Wednesday, April 30, 2008

In Character

National Public Radio is producing a series titled "In Character" in which some of the most famous fictional characters are discussed and analyzed. These are characters that people have selected to be of particular importance to the fabric of American literature, film, television, and drama.

1. Go to the following NPR link:

2. Once there, select two characters about whom you will read. Read the articles and

3. for each character write a brief paragraph explaining what impact this fictional character has had on our culture. Why is this character so fascinating? Important? Misunderstood? Understood?

4. Once you have done that, think about characters you have met in books, seen in movies or plays, or watched on TV. Pick one that is of particular interest to you. Write an entry in which you explain why this character is important to our culture in your opinion. What qualities does this character possess that makes him/her/it so intriguing? Why is this character important to our society (not just a small group of fans)?

5. When you are finished visit the blogs of your group members, read, and comment on their choices.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Characteristics of a well-told story

We all have heard and read stories. It is one of the first things many parents do with their kids.

Part 1: Why in childhood?
Why are stories so important to childhood? Why do people read stories to kids? What do the kids get out of this experience? What kinds of things do kids learn from the actual stories and from the experience?

Part 2: Why later in life?
Why do older people (high school and beyond) read stories? What do these readers get out of this experience? What kinds of things do older reader learn from the actual stories?

Part 3: Why in our nation?
Why are stories so important to our nation? The New York Times Best Seller lists are one of the most powerful media tools in the world. People flock to buy the books listed there. How do stories fit into the fabric of our national identity? How do stories people write create a forum for the discussion of concerns and issues in our nation? What do stories allow people (the writer and the reader) to do?

Part 4: Your stories
What were some stories you remember from your childhood? Why do you think these ones stand out? Think of actual books as well as stories you were told orally by people. Whom do you connect to these stories?

Part 5: Characteristics of a well-told story
Develop a list of 7-10 characteristics that stories should have. Be specific. Do not just say that "stories should have good characters." What makes a character good? Think about what the author should do and how the reader should feel when reading.

Part 6: Visit the blogs of your group members and leave a comment on two people's sites.