Analyzing the Characters
Ongoing Activity
Grades 6–12
Language Arts
Individual, Small Group, Large Group, Out of Seat


Students will have a greater understanding of the characters and their relation to other characters.


This activity can be done by students individually, in small groups, or the class as a whole. Either a character web or a simple chart can be used. This activity uses a graphic organizer to help students to understand the motivations of characters—the factors that have shaped characters. Other minor characters, such as the Boss or Whit, may be added.

Materials Needed/Preparation

  • Copy of the Characters Organizer (optional)
  • Large sheet of butcher paper (optional, for working together as an entire class)
  • Sample Character Web (optional)
  • If done as a character web, students need to have prior instruction in how to create a character web (see Character Webs lesson plan).
  • Of Mice and Men notebooks

Estimated Time

  • 1 class period
  • 5-10 minutes for multiple class periods (if done as an ongoing activity)


  • Distribute chart (optional).
  • If using a character web, review Character Webs. Distribute Character Web Sample (optional).
  • Choose one character and, with class participation, model how to complete the chart/character web. If doing this activity on an on-going basis, or as a large group, single period activity, consider modeling on a large sheet of butcher paper (this can remain up throughout the unit).
  • ~Start with the simple, objective facts (physical description, age, etc.).
  • ~Move into more subjective descriptions (personality, attitudes, fears, etc.).
  • ~Finish with how the character relates to others and their role in the novel.
  • For a one-day activity:
  • ~Have students work individually or in small groups to complete the chart or character web.
  • ~Or continue to complete the chart or character web as a class. Use student participation and input.
  • ~Each student should create and keep a completed copy of the chart or character web, even if done as a group activity.
  • ~If done individually or in small groups, allow time at the end of the class period for each group to share to the class.
  • For an on-going activity:
  • ~Post the chart or character web on the wall.
  • ~During discussions of the reading, add to the chart or character web when important discoveries have been made. Consider allowing students to come up and do this.
  • ~Each student should create and keep a completed copy of the chart or character web, adding to it as the unit continues.

Post Activity/Takeaways/Follow-up

Post Activity

  • Ask students to predict what may happen in the novel based on what they have discovered about the characters. (Consider keeping a record of these predictions to follow-up on later.)


  • Friendship is an important theme in Of Mice and Men. Students should be aware of what friendships are being made and why those friendships are important.
  • How are the relationships between characters similar to relationships the students have experienced (parent-child, friend, mentor, etc.)?
  • Students should come away from this exercise with more understanding of the characters and how they interact.


  • When appropriate, go back to student predictions to see if those predictions came true. Discuss why or why not.


  • How thoroughly did the student(s) examine the character and his/her connections to other characters?
  • Quiz on the characters (based on the student findings).
  • ~The quiz could be to create a table or an identity chart for a character or characters.
  • ~The quiz could be strictly factual (e.g. “Who is the Boss’s son?” and so on).
  • Points for maintaining a copy of the chart or character web

Common Core State Standards Met

  • Reading Standards for Literature 6-12
  • ~Key Ideas and Details: 1, 3
  • ~Craft and Structure: 5
  • Speaking and Listening Standards 6-12
  • ~Comprehension and Collaboration: 1

Related Lesson Plans for this Work