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This is the "Week Three Activities" page of the "Mesa High School AP Literature and Composition" guide.
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Mr. Garcia's AP Literature and Composition resource page.
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Week Three Activities Print Page
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Sample Dialectical Journal

Sample dialectical journal from To Kill a Mockingbird.

 

Week Three Activities

1. Work on reading your book.

2. Create at least three dialetical journal pages.

3. Write a character sketch of your alienated protagonist (1-2 pages).

When you write a character sketch, you are trying to introduce the reader to someone. You want the reader to have a strong mental image of the person, to know how the person talks, to know the person's characteristic ways of doing things, to know something about the person's value system. Character sketches only give snap shots of people; therefore, you should not try to write a history of the person.

A good way to write a character sketch is to tell a little story about an encounter you had with the character. Since you haven't actually encountered the character in real life, you may take the perspective of an outside 3rd person, or you may take on the persona of another character in the book with whom your protatgonist has interacted. If you do that, you could describe a place briefly, hopefully a place that belongs to the person you are describing, focusing on things in the scene that are somehow representative of the person you are describing. Describe how the person is dressed or what they looked like. What were your first impressions and how did they change? Then simply tell what happened as you got to know the character. From time to time, describe the person's gestures or facial expressions. It is important to put words into the person's mouth in direct quotations. Ask yourself what dialogue you could use to describe the character.

As you work on this paper, you should decide what kind of emotional reaction you want the reader to have in relationship to this person. What kind of details can you select to create that emotional reaction? Avoid making broad characterizing statements; instead, let the details you give suggest general characteristics. Let the reader draw her own conclusions.

4. The Character Interview. As you think about your character and get to know your character a little more, create an interview with your character in which your character responds to the following questions. This should be typed.

 1) What can you tell me about where you live?  

 2) How would you describe yourself to others?

 3) What are your favorite activities/hobbies? What are you passionate about?

 4) What have some of the more significant experiences in your life been?

 5) What can you tell me about your friends? Enemies?

 6) What tough decisions have you had to make in your life? How did you deal with those choices?

 7) What do you see for your future? Where will you be in 10 years? 20? 50?

 8) What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt? Why?

 9) What is your favorite word? Why?

 10) What do you want to be remembered for in life? Why?

 

5. Attach both parts of this week's assignment, the Character Sketch and the Character Interview and turn in for credit.

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