Objects of Character
Context for this Strategy
Assorted objects and images
Objects of Character explores how objects can represent specific attitudes, feelings, or actions of a character. This strategy asks students to reflect on how objects and images communicate meaning.
Invite students to think about a character they have developed, or a character from a book, story, essay, or moment in history being studied in class. Introduce the activity: Today, we will think from the character’s perspective: who are you (as the character); what motivates you (events or feelings that shape your choices); where do you live (the setting, the location); and, why might you value a certain object or set of objects? Our task is to come up with a series of object that represent our character. These could be things that you think they own/have or objects that are representative of who they are. Give students time to brainstorm ideas and gather objects. Objects might be found by accessing online images, using photos from books or magazines, or selecting objects from a stockpile of objects and costume pieces the teacher provides for students. Students share their collections in small or large groups.
- What types of objects did we find?
- What do these objects tell us about this character that we didn’t already know?
- What do you keep that is significant to you?
- What kinds of objects most represent your character? Are there secret objects that are important to your character that no one else knows about?
- If your character always kept an old photograph in their back pocket or bag, what or who would be in this special picture?
- As you share your objects, consider how your character might hold the object.
- In addition to collecting objects, invite students to choose or design a vessel (suitcase, purse, trunk, pocket, etc.) that holds these objects, or consider how the character might store or display these objects.
- Have students create objects of character for themselves. This can be a springboard for a personal or creative writing activity. See Object Metaphor.