Author: Emily Troilo Lesson Title

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Author: Emily Troilo

Lesson Title: Characterization in Traditional and Contemporary Literature

Suggested Grade Level: 11-12

Estimated Lesson Time: 60 minutes


Students will compare and contrast characterization in the traditional “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll and the contemporary “Weetzie Bat” by Francesca Lia Block (which are both young adult novels that explore young female protagonists and elements of magical realism) and analyze how and why those means of characterization are used.


Student Prior Knowledge:

Students have read “Alice in Wonderland” in the previous weeks and have just finished “Weetzie Bat.” Students have knowledge of literary elements (setting, plot, characterization, conflict, etc) and the reasons they are used in literature. Students are have knowledge of how to write a thesis statement.



Students will analyze and compare a variety of traditional, classical, and contemporary literary works, and identify the literary elements of each (setting, plot, characterization, conflict, etc).

Learning Goals: 

Students will be able to determine and define the means of characterization used in “Alice in Wonderland” and “Weetzie Bat” and will evaluate how and why they are used in the texts. They will be able to compare and contrast how and why these means are used in these two works of literature.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Students should be able to create a Facebook page depicting one character from either “Alice in Wonderland” or “Weetzie Bat” and accurately portray how that figure is characterized through it in the 15 minutes provided.

  2. Students should be able to create a one-to-two sentence working thesis on characterization in “Alice in Wonderland” and “Weetzie Bat” in their groups by the end of class.


A computer for each student, projector, Word or PowerPoint.


  1. 5 minutes: Students come to class having read “Alice in Wonderland” in the previous weeks and having just finished “Weetzie Bat.” The teacher begins class by asking the students review questions about “Weetzie Bat” (maybe a quiz, maybe just calling out a few questions-up to the teacher).

  2. 10 minutes: Teacher briefly re-introduces the idea of literary elements (setting, plot, characterization, conflict, etc) and the class has a short discussion of the literary elements in “Weetzie Bat.” When characterization comes up, the students call out ways and reasons that characterization is used in literature and the teacher types these into a Word document or on PowerPoint, which is being projected so that students can keep notes easily. Teacher adds and explains any additional ways or reasons that students may have missed.

  3. 5 minutes: Students form groups of 3-4 and are assigned either “Alice in Wonderland” or “Weetzie Bat.” They then must decide amongst each other a different character from their novel for each member of the group.

  4. 15 minutes: Each student will make a Facebook page for the character they have chosen from their respective novels. They will characterize their figure by using the various aspects of Facebook (the “about me” section, favorite quotations, likes, friends, etc). They will interact on Facebook with the other characters that the members of their group have chosen and created –

maybe one member chose the protagonist and another chose the antagonist and they could post on each other’s “walls” how much they hate each other. Or maybe the group members chose the protagonist and the protagonist’s best friend and they can both “like” the same things.

  1. 15 minutes: Groups will pair up with another group who has the other book and compare and contrast what they have found about characterization in their novels. They will take notes on the similarities and differences and begin to work on a group thesis.

  2. 10 minutes: Teacher will ask students to share their thesis and any interesting things they have found. Then the teacher will assign and explain any homework that has to do with characterization or other literary elements in these novels.



A participation grade will be used for the Facebook page each student creates and a rubric will be used to assess student performance on their group thesis.

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