An Activity for Assessing Characters from a Novel (Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich)

November 23, 2014

zzzz

Here’s an activity for assessing characters in a novel. (We’ll be using Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich for this example.)

#1 Class reads a novel with several characters. This activity won’t work with The Old Man and the Sea, for example.

#2 Review nouns and adjectives.

Noun Test

My_______
His______
Her_______
Some_______
A________
An_______
These_______
Those______
This_______
That_______

Adjective Test

My __________ house is __________

My __________ sister is __________

#3 Number off students in to groups of three. (Larger groups will encourage social loafing. It’s better to have two pairs than one group of four.)

#4 Assign a character to each group. It’s ok for more than one group to do the same character.

Group 1
—Marie Lazarre Kashpaw
Group 2—Nector Kashpaw
Group 3—Lulu Nanapush Lamartine
Group 4—June Morrissey
Group 5—Lipsha Morrissey
Group 6—Albertine Johnson
Group 7—Eli Kashpaw
Group 8—Lyman Lamartine
Group 9—Henry Lamartine Jr
Group 10—Gerry Nanapush

#4 Each group uses the novel to generate answers to the following questions:

a) What are four nouns that describe your character?

Example: Nector Kashpaw–Leader, Philanderer, Father, Indian

(Discourage students from going for the easiest, least revealing answers, like man, person, citizen, mammal.)

b) What are four adjectives that describe your character?

Example: Lulu Nanapush Lamartine—Unapologetic, Brave, Concupiscent, Rebellious

c) Explain how two passages (include page numbers) reveal something about your a character.

Example—Albertine Johnson

Passage: After two months were gone and my classes were done, and although I still had not forgiven my mother, I decided to go home. I wasn’t crazy about the thought of seeing her, but our relationship was like a file we both sharpened on, and necessary in that way (P 11).

Explanation: This passage demonstrates the tension in the relationship between Albertine, a strong-willed young woman, and her mother Zelda. Albertine is upset because her mother did not immediately inform her about the passing of her Aunt June.

d) What are two things your character wants? (Kurt Vonnegut informs the aspiring novelist to make sure your characters want something, even if it is just a glass of water.)

Example—Gerry Nanapush

1. Freedom
2. To see Shawn, his newborn son

Part of the Show

November 20, 2014

bill-coby-show4-20120224-161839-large


Been watching him for years
I feel like I know him
Over a couple of beers
I’m sure that I could show him

I really wanna cry
We all make mistakes
He’s such a great guy
I don’t care what they say

There are people in this world
Who do marvelous things
Appreciate their work
And the joy that it brings

Live the life you got
Love the ones you know
And never pretend
That you’re part of the show

The Truth ISN’T Out There

November 17, 2014

You won’t find it
   On the web
You won’t find it
   At the mall
You won’t find it
   Up her dress
There ain’t
   No one to call

Ain’t nobody out there
To tell you
Who you are
So cast down your buckets
Right where you are

The planets won’t
   Tell you
You can’t see it
   In the stars
You won’t find it
   In a pill
You won’t find it
   At the bar

Ain’t nobody out there
To tell you
Who you are
So cast down your buckets
Right where you are

You can ask
   Your pastor
You can hire yourself
   A shrink
Five hundred bucks
   An hour
Won’t tell you
   What you think

Ain’t nobody out there
To tell you
Who you are
So cast down your buckets
Right where you are

here i am

November 15, 2014

painting_detail_of_the_sad_guy_by_magzdilla-d68fl7n

showing up
and passing time
there I was
doing fine

there you were
the world grew
days were wide
and full of you

a pocket of time
tender and small
there we were
we had it all

a tiny tear
grew and grew
here I am
where are you?

Livin in a Lovin Gone Wrong Song

November 15, 2014

bart

Got a million ills to feed on
Need a bartender to bleed on

Livin in a lovin
Gone wrong song
I always gotta
Be the wrong one
Better mix me up
A strong one

I don’t deserve another chance, Stan
Couldn’t keep it in my pants, Man

Livin in a lovin
Gone wrong song
I always gotta be
The wrong one
Better mix me up
A strong one

Doctors say I got a sick head
Cuz I’m always such a dickhead

Livin in a lovin
Gone wrong song
I always gotta be
The wrong one
Better mix me up
A strong one

Y’all Some…

November 7, 2014

Y’all some
Wine-sippin,
God-hatin,
Tree-huggin,
Baby-killin
Tofu eaters
Hopeless heathen wife-cheaters
Yellow-bellied troop-defeaters

I can tell you who you are
Just by lookin at your car
And the clothes that you wear
And the way you cut your hair

Y’all some
Truck-drivin,
Gun-clingin,
Choir-singin,
Beer-guzzlin
Boo-boo raisers
Redneck mobile home appraisers
Happy when you’re meltin glaciers

I just look at you and shrug
It’s so easy to be smug
We can fuss and fight all day
While they send our jobs away

I Got Punked and She Got Played

November 1, 2014

gigilo

I like ‘em rich and slightly gray
I thought she was the perfect prey
Just when I thought I had it made
I got punked and she got played

I didn’t know when to be afraid
I maxed her cards and sold her jade
But I couldn’t finish my charade
I got punked and she got played

She treated help like galley slaves
My work was like a small crusade
But when she caught me with the maid
I got punked and she got played

My best laid plans didn’t go so well
Now she’s in jail and I’m in hell
She sure knew how to work that blade
I got punked and she got played

The Bottom of the Brain

October 28, 2014

Cerebellum

They call me Sanctimonio
Can’t help myself because I know
Exactly who the sinners are
I got my feathers and my tar
And I won’t let ‘em get too far

Disgust satisfies
Disgust eases pain
It scratches an itch
At the bottom of the brain

The civil war inside my head
Leads directly to your bed
You go out with so many chicks
It’s not ok to take your pick
You must be doing something sick

Disgust satisfies
Disgust eases pain
It scratches an itch
At the bottom of the brain

They call me Sanctimonio
Squalor leaves me all aglow
I live to curse the human race
The world is such a dirty place
I feed on grime and drink disgrace

Disgust satisfies
Disgust eases pain
It scratches an itch
At the bottom of the brain

The Circumference of the Heart

October 25, 2014

Perhaps you laugh at me! Perhaps the whole United States are laughing at me too! I can’t stop for that! My business is to love.

—Emily Dickinson

Can’t weight it on a scale
Can’t plot it on a graph
The tremors won’t be measured
On a seismograph

You can do a million surveys
You can fill in all the bubbles
But you’ll never find a theory
To eliminate your troubles

Sooner if not later
Every statistician found
You can process all the data
But the variables confound

It can’t be quantified
It won’t fit on your chart
Your methods cannot measure
The circumference of the heart

Cuz We’re So Civilized

October 19, 2014

harris

Certain beliefs place their adherents beyond the reach of every peaceful means of persuasion, while inspiring them to commit acts of extraordinary violence against others. There is, in fact, no talking to some people. If they cannot be captured, and they often cannot, otherwise tolerant people may be justified in killing them in self-defense.

Sam Harris

I’m tired of your words
There’s nothing left to say
You got some lousy ideas
So I’m blowing you away

You need to be killed
For what’s growing in your head
Your thoughts are crimes
And you’re better off dead

Mamby pamby liberals
Gotta recognize
It’s ok to kill
Cuz we’re so civilized


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 34 other followers