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  1. 1. The Character Sketch Essay Gayla S. Keesee Education Specialist Paine College, Augusta, GA Mack Gipson, Jr. Tutorial & Enrichment Center rev. 10/2006
  2. 2. Writing about character <ul><li>Writing about a character, whether fictional or real, involves noting and analyzing a character’s </li></ul><ul><ul><li>personality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>actions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>values </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>motives </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Writing about character <ul><li>When we analyze characters, we record their responses to the world around them. </li></ul><ul><li>By analyzing characters and their actions, we sometimes gain insight about ourselves. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Writing about character <ul><li>A character’s personality traits </li></ul><ul><li>A character’s physical appearance and name </li></ul><ul><li>A character’s actions </li></ul><ul><li>A character’s choices </li></ul><ul><li>A character’s speech </li></ul><ul><li>A character’s thoughts and feelings </li></ul><ul><li>A character’s past </li></ul><ul><li>A character’s comments about others </li></ul>
  5. 5. A character’s personality traits <ul><li>Traits refer to one’s attitudes or behaviors that reflect personality qualities. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a character may be curious, brave, cold, loving, aggressive, open-minded, or naïve. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Personality traits are also qualities that make us find people likeable, lovable, etc. </li></ul>
  6. 6. A character’s appearance & name <ul><li>Physical appearance is important if it brings out a person’s unique personality qualities, culture , traditions , or influences . </li></ul><ul><ul><li>His warm green eyes lead me </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>right to his soul. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A name is often significant as it may reveal information about one’s family background , tradition , influences , or personality traits. </li></ul>
  7. 7. A character’s actions <ul><li>Remember the old cliché “Actions speak louder than words.” </li></ul><ul><li>A character’s behavior (actions) is usually motivated by his or her attitudes and values. </li></ul><ul><li>By examining potential reasons behind the actions, you can reveal a great deal about the inner world of a character. </li></ul>
  8. 8. A character’s choices <ul><li>The choices people make regarding how they deal with obstacles, resolve conflicts, or overcome difficulties reveal character strengths or weaknesses . </li></ul><ul><li>We make judgments about people based on the choices they make every day. </li></ul>
  9. 9. A character’s speech <ul><li>Based on what he/she says and how he/she says it, you can determine important qualities. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>He/she is unhappy, selfish, sarcastic, or domineering, uneducated. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The choice of words spoken can also reveal important information about the character’s age , education , culture , and values . </li></ul>
  10. 10. A character’s thoughts & feelings <ul><li>The saying “A penny for your thoughts” shows how much we wish to know others’ inner worlds. </li></ul><ul><li>By sharing their thoughts and emotions, people often reveal a great deal about themselves—motives and qualities. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>love, hate, fear, revenge, etc. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. A character’s past <ul><li>Setting of one’s upbringing is important; we are the products of our early environment . </li></ul><ul><li>Significant past experiences influence who we are and shape our personalities. </li></ul><ul><li>Family background may also be important as it reveals values and traditions that are passed on from generation to generation. </li></ul>
  12. 12. A character’s comments about others <ul><li>What people say about others often reveals important information about them as well. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How judgmental are they? How supportive? </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. The Character Sketch Essay Organization
  14. 14. Introduction <ul><li>Introduce the character in a creative way. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Take the reader to the time and setting where you met your character. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Begin with a colorful illustration. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Introduce major personality characteristics to be developed and supported in the body. </li></ul><ul><li>Share why this individual is significant enough to you to write about. (Central idea) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Body <ul><li>First, you may want to touch on physical characteristics , if important. </li></ul><ul><li>Next, develop and support each personality trait you mentioned in the introduction. </li></ul><ul><li>Provide incidents , actions , and behaviors to support your character’s qualities. </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure you develop at least one full paragraph per personality trait. </li></ul>
  16. 16. What to watch for. . . <ul><li>Do not just tell what a person is like; show qualities through the use of incidents . </li></ul><ul><li>Do not describe a story or event that you experienced with someone without drawing some conclusion about your character. </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid developing points about a character that you did not list in the introduction. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Conclusion <ul><li>Tell the reader why you are writing about this wonderful or terrible human being. </li></ul><ul><li>Consider discussing why this individual is significant to you—if at all. </li></ul><ul><li>You may want to share how this person has influenced you-- positively or negatively . </li></ul>
  18. 18. Summary <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Be creative; discuss significance of individual </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide time and setting of original meeting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Begin with a colorful illustration </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Body </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Touch on physical appearance, if important </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop each personality characteristic </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Discuss why this individual is significant to you </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Now it’s your turn!