Analyzing the Characters

This collection includes activities and lessons at a variety of levels to help students to understand the characters and their motivations more deeply. Create graphic organizers to build an inventory of characters and their connections to one another then get creative and challenge students to put themselves into the shoes of the characters themselves.

Identity Charts

This activity helps students to understand characters and their motivations through the use of a graphic organizer. 

Character Reactions - Picking up Riders

After witnessing the vitriol of the Cheerleaders and having his conversation with Monsieur Ci Git, Steinbeck once again hit the road. Along the way he picked up two passengers on two separate occasions. One, an older African American man; the other, a thirty-something white man. In this activity, students will create an internal monologue for the characters in the scene to examine attitudes of race from different perspectives.

Interviewing Characters

A great way for students to get to know the people and regions encountered in Travels with Charley is for them to actually inhabit the personalities of those characters. In this activity, students are challenged to use what they know about the people Steinbeck encountered along with the history and culture of the United States to script and perform interviews with those characters.

What is America? Who are Ameicans?

Steinbeck set out on his journey with Charley in order to “…try to rediscover this monster land” (5). A continuing theme throughout the book is Steinbeck’s attempt to answer the questions “what is America?” and “what does it mean to be an American?” In this activity, students will analyze Steinbeck’s thoughts on America and Americans and determine what it is that Steinbeck discovered.