A raisin in the Sun: Character Project

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A Raisin in the Sun: Character Project


Due Dates



Monday, May 17

Essay Outline


Wednesday, May 19

Essay Rough Draft






Thursday, May 20

Essay Final Draft


Your final assessment for Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun will be a profile of one of the main characters utilizing both your creative and analytic skills. You will want to plumb the depths of your character’s psyche and present to us all the complications and contradictions of their role in the play. You will present the results of your analysis in three ways: an essay, a creative letter, and a collage.

Each segment will be graded for:

  • content—reveal a thorough understanding of the text

  • completeness—make sure you pay close attention to directions

  • thoughtfulness—try to move past the literal level and really analyze your character

  • attention to detail—your final project should be polished

  • creativity—strive to go beyond the ordinary

  • proofreading—check for spelling and usage, etc.

Project Sections:

  1. Character essay

This essay should give a thorough and insightful analysis of your chosen character using textual support (quotes). It should be 6 paragraphs (TNR 12 point, 1 inch margins), written like an organized formal paper (outlined beforehand, introduction and conclusion, no 1st person, no contractions, etc.) and should deal with the following questions:

  1. What is your character’s role in the family? Don’t consider only their label (brother, sister, etc.) but how they work within the family; for example, are they a dreamer or a crusher of dreams? Do they work for personal benefit or the good of the whole family?

  2. What does your character want? Again, try to go beyond the obvious (liquor store, to be a doctor) and think about what these immediate, almost tangible, dreams represent.

  3. How would you describe your character’s personality to someone who didn’t know them? What words jump into your head at the thought of your character, and how do you see these attributes revealed in the style and content of their speech?

  4. What would be a good metaphor for your character? Are they like a certain animal or inanimate object, for example? Explain your choice.

  1. Character letter

Imagine that it is ten years after the play’s final curtain. Where is your character now? What has happened to him or her in the intervening years? How did the events of the play affect his or her future? What are your character’s relationships like now? Make decisions about your character’s situation, location, attitude, and so on. Using these decisions, write a letter from your character to another character in the play, revealing the choices you’ve made and giving even more insight into your character. You should feel free to be creative, but you also need to make strong connections to the original play. Your letter should be at least 1 page typed, double spaced.

  1. Character collage

This portion of the project asks you to represent your character analysis using a medium other than writing. You will reveal your character’s personality, dreams, struggles, mannerisms, attitudes, etc. through images. To consider: what symbols represent him or her in the play? What colors and shapes do you most associate with your character? What setting do you see your character in? Be creative and take risks, but be prepared to explain your choices. The collage should have a neat design. You may use drawings, pictures from magazines, the internet, etc.

  1. Collage Presentation (2 minutes)

You will present your collage to the class and explain how you chose to represent your character. You may use some notes if you need to, but you shouldn’t be reading. You will not get a good score on this portion if you say, “I don’t know, I just sorta thought she would, you know, be a green square, like.” Your presentation should reflect your insight into your character.

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