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August: Osage County – Character Assignment

Thanks to your excellent reading, we just finished August: Osage County in record time. Now that we’ve enjoyed it, it’s time to suck all the enjoyment out of it through trenchant analysis. Weeeee!!!!!

I decided that since this is a character piece, we’d analyze it through the lens of character. Below I’ve listed all the roles in the play. In small groups of 2 or 3 (depending on the character), you’re going to perform some deep analysis on the character of your choice.

Your job:

You will be assigned a character from the play. You and your partner(s) will prepare a short 5 minute presentation about that character. Your job is essentially to explain how he/she fits into the play. To help you do this, I’ve provide a series of questions you can pose. Your analysis should cover (but does not need to be limited to) the following:

  • What is directly told to the audience about the character’s personality from the text.
  • What can the audience indirectly infer about the character’s personality from the text
  • Is the character likable?
  • Does the character undergo any change from the start to the end of the story? Why or why not?
  • Pick a line of dialogue either said by the character or about them that best sums them up. Justify your choice.
  • Does this character feel ‘real’?
  • What does this character want?
  • How well written in the character? Are there any moments where their behavior seems inauthentic?
  • If you were to cast this part, who would play the role and why?

Here’s the 2 big mistakes that people make when doing this assignment.

  1. They flip through the play and hunt for the scenes where their character appears, completely ignoring scenes where they are not in but are being talked about by others. You learn just as much from secondary sources as first.
  2. They ignore or call ‘random’ any dialogue that does not seem to push the plot forward or directly answer questions. Violet does not tell her show story for no reason.



Prepare – April 24 and 26

Present – April 28


Prepare – April 25 and 27

Present – May 1


Here are the characters. In parenthesis are the maximum number of people who can work on them.


Period C

1. Violet (3) – Wil, Ibrahim and Coulton
2. Beverly (3) – Dan, Marissa and Sarah
3. Mattie Fay (3) – Emma, Tyler and Jazz
4. Barbara (3) – Gwen, Taylor and Victoria
5. Ivy (3) – Ailish, Leah and Abby
6. Bill (3) – Tim, Cam and Ben
7. Jean (2) – Andrew and Simone
8. Charles (2)
9. Little Charles (2)
10. Johnna (2) – Isabelle and Bethany


Period E

1. Violet (3) – Sarah and Ashley
2. Beverly (3)  – Ella, Stephie and Ruxandra
3. Mattie Fay (3) –
4. Barbara (3) Holly, Max and Fiona
5. Ivy (3) – Lake, Sophie and Chloe
6. Bill (3) – Will, Owen and Simon
7. Jean (2) – Val and Sofie H.
8. Charles (2) –
9. Little Charles (2) – Jack and Davis
10. Johnna (2) – Molly and Anna
Jack and David
Molly and Anna

Author: pattersonmalvern

I am a teacher at Malvern Collegiate Institute. This is a blog to help students keep track of their work.

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