Portrait of a Character: Group Project
Brave New World
Task One, due by _____________________
- In your group, share
key passages you have found (passage = a paragraph to 2.5 pages) that
reveal important information about what your main character is like
and how other important characters see him/her.
- Compile a list of
the 10 BEST key passages*. Only include the best parts of the book that
help you understand how your character is portrayed. Keep in mind the
following: None of the characters are flat, simple characters. All
have their complications. Your list of passages should cover the
range of your character’s complexities. Don’t choose passages that keep
showing the same things over and over again.
- *Write your list as
- Write your
character’s name in BIG letters across the top of the paper.
- Give the page
number(s) where you found the passage.
- Give the first
sentence of the passage and the last sentence of the passage.
- Summarize in one
or two sentences what is happening in this passage.
- Show this list to
Ms. Spachman and get it approved.
Task Two, due by ______________________
[While this is going on,
the artist and one other person should start Task Three.]
- Now find key
passages that reveal important information about what your minor
character is like and how other important characters see him/her.
- Compile a list of
the 4-5 BEST key passages following steps 2-4 listed under Task One above.
Task Three, due by _____________________
Using the 10 key passages you’ve found that
best convey the portrayal of your main character, start sketching a
portrait of this character. Please follow the guidelines below:
- First and
foremost, this is a sketch, not a final drawing/painting.
Literally sketch out your ideas and jot other ideas you have down in the
margins of your paper. DO NOT spend hours trying to get your sketch
perfect…. You won’t be turning it in as a final product.
- Your sketch
must be a “portrait,” meaning
that the person you’re sketching should be the most important part of
the drawing. You can accomplish this either by drawing your person to
fill 70% or so of your paper, focusing in on their upper body and
particularly their face (like most of the Frida Kahlo portraits). OR
You can accomplish this by centering the person within your sketch and
having all the items around him/her be related to him/her (like “The
- Your portrait
should not have any other people in it besides your main character.
- Your sketch
must include and go beyond the literal.
This means that if you’re drawing Bernard and we know he is short and
skinny, then your sketched Bernard should also appear short and skinny.
(This is the literal.) However, the whole point of this portrait is to
portray your character in a way that shows your deep understanding of
him/her. Therefore, you must make other choices in your drawing to show
the personality of your character. For example, would Bernard look
straight out at his audience? Off to the side? Lower his eyes as if he
were looking down? If a character changes drastically from when we
first meet him/her until the end of the book, how will you “draw” that
change? What other items will you include in your portrait to
communicate something about your character? How will you use shading?
Task Four, due by _____________________
Now that you’ve compiled two lists of key
passages, one for your major character and one on your minor
character, you need to use these passages to create a word portrait of each
character. Your “word portrait” should attempt to portray your character in
all his/her complexities AND it should be a “progressive” portrait—a
portrait of how the character changes from the beginning to the end of the
novel. Follow the steps below:
For each character, brainstorm a list of adjectives that you could
use to describe the character. (I recommend using your 100 Human Types
list, a thesaurus, and a dictionary while you do this.)
Pull brief quotes (1-2 sentences) said by characters out of your key
passages that exemplify some of the adjectives you picked. For
example, if you have Bernard or John, you might want to pull a quote from p.
137 to illustrate their outsider status. Write these quotes with the page
number you found them on next to the appropriate adjective. Pick out only
really good, significant quotes. Don’t force a quote to fit an adjective.
Review and refine your list for each character. Eliminate words that
aren’t really necessary or find better words to communicate how this
character is portrayed. (This is like what we did with the portraits of
Marilyn Monroe. First we made a big list of possible words to describe her
portrayal and then we went back and got rid of the ones that didn’t work
Graphically arrange your word portraits on a piece of paper. However
you choose to arrange your words and quotes, you should pick a format that
will show the “progression”/way the character changed from beginning to
end. Some graphic organizer ideas appear below with recommendations on
Task Five, due by _____________________
Get a piece of paper from Ms. Spachman.
Then create the final picture portrait of your main character
(after showing the sketch to the whole group and discussing the layout and
final design decisions). Again, this picture should communicate both a
literal and a more figurative understanding of this character in Brave
New World. You may paint it, draw it with colored pencils, use
charcoal, whatever medium you’d like as long as it is appropriate to the
portrayal you’re trying to convey. (For example, painting Bernard in
clown-like colors probably wouldn’t be an appropriate choice.)
Task Six, due by _____________________
GROUP PRESENTATION OF YOUR TWO WORD
PORTRAITS AND YOUR PICTURE PORTRAIT TO THE CLASS.