy
  • Faithful
  • Patient
  • Determined
  • Persistent
  • Adventurous
  • Homebody
  • Considerate
  • Cooperative
  • Cheerful
  • Optimistic
  • Pessimistic
  • Funny

Some character traits can be bad, and you may not want these traits associated with you. Some examples of these types of character traits include:

  • Dishonest
  • Disloyal
  • Unkind
  • Mean
  • Rude
  • Disrespectful
  • Impatient
  • Greedy
  • Angry
  • Pessimistic
  • Repugnant
  • Cruel
  • Unmerciful
  • Wicked
  • Obnoxious
  • Malicious
  • Grumpy
  • Quarrelsome
  • Caustic
  • Selfish
  • Unforgiving 

A leader or person who likes to be in charge may have the following character traits:

  • Dominant 
  • Confident 
  • Persuasive 
  • Ambitious 
  • Bossy 
  • Resourceful 
  • Decisive 
  • Charismatic 
  • Authoritative 
  • Enthusiastic 
  • Bold
  • Proactive  

Some character traits can be consciously developed, learned or acquired. For example, character traits that you may consciously choose to learn or adopt include:

Some character traits we associate with children include:

  • Playful 
  • Zany 
  • Active 
  • Wild 
  • Silly 
  • Affectionate 
  • Funny 
  • Rough 
  • Talkative
  • Rowdy 
  • Smart 
  • Fidgety 
  • Shy 
  • Lively 
  • Impatient
  • Stubborn 

Character Traits in Literature and Movies

In storybooks, novels and movies, there are often archetypes of characters. For instance, there might be a romantic hero, a strong leader or a heroine who needs to be rescued. Often, these characters in books or movies have certain classic traits that help you to identify what role they play in the story.

For example, some character traits that can be used to describe a heroic main character include:  

  • Dauntless 
  • Strong 
  • Courageous 
  • Reliable 
  • Fearless 
  • Daring 
  • Tough 
  • Brave  

If a story character is a romantic interest, they may have the following traits:

  • Charming 
  • Loving 
  • Affectionate 
  • Lovestruck 
  • Charismatic 

When describing a villain, or the story's antagonist, it would be common to use these kinds of character traits:

  • Ugly
  • Evil
  • Cunning
  • Deceptive
  • Murderous
  • Psychotic

As you can see, there are literally hundreds of character traits that will add depth and dimension to any characters. You simply need to observe people in different settings to get a general idea of how certain people behave. This can help you to recognize positive or negative character traits. 

For more options, see this list of personality trait words and their definitions. 

Bring Your Characters to Life

By learning more about character traits through observation, you can develop richer characters in your writing that are more true-to-life, or even larger than life. Having well-developed characters in your writing will help the reader identify and/or sympathize with the character. Well-defined character traits will help make your characters seem more three dimensional.

Do you have a good example to share? Add your example here.

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Character Trait Examples

By YourDictionary

Character traits are all the aspects of a person’s behavior and attitudes that make up that person’s personality. Everyone has character traits, both good and bad. Even characters in books have character traits. Character traits are often shown with descriptive adjectives, like patient, unfaithful, or jealous. 

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