Grade: Senior

#539. The Literary Me

Reading/Writing, level: Senior
Posted Sat Jul 25 10:15:34 PDT 1998 by Jack Umstatter (
Cold Spring Harbor High School, Cold Spring Harbor, NY USA
Materials Required: Paper and pen (or computer)
Activity Time: Use your discretion; you know your students
Concepts Taught: Writing about Literary Characters

(This is how you can introduce the activity to your students.)
If we look at the characters we have encountered in our readings, we sometimes find that their traits are much like our own. Did you find a kinship with Holden Caulfield? Huckleberry Finn? Hester Prynne? Romeo? Juliet? Ethan Frome? Bartleby? Others?
This activity is designed to make us think about the traits of the literary characters we have met and find in them similarities to ourselves. Essentially, your essay will show you as quite similar to one character or a composite of at least two (and no more than three literary characters). Begin by brainstorming about the characters found in the various novels, plays, short stories, and essays you have read. Consider their traits. Which characters are similar to you? In what way(s)? Prioritize the characters appropriate to you by moving from their most important traits to their lesser important traits. Then start your essay's rough draft.
Exemplifing how you are like the character(s), your essay should be between ______ and ______ words. As usual, your essay's stylistic and mechanical strength will be a large part of the grade. Additionally, the essay will also be graded on how creative and insightful you are. The due date is __________________. Good luck and have some fun as you see yourself in some interesting literary characters!
((Judge whether your students will be comfortable sharing their essays with their classmates. If so, this makes for a great exchange of ideas.))