Sorry for the long absence - life has been crazy with a capital "C". But, on with our elements.
Characters are one of the most important, if not THE most important, element in any work of literature. Without a character, there is no story. Even if the story is about a frog...that frog is your main character. So, characters are a great element to look at when analyzing a work of literature for a paper or essay. Here are some questions you could ask about the characters in the story:
- Who are the characters?
- Who is the main character?
- Who is the main villain?
- What qualities/vices/characteristics/quirks/mannerisms do these characters have?
- What do these characteristics do for a particular character?
- What is the author trying to show with a certain character? For example, is the extreme evilness of the main villain supposed to symbolize the evil side of mankind? Does it work? Why or why not?
- Do the characters personify anything? Qualities/characteristics/feelings? For example, if you were analyzing a story about a girl named Hope who went up against a villain named Dr. Evil, do these characters exhibit the qualities of hope and evil? Is Hope an optimistic person, etc?
- What flaws do the characters have? Or are they too perfect?
- Are the characters believable? Can you relate to them? Are they likable, intriguing, mysterious? How do these qualities affect the story?