Writing the Character Sketch Essay
You will be analyzing one of the main characters in To Kill A Mockingbird for this essay: Scout, Jem, Atticus, Dill, Calpurnia, Aunt Alexandra, or Boo Radley. Each of these characters played a vital role in the story, and were so well-defined by the narrator that there is plenty to work with, no matter which one you choose. Choose the character that most fascinated you, captured your admiration, educated you, or tickled your fancy.
Think about your first reaction to this individual. What was interesting about him/her? What kind of person did you think he/she was as you became acquainted with him/her in the story? How would you describe this person to someone who is unfamiliar with the novel? Did your impression of him/her change as the story progressed? Now that you have finished the novel, what point (judgment) would you like to make about this person—since you feel that you really know him/her?
PROMPT: Write an essay in which you introduce your character, identify key
aspects of his/her personality, and share your impressions and conclusions of him/her. Use specific incidents from the story (dialogue, action, physical description, and commentary by the narrator) to support your conclusions about the character.
1. Prewrite and Explore—Use the Attribute Web Form (see link below) to begin planning your essay. Open and print this form and begin recording:
· Character’s statements
· Character’s behavior
· Character’s thoughts
· Others’ statements about Character
· Others’ behavior toward Character
· Narrator’s statements about Character
You probably already have a lot of this information in your READER’S NOTEBOOK, if you have been following your character closely as you read. Be sure that what you write on this chart is specific so that it is a valuable resource for you as you begin to write. Certainly, there is not enough room in each circle for entire quotes, but put the page numbers for quotes you plan to use. Extend your writing outside of the circles as necessary. Get as much as you can on this page.
2. Pre-Writing Sheet—Use the Pre-Writing Sheet provided (see link below) to further plan your essay. This form will help you structure your essay. Open, print, and complete.
Writing Your Thesis Statement—You can’t begin writing without a thesis statement. Be sure you understand what this is. A thesis statement is simply the conclusion you have come to about your character—put into a single statement that lets the reader know what your paper will be about. For example, if you were writing about Atticus, your thesis statement might be: Atticus Finch is a man of principle, a loyal friend, and a great father. Think about the conclusions you have come to about your character and put them into a strong statement in your introductory paragraph. If you like, you may send this to me in an email, before you begin to write the First Draft of your essay. I will say, “Great. Start writing,” or I may have a suggestion for you. This is optional.
3. Writing the First Draft—Write your essay, using your completed Attribute Web Form, Pre-Writing Sheet, notes from your READER’S NOTEBOOK, and the novel. Remember, you are writing an essay based entirely on your impressions and your close reading of the novel. You are not to do any “research” on the book or the characters. The ideas must be completely yours, completely original. Should your essay have ideas or copied sections that are not yours, you will not receive credit for it.
4. Reader Response—Have someone else read your First Draft and give you feedback. Ideally, this would be a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle, older sibling, or mature friend. Have them respond to the following questions either in writing, or verbally, while you take notes:
· What do you think I’m trying to show about the character?
· Is my Thesis Statement clear and interesting?
· Which details help you understand the impression the character made on me?
· Which details or examples do not support the impression?
· Where do I need more examples or details to support my ideas?
· Did you notice any spelling or grammatical errors as you were reading that I should check?
5. Revise and Edit—Based on your own reading of your first draft, the response of your other reader, and your consideration of the Standards for Evaluation listed below, write your Final Draft.
Standards for Evaluation:
· Gives the title of the novel, the author, and the name of the character being analyzed in the first paragraph
· This introduction also includes a thesis statement—the writer’s conclusions about the character
· Has two or three body paragraphs (paragraphs 2-4) which support the thesis statement by identifying key aspects of the character’s personality and character
· Uses physical description, details, action (incidents), and dialogue from the novel to support statements made about the character (at least one quote for each main idea, that directly supports your discussion)
· Has a concluding paragraph that restates the thesis in a fresh way, and causes the reader to think more about the character
· Follows the Formatting Guidelines for the Essay in Eagle Hall
Your teacher will be using these Guidelines to grade your essay.