Activity Nine: Construction and Development of Characters
Characters are not real people: they are created by authors out of the building blocks of language. Moreover, they are created in such a way to encourage readers’ like or dislike. While students should be encouraged to read for pleasure and immerse themselves in the world of the text (including its characters), there is also a need for students to learn how to analyse characters more formally and systematically.
Therefore, students working in small groups can be assigned a key character (e.g., Ashala, Neville, Connor, Hoffman, Georgie, etc.) to analyse using the table below. This table can be repeated at various points in the series to track potential changes in the way the character is portrayed.
Name of Character:
||Evidence from the text (including quotations), with page references
|What does the character think and feel?
|What does the character say and how?
|What do other characters say? How do they react to the character?
|What does the narrator say?
After completing the table, students can consider questions such as the following:
- Does the author want readers to like or dislike the character – or even feel ambivalent, i.e., neither like nor dislike?
- What words might you use to describe the character, e.g. happy/unhappy, special/normal/abnormal, trustworthy/untrustworthy, honest/dishonest and so forth?
- Does the character change over the course of the novel? Is this for the better or worse? How does any change compare to the way other characters in the story either change or don’t change?
In addition, students can consider:
- Who are the protagonist and antagonist?
- Who are their respective allies?
- Are any contrasting characters evident?