ALEX Lesson Plan


Who's That Guy? The Great Gatsby Characterizater Analysis

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  This lesson provided by:  
Author:Sonja N. Hill
System: Birmingham City
School: Ramsay High School
  General Lesson Information  
Lesson Plan ID: 33072


Who's That Guy?

The Great Gatsby Characterizater Analysis


Students will use evidence from the text to write a character analysis of one of the minor characters in The Great Gatsby. Using small group discussion, a writing frame, and an interactive character map, students will analyze the protagonist in the novel.

This is a College- and Career-Ready Standards showcase lesson plan.

 Associated Standards and Objectives 
Content Standard(s):
ELA2015 (11)
1. Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain. [RL.11-12.1]
ELA2015 (11)
20. Write informative or explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. [W.11-12.2]
a. Introduce a topic; organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension. [W.11-12.2a]
b. Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience's knowledge of the topic. [W.11-12.2b]
c. Use appropriate and varied transitions and syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts. [W.11-12.2c]
d. Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary, and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic. [W.11-12.2d]
e. Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing. [W.11-12.2e]
f. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation presented (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic). [W.11-12.2f]
ELA2015 (11)
22. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 19-21 above.) [W.11-12.4]

Local/National Standards:


Primary Learning Objective(s):

Students will be able to

  • define protagonist, antagonist, antihero, and foil as it applies to a novel
  • apply all five components of active literacy: talk, write, investigate, read, and listen (TWIRL)

Additional Learning Objective(s):

 Preparation Information 

Total Duration:

61 to 90 Minutes

Materials and Resources:

The Great Gatsby (Chapters 1-3)

4-Column Graphic Organizer (handout)

Characterization frame handout

Mind Map

Technology Resources Needed:

Computer with Internet access, interactive whiteboard, and the interactive character chart.


This lesson is part of a novel study unit on The Great Gatsby, but it may be adapted to other novels as well. This lesson should follow an introduction to character types. Students should read the first three chapters of The Great Gatsby prior to class.

  1. As students arrive to class, randomly divide them into small groups of 4-5 students per group. If planning in advance, students may be grouped according to ability level or strengths and weaknesses in reading and/or writing.
  2. (Before the lesson) - In order to help students quickly relate to the definition of a protagonist, model creating a Mind Map on the board using Nick in the center circle.  
  3. (During the lesson) - To provide a purpose for reading, allow small groups to create mind maps with "antagonist", "antihero", and "foil" in the center. You may choose to give each group a different character type or each group may create mind maps for all character types. Allow about 5 minutes to complete the mind maps.
  4. To engage with the text and integrate new information, pass out "character cards" to each group with the names of one or two minor characters from the novel on the card. You may pass out cards while students are still working on their mind maps. Make sure to choose characters who are in the first three chapters of the novel. Each group should receive different characters to analyze.
  5. Within groups, students will discuss the character's attributes, the reactions the character evokes from Nick, and what other characters say about the character.  
  6. They will use a 4-column chart to note their discussion including page numbers from the text to support their choices.
  7. Facilitate the group discussions by circulating around the room answering questions regarding character traits and supporting evidence.
  8. After about 15 minutes of discussion, have group members post their chart on the interactive character chart on the whiteboard.
  9. Ask group members what inferences they may make about the character type based on their chart. Ask questions such as, "What type of character is he/she?" and "How did you come to this conclusion?"
  10. (After the lesson) - In order to respond to the text through writing, students will use the characterization frame. Model completing the frame on the interactive whiteboard with Nick.

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Assessment Strategies

Formative assessment may be done while students are presenting the Interactive Character Chart. Students should be able to identify the character type and supporting evidence about the character type. Also, formative assessment of the character analysis paragraph may be scored with the rubric here. Students should be able to demonstrate in writing the character they determine to be the protagonist and the textual evidence to support it.


To extend the assignment, students may write a literary analysis essay on one of the characters in the novel.  


How does Fitzgerald use character to develop the theme of the American dream?


For remediation, struggling students may be grouped together for more direct instruction as they work through the graphic organizers. Also, the character analysis paragraph may be shared among group members instead of done individually with each group member contributing to the paragraph.

Each area below is a direct link to general teaching strategies/classroom accommodations for students with identified learning and/or behavior problems such as: reading or math performance below grade level; test or classroom assignments/quizzes at a failing level; failure to complete assignments independently; difficulty with short-term memory, abstract concepts, staying on task, or following directions; poor peer interaction or temper tantrums, and other learning or behavior problems.

Presentation of Material Environment
Time Demands Materials
Attention Using Groups and Peers
Assisting the Reluctant Starter Dealing with Inappropriate Behavior
Be sure to check the student's IEP for specific accommodations.