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Fantasy Novel Activity: Focus on Characters & Setting

written by: •edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 11/14/2012

When a fantasy novel has characters that are not human or a setting that is not on the Earth's surface, use this activity to help students to connect with the unusual creatures and places. This lesson works great with novels like the Artemis Fowl Series.

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    Fantasy Character Study

    When reading fantasy novels that have characters that are unusual, students sometimes have difficulty connecting with them or imagining what they may look like. For example, in the novel Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer there are fairies, which is a general term for all creatures in the Lower Elements. However, there are elves, dwarves, trolls, and centaurs as well. The People, or the fairies, live in the center of the Earth while the Mud Men trudge on the crust of the Earth.

    Fantasy Characters and Setting

    Some students have super imaginations while other have very little imagination. For students to gain a deeper understanding of the characters and setting of a fantasy novel, they need to study the text for details.

    Steps for the Lesson

    Step 1: Ask students to select two favorite characters and one setting in the fantasy novel.

    For example, in Artemis Fowl the main characters are as follows: Captain Holly Short, Foaly, Commander Julius Root, Mulch Diggums, Artemis Fowl, Angeline Fowl, and Butler.Some of the characters are human, while many are fairies. The setting is Fowl Mannor, various cities on Earth, Tera, Haven and Chute Terminals.

    Step 2: For each character and setting, they need to find a description and one passage that shows the “essence" of the character. Students should copy down the passage from the text and write down the page number.

    Draw Character and Setting

    Step 3: Students need draw the character or setting to the best of their ability. The key is that the drawing is neat and colorful.

    Step 4: Next, students need to label each character and/or setting. Then, they need to neatly copy the passage at the bottom of the page.

    Step 5: When the drawings are complete, students need to share their passages and drawings with the class.

    This lesson allows for a great discussion of characters and setting of any fantasy novel.It is always interesting to see how different students “imagine" what the same character looks like. The differences can be a great springboard for discussion as well.