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The Witch of Blackbird Pond Direct and Indirect Characterization

Activity Overview

The Witch of Blackbird Pond is a largely character-driven novel. Kit’s interactions with the various people she meets in Wethersfield drive her story and personal growth. As they read the novel, students should develop a strong understanding of the various characters and their personalities through both direct and indirect characterization. To help students master direct and/or indirect characterization, have them create a storyboard identifying important character traits and the way these are conveyed in the novel. Students can look for indirect characterization based on character actions, their comments, or others’ comments about them. Students looking for direct characterization will search for specific lines in which the narrator explicitly states particular character qualities. For each character trait, have students depict an appropriate scene, annotated below with the student’s observations or a direct quotation from the text.

Hannah Tupper Characterization Example



DIRECT CHARACTERIZATION: "Her faded eyes studied the girl beside her, and now there was nothing childlike in that wise, friendly gaze" (96).


INDIRECT CHARACTERIZATION: Hannah is gentle and comforting. She reaches out to those in need like Kit, Prudence, and the young Nat. She lets them play with her kittens and feeds them generously out of her small store of food.


INDIRECT CHARACTERIZATION: Hannah survives all alone in a small hut in the field. She is not welcome in the nearby Puritan settlement, but seems to content to exist with her cats and memories of her husband Thomas.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 6-8

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual, Partner, or Group

Type of Activity: OSCAR - Direct and Indirect Characterization

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/1] Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/7/1] Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/1] Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/8/3] Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision

Template and Class Instructions

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