Exploring identity

6 Dec

Sometimes, when studying texts, students need to be able to differentiate between how a protagonist self-characterises and how other characters perceive the protagonist.

One way to help students do this is to ask them to create abstract visual representations.  Students imagine that they are the protagonist and that they are looking in a mirror.  Students then draw what the protagonist sees when looking at him or herself.  Students should be encouraged to think critically and creatively about the colours, textures, materials and shapes used, and should have to justify their choices with reference to quotes from the text.  Stronger students can find their own supporting quotes, while weaker students can use quotes provided by the teacher.

Once they have done this, students are to repeat the activity.  However, instead of pretending to be the protagonist looking into the mirror, they pretend they are a different character looking at the protagonist.

These visual representations can be used as a starting point for discussion about the similarities and differences between how the protagonist self-represents and how other characters perceive him or her.  The visuals can also be used as a catalyst for discussion about why the composer might want to present two different perspectives of the protagonist.

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