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The Glass Castle

By Butter_8 Sep 10, 2014 1538 Words
Essay Assignment: Character Analysis

Format for the essay:

A. PARAGRAPH ONE—Introduction—include information about the author, give a brief summary of the story, and include a thesis statement (your overall opinion of the character without using I [only use third person in this essay]). Underline your thesis statement.

B. PARAGRAPH TWO—tell what the character’s important traits (traits are qualities such as being honorable, friendly, courteous, courageous, etc.) are from what the character says and does. Support with details and quotes from the story (must use 2 QUOTES per body paragraph—taken directly from the story—quotes cannot be back-to-back—write a quote and then explain how the quote fits what you are trying to say in the paragraph)

C. PARAGRAPH THREE—tell what the character’s important traits are by referring to what other characters say and do because of the main character. Support with references to specific incidents and lines quoted by other characters in the story (at least 2—quotes cannot be back-to-back—write a quote and then explain how the quote fits what you are trying to say in the paragraph).

D. PARAGRAPH FOUR—tell step by step how the character changes as a result of both internal and external forces. Use at least 2 quotes to support your information—quotes cannot be back-to-back—write a quote and then explain how the quote fits what you are trying to say in the paragraph.

E. PARAGRAPH FIVE—Conclusion—express your opinion of whether the character’s deeds are believable and whether the changes in his/her character are believable. (Do NOT use the pronoun “I”).

Rules for quoting—
1. Follow quotes from the story exactly. Quotes are not always dialogue. 2. one line of a quote: “Who dares do more is none” ( Walls 75). **Put page numbers for each quote. 3. part of a quote: “drenched natures” (Walls 76).

4. long quotes (more than 2 typed lines): indent and set off from the text of your essay. Do not use quotation marks if you have a long indented quote. Be sure to include page number after a long quote. Your long quote cannot be more than 6 lines, and it should not contain dialogue Other examples:

A. Even after her death and shame, Samantha is treated like royalty; in fact, the townspeople go to her house with “a sort of respectful
affection for a fallen monument” (Walls 287).
B. When defending her financial status, Sheila emphatically states,
“I have no taxes in Ovett” ( Walls 289).
C. Steinbeck inserts his opinion of women when he says that “only a
woman could have believed” Mr. Jackson’s lie about Samantha’s
taxes (288). [The author’s name is in the sentence, so the name is not in the parentheses at the end.]

Rules to follow—

1. The paper must be at least 750 words minimum (2 ½ to 3 typed pages). You must have the appropriate heading on the first page, and each subsequent page must be numbered appropriately. 2. Each quote must be different from others used and MUST be explained in your paper. Show how it is related to the paragraph. Put author and page number at the end of sentence when you use a quote 3. Do not just summarize the plot of the story.

4. Each paragraph must have a minimum of 7 - 9 sentences and you must have at least 5 paragraphs (see the outline of the essay above). 5. Only use third person pronouns in this essay, and maintain a consistent verb tense.

Include a Work Cited (only one Work is cited) source page at the end; this is separate from the rest of the paper. See the example below

Work Cited

Last Name, First Name. Title of the Novel is Italicized. Place: Publisher, Year. Print.

[This includes the author of the novel, the italicized title of the novel, the place of publication, the publisher, and the year. The word Print is attached to the end when you have an actual paper copy of the novel. If this was an electronic copy, you would not need to include Print at the end. Please be sure to look at the punctuation VERY carefully. Remember that the Work Cited page is on a separate sheet. This page is the last page of the essay, and it is numbered in sequence with the rest of the pages. Note the difference between Work and Works; only use Works when there is more than one source cited in the paper.] James Pulliam B14----------EXAMPLE CHARACTER ANALYSIS

Honors Comp. I
Dr. Lowery
Nov. 26, 2001

A Character Analysis of Okonkwo

Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian-born writer, develops a character named Okonkwo in his novel Things Fall Apart. The author reveals a tribal society in Africa whose customs and beliefs are much different than American and modern society. The people of Umofia believe in many gods and treat women like servants. The people are expected to follow the strict customs; these beliefs are tested when white missionaries migrate to the village. Although the author portrays the main character as a strong, temperamental, and controlling person, the reader can assume that Okonkwo’s life is really dominated by fear.

One of Okonkwo’s negative traits is his bad temper. Okonkwo’s bad temper causes him to seem harsh and cruel . Achebe explains the reason behind Okonkwo’s temper when he states, “Perhaps down in his heart Okonkwo was not a cruel man. But his life was dominated by fear, the fear of failure and of weakness. . . It was the fear of himself, lest he should be found to resemble his father” (13). Okonkwo trains himself to act tough and harsh because he resents his father’s laziness. He thinks that his father is weak because his father is in debt. Okonkwo sometimes does wrong things because he does not want to seem weak like his father; furthermore, he wants to gain power in his tribe. Okonkwo goes too far in his attempts to seem powerful when he takes part in killing Ikemefuna, a boy who took board with his family. The author explains, “Okonkwo drew his machete and cut him down. he was afraid of being thought weak” (Achebe 61). Although Okonkwo did not want to do this, he did it anyway out of his own personal fear of weakness and because his temper got the best of him.

Pulliam 2
Other characters respond negatively to Okonkwo. The people in Umofia know about Okonkwo’s bad temper. Achebe states, “Okonkwo was popularly called the Roaring Flame” (153). In one instance, Okonkwo gets into trouble for beating Ikemefuna on a sacred day. The author expands on Okonkwo’s anger by developing the plot about his wives and children; he is harsh in his treatment of them, also. While Okonkwo is in one of his rages, he beats his wife unmercifully for killing a banana tree. Despite the pleading of his other wives, he continually beats his wife unnecessarily. In addition to this, Okonkwo’s anger affects his father; while his father is in the last states of his sickness, the dying father tries to give Okonkwo some words of encouragement. While explaining this instance, the author says, “It tried Okonkwo’s patience beyond words” (Achebe 25). It is worth noting that Okonkwo could not bear his father’s talk, even considering that his father was about to die.

Okonkwo goes through many changes throughout the course of the story. Because Okonkwo’s father is a failure according to his tribe’s standards, Okonkwo does not have a good start in life. Okonkwo has to overcome these difficulties, and he decides to make a better life for himself. Achebe writes, “Okonkwo did not have the start in life which many young men had . . . But in spite of these disadvantages, he had begun even in his father’s lifetime to lay the foundations of a prosperous future” (18). Okonkwo’s father has a negative influence on his life, and Okonkwo decides at an early age that he does not want to become like his father. After Okonkwo is exiled, he finds influence from the tribal leader Uchendu. A person can assume that Okonkwo has become somewhat sincere when the author reveals the following: “Okonkwo was deeply grieved. . . He mourned for the clan, which was breaking up and falling apart, and he

Pulliam 3
mourned for the warlike men of Umuofia, who had become soft like women” (Achebe 183). Okonkwo’s many changes are evident.
In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo’s anger is a believable trait because many people in today’s society have problems with rage. The anger seems to be the result of the resentment he feels toward his father. He quests to be more manlike than his father, and he ends up taking this quest too far. Okonkwo makes wrong decisions and ends up sacrificing his own life. The changes in Okonkwo are certainly believable because he does no more than any other rational human would do if faced with these obstacles.

***Note that the paper is not long enough
***Carefully look at the quotation set-up and page numbering. The author’s name is not needed because only one source is used—only the page numbers are used.

***The Work Cited page comes behind the essay—note the page number sequencing. Pulliam 4
Work Cited
Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor Books, 1959. Print.

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