“Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.”
— George RR Martin, A Game of Thrones
Stories drive us. Characters and conflict drive stories. When teaching literature we want students to see dynamic characters for their complexity and understand their evolution throughout the story. When starting a new text with my students, the exposition has lots of great detail that can offer insight into the characters wants, needs, fears, and beliefs.
To help my students look closer at the characters in Shakespeare’s MidSummer Night’s Dream, students complete a two day character analysis/interpretation small group activity. Each group receives an envelope with the directions, character survey, and character questionnaire. In addition, I also include a photocopied passage of the text with detailed information or dialogue from the character to use for interpretation and a graphic novel version of the passage. Students work together to complete the survey and questionnaire. Students go back into the text to find additional information and textual evidence to support their claims. At the end of day two, students are to produce:
- A brief, creative introduction about the character (a poem, interview, or improv)
- A mention of key passages or individual text that are central to understanding the character’s identity (wants, fears, values, and beliefs)
- An artistic representation of the character
This activity can be utilized with any text for character analysis purposes. I have included the activity and directions below for my followers and fans.