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Character Analysis Talk Show with I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 10 months ago

Character Analysis Talk Show with I Stand Here Ironing by Tillie Olsen


Note: This is a three-day lesson



Students will be able to:

  • analyze characters
  • write character analysis questions
  • summarize their analysis of characters



The preparation:

1. Do Now: In the reading workshop section of their notebooks, students will answer the following question - Which of the characters from "I Stand Here Ironing" is the most interesting and why? We will share their answers.

2. I will introduce the activity for the next few days - a talk show using the story's characters as guests. The roles involved in the show will be: (1) Host, (2) Mother, (3) Emily, (4) Susan, (5) Emily's father, (6) Psychologist/Expert, and everyone else will be in the audience. The host is responsible for introducing the show and asking each of the guests one question. The guests are responsible for writing an introduction for themselves which summarizes their "take" on the situation and thinking about which questions might be asked of them and how they'd answer them. The audience members are assigned a guest to ask questions to - making three questions, but only having to ask one.

3. After students have been assigned roles and they have prepared their parts, we will go around the room and audience members will share one of their questions. We do this so the guests get a sense of what questions might be asked for them during the show.


The show:

Before the show, we will talk as a class about what it means to be a good audience member.

1. Host will introduce the show.

2. The host will invite the mother to the stage, she will introduce herself, and the host will ask her a question.

3. Step #2 will be repeated for each of the guests.

4. After all the guests have been introduced and asked questions by the host, it is the turn of the audience to ask questions.

5. At the end, each of the guests will have an opportunity for a last word.

6. The host will have final words


The debrief:

1. If possible, the shows will be video taped and students will review the video tape during the third day.

2. I will pause the tape at certain points to ask the class to critique the performances and the answers - trying to get students to justify certain portrayals.

3. We will also talk about how the audience did as being a good audiece.



  • Do students portray the characters in ways that can be justified by the text?
  • Do audience members ask questions that reflect depth of thought?
  • Do guests answers questions in ways that show an indepth understanding of their characters?
  • Does the class perform well as an audience (not shouting out or getting otherwise rowdy)?

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