Writing Character Manifestos

Activity Steps:

Think about the characteristics of revolutionary artists and their manifestos.

1. Look:
Look: Choose an artwork by Diego Rivera or David Alfaro Siqueiros from Making Sense of Modern Art. Look carefully and select an individual figure in the artwork that appeals to you (it could be a laborer, politician, farmer, steelworker, prisoner, artist, etc.).
2. Analyze:
Study the figure in relation to the rest of the painting. List some of the qualities that he or she might have. Invent and write a short character sketch that describes where the person lives, his or her activity in the artwork, cultural background, age, etc.
3. Create:
Write a manifesto in this person's voice. Be sure to consider his or her point of view and social concerns. Is there something that this person wants to change? Think about what the person's voice might sound like and try to write in that style.
4. Present:
Trade your rough draft with a partner and edit each other's work. Rewrite.
5. Reflect:
Share your final draft with the class. Discuss the various ways your classmates chose to interpret their characters. How do points of view vary? What did you learn about speaking from another person's point of view? How did your character's style and point of view affect the message?
6. Optional:
Make a drawing or collage of your character to accompany the manifesto.
1. Select:
From a book you have read, choose a character who is trying to change something.
2. Describe:
Make a list of the character's passions, conflicts, and beliefs. Be sure to include what he or she is trying to change.
3. Create:
Write a character sketch that describes the person. Include quotes (things that the character said in the book) and images or symbols that represent the character's feelings and point of view.
4. Produce:
: Write a manifesto in the character's voice.
5. Present:
Trade your manifesto with a partner and edit each other's work. Rewrite.
6. Reflect:
Share your final manifesto with the class. Discuss the various ways in which your classmates chose to interpret their characters. What did you learn about speaking from another person's point of view? How did your character's style and point of view affect the message?
7. Optional:
Optional: Make a drawing or collage of your character to accompany the manifesto. You may want to incorporate text from the manifesto into the drawing.